Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cinderella, Cinderella

Sometimes I just feel like avoiding certain tasks....and today is one of those days.

I have to finish making a Cinderella costume for Miss B for her school play. The dress is all finished and looks reasonably good, but the underskirt is giving me a whole new respect for dance seamstresses and sewers of those cute little pettiskirts that you see on Etsy. The $70 or so that they charge for those puppies is more than worth the money! I am currently surrounded by acres of tulle strips that need to be gathered and sewn and my heart is really not in it anymore. The tutorial called for non-fray chiffon but I wasn't able to source it locally and I thought that soft bridal tulle would do just as well. Let me just say that this stuff is a real pain to work with! And I'm sure that Miss B will be complaining about the scratchy-ness of it. If I had to suffer through this process again, I would definitely order the non-fray chiffon strips online.

Actually, having seen the costumes that the other kids have, I find myself wondering why I bother going to so much trouble. She's actually kind of conspiciously overdone! Although I don't feel bad for making it as Miss B loves the costume to bits and swans around in it after school, only taking it off for meals and bed! I guess I thought that since she had the part of Cinderella, she should look a bit special and I must admit that I really did enjoy making the dress part of the costume...and probably went to a lot more trouble than was necessary. The truth is that I love making costumes, and in some ways I wish that the culture here was a little more like that of America, with parents going to lots of effort to make things look nice. At least that is how things look from my blog reading Aussie perspective anyway!

The dress was actually not very hard to make at all thanks to the creativity and generosity of a wonderful blogger (Make It and Love It) who posted the tutorial here. I think I love this woman and I'm so grateful to her for sharing the method. You could use it as the basis for quite a lot of different costumes, just by tweaking a few things here and there.

The tutorial is more of a method than exact instructions as there is no pattern provided - which was great for me, as I find printing things to scale and fiddling with sizes to be a lot of extra work when I really just want to jump right in and start sewing. It shows you how to draft your own pattern using an item of clothing to draft the basic bodice and then just adding the extras that make it all Cinderella-y. Here's a pic of my bodice partway through construction before the sleeves were added, complete with untrimmed threads - oops!

The instructions are excellent and very detailed and there are lots of photos of the process. I was a little bit afraid about drafting sleeves, but they worked out beautifully. My only regret is that I cheaped out a bit on the fabric for the skirt and used a synthetic blend that I picked up on the bargain table. The colour isn't right and I think it doesn't have the right amount of body to really make the skirt poof out nicely. Unfortunately I didn't really have that much choice about it as there wasn't any satin that matched the bodice fabric anyway, and besides which, I had already spent a bit more than I wanted to on the materials. It's so frustrating how expensive fabric is here in Australia compared to the States! I also wish that I had cut the bodice a little bit smaller, as it seems to have stretched a little bit, but I guess in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter.

Make It and Love It also has a great tutorial for a pettiskirt that you can use to poof out the dress (or just make it for your little one to prance about looking adorable in!). It is pretty straight forward, but kind of time consuming as the huge amount of gathering for the two layers of the skirt seem to go on forever. Hence my procrastination at going back into the sewing room and finishing the damn thing off! I need to put an extra tier on Miss B's to make it a bit longer as the original tutorial is for a younger (and shorter) child, but I think it will still work well and hopefully will give the skirt some Cinderella-y fullness.

Oh well, I'd better get back to it. Endless miles of gathering (well about 30 meters of ruffling, then 10 metres of tulle, then another 5 metres of tulle x 2) await. And they won't sew themselves!


  1. Follow up photos of the whole dress are necessary! I loooove costuming :)

  2. The pettiskirt is done and I love it! So glad that I am done with aaaall that gathering though! Will post pics of her all gussied up soon.