Princess Elsa ‘ Frozen ‘ – McCalls M7000

Pretty much the only things that kept me going with this make were how much my little Poppet wanted to dress-up as Elsa and that its my first White Tree Fabrics blog team make.

I’m hoping the results speak from themselves!

Elsa_2

Elsa_1

 

This dress, I have to say, is not for a beginner.

Firstly, the choice of fabrics means that you can be dealing with things slipping and sliding all over the place. I’m not sure I made life particularly easy for myself as the contrast sequined fabric had a slight stretch to it. Pair that with some slidey chiffon and slinky satin, both in wovens and well, it takes a lot of precision in both cutting and sewing to get everything to line up.

The fabrics from White Tree were beautiful and I particularly enjoyed working with the satin. I deliberately chose fabrics that would make a cost effective dress.

Light blue satin / White chiffon / Light blue sequin knit

There are a lot of pattern pieces – 12 in total. That’s a lot of tracing, pining and cutting.

The instructions are a bit on the sparse side.

Now this is generally something that I have come to expect from the Big Four patterns, so I can’t say I was surprised. I largely ignored them and did my own thing. For example, would it not be sensible to suggest that seams are sewn with a french seam on sheer fabrics? The pattern suggested using a ‘double seam’.

Errrrrr…

Yep, I had to look it up too. It suggests, sewing one seam and then another close to it to create two seams, you then trim close to the second seam. I didn’t bother!! Had I engaged my brain before starting, I’d have worked my construction to that I could use french seams, but I didn’t, so in the end I used my overlocker and I’m largely happy with the results. This is after all a dressing up costume, not a couture piece of evening wear!

I was also somewhat puzzled by the lack of instruction to sew a rolled hem on both the chiffon and satin. Instead it suggested sewing a ‘narrow hem’. I checked their definition and nope, they didn’t mean rolled hem. So I ignored that and out came the rolled hem foot!!

I also mostly ignored the construction order, as well it wasn’t particularly time efficient.

I did however manage to impress myself by setting the sleeves in without a single gather or pucker (this was especially impressive as my seam allowances were all over the place – I’d messed up on the bodice and a touch of unpicking was needed).

And I feel I surpassed myself with my sewn button loop!

Elsa_6

One thing I did discover when setting in the sleeves was that there were a lot of layers to match up – the sequin bodice, the bodice lining and the chiffon overlay. So I basted everything together and then pinned and basted the sleeve head in place.

Any helpful guidance from the instructions on this point? Not a sausage!

I used the fabrics suggested by the pattern and if I’m honest, whilst it makes a fabulous replica Elsa dress, it isn’t overly practical for an exuberant 4 year old. I mean, who in their right mind puts a zip in a dressing up costume?

I had intended replacing the zip with some velcro to make it a bit more child friendly and had amended the pattern slightly but realised once I’d cut it all out that my fabric just didn’t have enough strength or structure to cope with the velcro. If I were going to venture down this route again, it would need a separate placket and plenty of interfacing.

Alternatively, whilst this pattern is neither written for nor suggests using knits, I’d use knit fabric and just size down!

My little girl loves her dress. So all the time taken to make it is forgotten.

I’ll leave you with some of the finer details.

 

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Pattern drafting – girls sleeveless top

front-sleeveless-top

Lesson one in pattern drafting – measure then measure again and just to make sure – yes you’ve guess it measure again!

I made this top for Honey’s birthday. I was a bit of a leap of faith drafting my own pattern to make her a top without any fittings – but hey you can only learn from mistakes can’t you?

I drafted it using Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting for Children’s Wear and Babywear. I’ve used it a few times now and have always been really pleased with the results. I use a mixture of actual and provided measurements as some of them are really difficult to take accurately.

I drafted the ‘flat’ sleevelessĀ  body block. It’s really simple as it’s the same front and back. That said, it’s clearly so simple that I messed up first time around. I got the width calculation wrong (don’t ask me how, I clearly wasn’t concentrating – hmmmm I’m seeing a pattern here?). The armscye’s looked odd (no other way of putting it!) when I’d finished so I measured the width and realized that there was no way Honey was going to fit into it. I looked at my calculations and started over! On the plus side, it’s always much faster second time around.

drafted-sleeveless-block

I decided to add a small keyhole opening at the back neckline and create a frill on the bottom. I refashioned a top that I had lurking in the bottom of my wardrobe. I love the fabric but there was never going to be enough to create something for me from it as whilst it was oversized it was already a size 8, so Honey reaps the benefits instead. I didn’t have enough to pull off my own bias binding so I used some shop bought tape in pale blue – the closest colour match I could find.

It was simple to make. Here’s the construction order I used:

  1. Attach bias binding to keyhole opening (I basted first as it was fiddly and pins weren’t really up to the job)
  2. Sew the shoulder seams – I used french seams
  3. Attach the bias binding to the neck edge basting first
  4. Top stitch the binding in place
  5. Sew the side seams (again I used french seams)
  6. Attach bias binding to the armhole edges, basting first
  7. Top stitch the armhole binding in place
  8. Make frill – to do this I machine basted two rows of stitching about Ā¼ inch apart and then drew the threads up to gather until the frill was the same size as the bottom of the top.
  9. Pin frill in place and stitch to the bottom of the top
  10. Remove machine basting threads
  11. Finish the gathered seam (I overlocked it)
  12. Slip stitch the bias binding at the keyhole opening
  13. Attach button
  14. Sew button loop (there is a good tutorial here – next time I’ll try it. I’m afraid it’s just one of those things that I learnt to do years ago!). I finds it’s a good idea to add the button first and then you get a better idea as to how big the loop needs to be.

button-sleeveless-top

It was a quick and easy make and I’m really pleased with the result.

I did have a few fitting issues – please don’t laugh too much! Honey really struggled to get over her head and well, there were tears when I took it off!! I’ve since removed the bias binding, dropped the neckline and made it wider by about 1cm and made the keyhole back about 1 cm longer. It now goes on much easier. Phew!

It is a little snug width wise so the pattern needs a little more ease for a woven fabric. Honey would like it a little longer too.

It’s certainly a pattern I’ll be revising and revisiting again. I may well draft a sleeved version too.

Why not have a go at drafting your own pattern too and create a unique garment for either your own or someone else’s child?

back-sleeveless-top