Sarah guide's you through how to sew with sequins, inserting a zipper back closure,lining the bodice, attaching the train with buttons, and stenciling the train with snowflakes!
Let me introduce you to her!!!....
Hi all! I’m Sarah, and I am a craft-a-holic. I’ll admit, my favorite part of the year is Halloween, because I love the engineering aspect of making my kids look just like another character. One year I made my kids into Woody and Jessie, and another year I made my son look just like his favorite stuffed animal friend, Ruffy dog.
I don’t have a craft blog to send you to, so I figured I had to introduce myself somehow! Anyway, after doing this for years, I was already analyzing the clothing in Frozen by about 3 minutes into my daughters’ obsession, because I know how this works. Thankfully, my neighbor has an embroidery machine, so making Anna’s beautiful bunad was a lot of fun.
On to big sister Elsa. Unfortunately, I emailed Joy to test out her pattern, and the timing just didn’t work out. So I ended up drafting my own pattern. It is really similar to what Joy did, though! And she asked me to write a guest post so that I could explain the differences in mine and how you could alter her pattern for this look.
First of all, let’s talk about my cape. That’s the easiest change!
I got one yard of this blue shimmery, see-through fabric from Wal-Mart, but I’ve also gotten it from Jo-Ann’s (I’ve made four of these dresses!). I made myself a pattern out of my least favorite wrapping paper. I cut the curved shape that I wanted for the bottom and printed off varying sizes of snowflakes, taping them all over the cape pattern. If you want truly Elsa-like snowflakes, check out Joy's Snowflake Stencils in her Joy2Sew Etsy shop. AngelicLuka also has some Elsa snowflakes available as well. For the upper portion, I just used a ruler and made a giant snowflake-ish shape with a sharpie.
Next comes the fun part. You can use fabric paint with a paint brush, but my favorite was a “paint pen” I found at Wal-Mart. That makes your cape non-washable, but it was worth it for the precision, I think. One you have your paint, just lay the fabric on top of the pattern and trace it out! It was so much fun that I let my six year old help. She was so proud to help make her costume!
My cape essentially attaches just like Joy’s. I just gathered the top, and put it in a casing with some extra dress fabric. A couple things were different for me, however. First of all, I didn’t like the cape going all the way under her arms. I know that is not as accurate, but I wanted the cape to just attach along the back. And since I didn’t want Velcro to snag anything, and have had terrible luck with snaps, I went with buttons. Thank you, Mom, for sending me a huge bag of snowflake buttons three years ago!
Now onto the other big element to my Elsa: sequins! I have to admit, when I went to the cut counter, I still had two fabrics: the stretchy, easy to sew version, and these sequins. And I let the guy at the counter talk me into the sequins. How could I turn down such sparkle for little girls? They live for sparkly! Sequins might be a lot of extra work, but my daughter is madly in love with how it reflects the light, so it was worth it to me. I know some people went with confetti dot instead, but I thought that was even rougher than the sequins to the touch, and I’ve heard the glue can gunk up while you sew it. With that being said, sequin fabric is not quick to work with. The main difference comes with how you cut it.
When you cut out your sequins, first of all, save your fabric scissors and just use paper scissors. You are essentially cutting plastic, not fabric. But once you have the piece cut, you are barely started. Because before you sew, you need to cut each individual sequin off of your seam allowance.
You’ll notice a couple of things in this picture. First of all, I have a “dropcloth” underneath where I am cutting. Put something underneath, and still come to terms with the fact that you will be picking sequins out of your carpet for months! (Especially if you make four . . .) Second of all, notice that I have the left back piece ready to go, but haven’t worked on the piece to the right yet. If you look closely, you can see that I cut each sequin through the hole, leaving a tiny moon shape behind. You don’t have to pull out all of the moon shapes- that takes forever, and you can pull them out later as long as you cut through the hole. But you do want the cut them all off, all the way around.
If you are wondering, this particular piece took about 20 minutes to remove all the sequins like you see. The front and two back pieces took about an hour total, probably a little more.
For those of you who want to skip this step, I can tell you why it exists. First of all, sewing machines don’t care for sewing plastic. They’ll do it, but they get grumpy. Second of all, this reduces the bulk and pokey-ness in your seams. And third, if you don’t do it (or, like me here, didn’t make yourself a big enough seam allowance), they stick out when you are all done.
You can go back and clean them up a bit later, but it isn’t as good. So if you decide to skip it, just know what will happen.
Now, because I used sequins, I knew for sure that I have to have lining underneath the sequins. But I also decided to fully line the garment so that I didn’t have any interior seams poking my daughter. This changes your sequence, so let me run through this.
First, I sewed in the zipper on the back. (Follow the instructions that come on the zipper!)
Next, I laid the yoke on top of the back piece, right sides together.
And on top of that sandwich, I laid the inner lining. I’ve basted the two halves together where the zipper will be eventually, but sewed the bottom couple of inches together.
Once you have sewn that all together along the top (remember to stop and start again across the zipper!), you also need to sew the bottom. Just don’t catch the yoke in that one! The bottom is just lining with sequins face up, then inner lining face down.
Once you flip that right-side out, you need to top stitch along the top and down each side of the zipper (using your zipper foot). That way the inner lining will be part of that zipper. Pin that in place really well, and get as close as you can!
Once you have that out of the way, do the same thing for the front. Layer it lining with sequins face up, then the yoke, and then the inner lining. Sew along the top, catching the yoke, and along the bottom, avoiding the yoke and back pieces. (Darn that sweetheart neckline . . .)
Now you can flip it all out and have this!
Whew. This is when I attach my sleeves. Now, the next part seems like a voo-doo trick, and I was really mad at myself when I finished sewing it and realized I forgot to take a picture. Sorry! But I do have the original picture I learned it from! I was making a reversible vest one day, and in my desperation, I took a picture of a pattern at the store to figure out this funky step.
First of all, you should have the top inside out right now, so sequins are inside. What you are going to do is pin the sequins and linings of the side seam together, avoiding the inner linings for now. Basically, it is like two circles touching at that side seam right now, and you are pinning the part where they meet up. I found it is best to start at the shoulder seam and head down from there, just like it shows on the right side in that vest picture. But once you get to the end of the sequins (which hopefully should line up) just keep sewing down! That will join the inner linings as well. You won’t be able to sew them all the way, so just sew until you can’t sew any more. Once you turn it right side out (it basically is already), then you just top stitch or whip stitch the last part closed.
If that last part made absolutely no sense whatsoever, just ditch it. You can just sew the side seams together, have one exposed seam inside, and no one will be the wiser. But give it a shot! That little trick has changed my world.
And that’s it! You should have a fully lined top with no interior seams showing. Well, minus the sleeve seams. In case you were curious, I lined the upper shoulder like Joy shows you, but did not line the sleeve itself. And I did one lazy change as well, using the selvedge edge for the hem of the sleeve instead of the point. I know Elsa has that point towards her fingers, but I thought the selvedge edge was really pretty, and that way I didn’t have to finish it! I also liked the look of a skirt and top better than the one piece dress, so that was another quick change from Joy’s pattern on the ice dress as one piece. If you want separate skirt and bodice directions, check out Joy's Coronation Dress "Separates directions", or use your Joy2Sew Anna pattern to make a separate skirt.
Happy sewing everyone! If you have any questions, you can reach me at my newly created (and currently empty)