This week I am so far out of my comfort zone it really isn’t true. I feel as if I am a bit daring when I use a floral print and I tend to retreat to solid colours and natural fibres rather than take a risk. It is safe to say I will never post a dress in a crazy print involving lobsters (or any other crustaceans).
But this week I bring you – the Frozen dress!
Not for me you understand – I am not at all secretly tempted to sashay around in satin, sequins and organza in order to look like a Disney princess. My daughter is different from me in many ways though and going to Comic-con in Manchester as Elsa from Frozen is something she had been planning for months.
I used McCalls pattern M7000 for the dress – I was expecting to have to improvise but this pattern became available a little while ago and has been very popular – so this made everything a lot easier. I got the pattern from White Tree Fabrics who were incredibly helpful in getting hold of it and getting it sent out super quickly after a problem with sizing meant that the original versions had to be re-ordered.
So – lots and lots of shiny fabric required! I used a turquoise satin for the skirt and for the lining of the bodice, a huge amount of silver organza for the train, a silver mesh with a bit of stretch for the yoke and sleeves and turquoise sequins for the bodice.
Sequins – definitely never want to sew with them ever again (but also kind of love the gorgeous colour of these ones..). When I got to cutting out the sequins I realised I didn’t have a clue what to do with them. A brief google suggested that I would need to unpick all the individual sequins from the seam allowances. The bodice has SEVEN pieces so this was a lot of seam allowance. Many hours later I was surrounded by piles of loose sequins and I think I may have permanently damaged my eye-sight trying to loosen almost invisible threads from millions of tiny sequins. The sequins were sewn onto a kind of mesh backing and I couldn’t really see how to sew it together neatly so I decided to use the lining to underline the bodice pieces and fix them together from the start. This worked really well, though I didn’t add any other lining so the finish isn’t as neat . In the end I was able to sew over the sequins that I hadn’t totally removed from seam allowances, though it felt alarmingly crunchy when I did. I think I will need to replace my needle now.
I took quite a wedge of fabric out of the back bodice as it was very wide (I cut a medium) and I adjusted the curves at the front slightly. I could have fitted the bodice a bit more- it is quite loose under the bust but I didnt want it to end up too tight as it wasn’t the most breathable fabric (and I really dont think I could have coped with unpicking if it had ended up too small!). I also narrowed the sleeves and changed the shape of the sleevehead. For Elsa purists it is worth noting the dress doesn’t have the front slit. I didn’t add one, but I imagine it would be quite easy to do.
I found the organza very challenging to hem neatly so that ended up looking a bit chewed up at the bottom but it did attach at the bodice quite easily. Maybe a rolled hem foot would have helped? The mesh for the yoke was suprisingly easy to sew with a stretch stitch and didn’t fray – unlike the organza and satin.
I definitely wouldn’t say this was my finest sewing – the zip insertion was also a bit of a mess as it was hard to sew it onto the sequins neatly. But overall I figured that people are going to be looking at the shiny bits and not the zip insertion?
The most important thing to say about it is that my daughter loved it and she had a great time at Comic-Con with her friends, talked to people dressed up as Doctor Who and surprised small children when she went for coffee afterwards. Which is really what it is all about!
So – how about you – what have you done that goes way outside your comfort zone (and did it have shiny bits?)