Monday, October 20, 2014

gracie the vampire - part 1: the dress

Edited to add links for the rest of the costume:
gracie the vampire - part 2: the slip
gracie the vampire - part 3: the jacket

I'm sure most of you already know, but this week is Kids Clothes Week.  Usually I like to sew along, but the last couple of times I haven't exactly dedicated an hour a day.  I guess I kind of figure that since I sew for my kids all year long (often for hours at a time!) I've probably made my quota for Kids Sewing Week for the next few years or so :)  Anyway, the theme for this season is Storybook, but I am leaning towards a slightly different theme - I call it "Gracie needs her Halloween costume by Saturday, so I'd better get sewing."  It's real catchy sounding, isn't it ;)

This year Gracie wants to be a vampire, but not just any vampire, more specifically a "I found it in a catalog and I'm sure my mom has $200 to spend on a costume that will only be worn twice" kind of vampire :)  So, like any other mom that sews, when my kids give me that sad puppy dog face, I hear the words "sure, I can make that" and immediately wonder who said it, until I realize it was me!  And unless I want to be "the worst mom in the whole entire world and even the moon" I'm going to have to sew that costume :) The problem is, once I commit to sewing a costume, I go nuts, both literally and figuratively speaking.  I go totally overboard with planning, buying and sewing until it consumes all of my time and sleep deprivation sets in.  Not to mention, my house (due to sheer neglect) ends up looking like a bomb went off.  I just figure if any adults give my house the side-eye while trick-or-treating with their kids, I can very creatively explain how we decorated our house as a disaster zone this year :)

Now before you say that the costume doesn't look very complicated, take a look at the title of this part and make note of the part 1.  Because this costume comes complete with parts 2, 3, 4 and 5 as well!  And yes, this costume is absolutely going to consume the entire week on the blog, so if you don't want to see a vampire costume one piece at a time, I'll see you next week :)

The bodice of this dress is self drafted.  It took two muslins to get the right shape, and if it was anything other than a Halloween costume, I probably would have done a third.  But even I'm not nuts enough to do three muslins for a Halloween costume.  My limit is definitely two ;)  I had never drafted a stand up collar that was integrated into the bodice rather than being a separate pattern piece, so that was an interesting challenge.  In fact, the final shape of the bodice pattern almost seems counter intuitive, but it really does fit perfectly and I'm thrilled with how it turned out!  I promise I will have pictures of Gracie wearing the costume in part 5 ... stay tuned!

I thought the drafting would be the complicated part, but it turns out the construction was worse.  I hate working with costume satin in the first place since it frays badly and shifts all over the place while sewing (even with a walking foot!)  But add in a slightly stretchy tulle overlay and it becomes a nightmare.  I couldn't even guess how many times I had to change the settings on both my sewing machine and serger to accommodate the satin on it's own, the tulle on it's own, or the two fabrics together, all of which required different settings.  Then attaching the lining required a forth setting.  If I was smart I would have written down the settings each time I changed them so I would have them for the next time, but obviously I'm not that smart!  It goes without saying that my seam ripper and I saw each other more often than usual while constructing this dress :)

Everything is from Joann's
Dress - Black costume satin
Overlay - Black tulle with glitter dots
Lining - Red sateen
Black invisible zipper


  1. This post has really made me giggle. I bet your kids don't even realise how brilliant you are. And that not all mums can or would even consider doing the things you do. You are amazing. Like an excited puppy, I can not wait to see what's coming next.

    1. Thanks Olu! My kids just show me what they want me to sew and expect it to happen. Thankfully they don't expect me to cook with the same amount of devotion ;)

  2. It looks great, I can't wait to see the complete outfit! I'm being let off easy this year - my daughter just wants to wear the Elsa dress I made her a couple of months ago. And my son hasn't asked for anything at all - I hope he's not going to spring something on me at the last minute...

    1. Gracie wanted me to make her an Elsa dress too, but she didn't want to wear it for Halloween. I told her she could pick one costume for now, and that we would talk about the other one in a couple of months once I recover from sewing the first one :)