Halloween Costume Re-cap

So I have to say Eleanor is pretty good about sticking to her Halloween costume plan…   This is the second time she decided on what to be almost a year before and hasn’t changed her mind.  So I kinda feel like that’s huge when it comes to making costumes.  I mean, what would happen if your kid decides to be a squashbutter ninja and then you go to the trouble of making the perfect  costume, and then they won’t wear it because they changed their mind and now want to be a Stripey fruit ninja!  If that was the case I probably wouldn’t have bothered with making costumes at all.. or I would …and I’d just have a lot more.

This year it was Sofia the First. If you don’t know who that is, here’s a pic:

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It’s a newer Disney Jr. show… and it meant another purple princess dress! (Last year was Rapunzel) Whoot!

So I’m always disappointed with the Princess dresses in the Disney store. They’re expensive and usually don’t look like the actual dress the princess wears… and to top it off, they always add some cheesey charm on them with the princess’ picture on it. SUPERCHEESE!
Roo wasn’t too impressed with them either because they lacked the “poofiness” that Sofia’s dress clearly has!
It wasn’t in my plan to buy one, but this October was busier than usual and there was a slim chance that I would just plum run out of time when it came to making Roo’s costume this year. I had some other people’s costumes to make, and some photo jobs to take care of, so my free time outside of work was pretty slim. But luckily I was able to make it work. I mean, I was down to the wire and had to forgo a couple last minute details but I at least got to the point where you could say “Ok, this is a Sofia costume no doubt about it!”

I’m not really going to go through a step by step but I at least took a few pics along the way:

I decided right off the bat that I was going to make an “under” dress first for two reasons:
One, I knew I needed a lot of layers of netting and fabric so I could get it poofy enough. Trying to sew all that together and keep it straight would be tricky. And the top purple layer needed to lay right due to the tulip type skirt. And two, I figured she could use it under other dresses that needed extra poof!
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So the skirt with a satin layer inside and the crinoline under-skirt looked like this:
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Looked poofy enough to me? It actually looked like it might swallow her whole!

And then I added the white cloth layer on top. I sewed on a strip of light purple ribbon to the bottom edge before I attached it. HW04 (1 of 1)

sry, these photos aren’t the best, but they were like the phone photos I was sending my husband as I was making this because I just thought it was funny looking.

So then I attached the white top and added a zipper in back, and I got this:
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There are a set of fangs in her mouth from an octoberfest phototaking job we did the day before.  She’s not wearing some weird Frankenretainer or anything…

So now I’m thinking I’m well on my way… well as the Halloween week days were closing, I realized this dress had so much more going on than I really thought through! But regardless, I got this far, I wasn’t turning back! Who doesn’t love a challenge!

SIDE STORY ALERT:
So I’ve got this big poofy white under dress thing but I just need to take up the top a little.
Roo decides she wants to paint. So I’m like, ok sure because I never really say no to any arts and crafts. I take off her dress, get her set up with paint and an easel…
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I call her back in the sewing room to try on the dress again so I can check the length of the top… It’s good. She starts dancing around again and before I know it, she decides to crawl under the paint easel (coz kids like to crawl under stuff) and I’m starting to freak cos she’s close to her paints. Well she didn’t touch the paint, but she did get some paint on the floor… which she’s now swept her white enveloped self through. The bottom edge of this white angel dress is now coated in blue paint. And not only that, but there are three random blue paint spots higher up on the outside skirt. Just when I think I’m going to lose it, I remember this spot remover I bought at Hobby Lobby that they sell right on the fabric cutting counter. I remember I picked it up and asked the lady cutting my fabric if it worked. She said she didn’t know firsthand, but that everyone she’s known to try it has only had good things to report. So it’s $3.99, I buy it. And as I’m throwing it in the cart I’m thinking in my head that I’m probably going to end up with a reason to use this. Well thank god I got it because boy did I ever need it and boy if it didn’t take that paint out like a champ then I don’t even know my own name. ( wait…) Or on the flip side, this all might not have happened if I hadn’t bought it at all.
The point is, if you see this:
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you better just buy it. You just never know when you’ll really need it.

So Grandma’s secret spot remover saved the day!!

Ok, story over. Back to the dress:

Now for the fun part! Starting the purple dress! For the top, I needed two shades of purple and some kind of dark purple trim to divide the two colors and add that little twist at the torso. I had this satiny fabric in a lighter purple which was annoying but I used it anyway coz I had it on hand. I ended up doubling the lighter fabric so I wouldn’t have to hem or turn under the edge when I was going to put the dark purple trim. I got this tiny dark purple ribbon and just sewed it on the folded side of the satiny light colored fabric with a matching thread.

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Then I just added simple sleeves, nothin’ fancy.

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After thinking about it, I decided the best way to put the skirt together was to just cut four big ovals flat on top and sew them together from the middle up. I didn’t want any seams going through the white applique design.

So that seemed to work out well. I pinned them together and laid them over the white dress and adjusted the shape until I was happy with how they looked. Once I was satisfied, I sewed them together loosely and started making the appliques.

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The applique was made with the leftover white thick satin material I made the innermost layer of the white dress with. I ironed on the fusable interfacing, and started cutting out the shapes. These also weren’t cut with any precision or measurements. I just kinda cut one tear drop shape, placed it on and cut it down until it looked right, and then make 15 more. And so on with the other shape. After I did that, I ironed them on and then sewed around each shape with a white tight zig zag.

So here I’m thinking that I’m really almost done! I haven’t attached the skirt yet because I still have to decide on how to add that scooping of beads on top.
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Even though in Sofia’s dress, it really doesn’t look like there’s an extra layer of fabric on top of the tulip skirt, I made the choice to add one. I just kinda thought it would look better than just sewing a string of beads in a scoopy shape on either side. So here’s where we’re at now without having actually sewed on the beads just yet. They’re kinda just pinned up for now.
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Now this is where I ran out of time. These beads were supposed to also trim the big purple tulip skirt…and the neckline but since they had to be hand sewn, I only had time to trim the extra layer and the top. I mean, I guess I could still add em’ now if I wanted but I think it actually looked good enough as it was. It was getting busy already and it was pretty darn close to looking almost exactly like Sofia’s dress.

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So after sewing on the beads the night before Halloween, I’m pretty convinced that’s the last I’m going to do for this dress instead of losing another hour of sleep. I’m definitely happy with how it turned out… and Eleanor (roo) is thrilled with it but slightly disappointed that I never got around to making Norma a dress… or myself for that matter so we could be the mom and step-sister. Perhaps I can make up for it at Christmas with matching elf outfits for the three of us.

So here’s what went out on Halloween!

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She’s already put in her order for a “Shake it Santa” dress but “bigger” for Christmas. I’m trying to talk her out of it so we can make something different… but we’ll see. Maybe the girls from the Shake it up show will have something new on that she’ll like. So I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that I’ve become her dress making slave, but honestly I’m so happy to be.

Oh, and I can’t leave before I show you one more pic… Kevin was dying to try on the dress, so we all agreed he wore it as well as Eleanor. Points if you can find him!!
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Anwyay, so if you have any questions about the making of this dress, feel free to ask! I’m kind of a fly by the seat of my pants sewninja. Ninja seems to be my choice word currently. I’m asked a lot how I sew things without patterns and I’ll just answer that here.
There’s a couple reasons and the first is that there usually isn’t a pattern for the things I want to make. A lot of the dresses I make for my daughter we either make up, or she sees on TV so I honestly think it’s a waste of time to look for a pattern because it probably won’t fit them exactly, and it will probably won’t even look like the dress anyway… like the disney store dresses! I can’t say this is true 100% of the time, because the first time I looked for a pattern for a particular dress was the last time… and that was a while ago. But it’s probably a safe bet. And the second is that I’m just not that used to reading patterns. I never took home economics. I was never taught how to read a pattern. I’m not saying I never bought a pattern… I have. I did make a purse from a pattern and some other things along the way… but for the most part, I would end up changing the pattern anyway. The fun of sewing for me is making up something new… or being challenged to make something from a character or picture and seeing how close I can get. It’s like those logic puzzles in those puzzle magazines I used to get in my Easter Basket: Identify the pieces. Figure out where they need to go. Decide which order they need to be attached. And I’ve taken out many stitches this way, but it’s all for the fun of it!

I started sewing after my daughter was born… and it started with stuffed animals and bunting. The first dress I made her was for the 4th of July and she was already close to 2 years old. And the way I did was by taking clothes that I knew fit her well and using them as a guide. I just kinda mentally un-did the seams and pictured what they would look like flattened out. And now a days I just kinda put a piece of scrap paper on her back and mark her shoulders and whatever that way… once you have the basic shape, you can adjust it to almost any type of clothing. Honestly, I think trial and error over a few years has taught me the most about sewing. I still want to take some classes, but everytime I sign up for one at the community school, it gets canceled for under enrollment. Maybe I’ll start my own…

Anyway, sorry for the long post!!!
TFR!!

Stay tuned for a Scrapbook layout using these Halloween pics!

xo FITTY!

The Chocolate Cake recipe I use

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We are not Vegan, but I have a stack of vegan cook books just because it makes life easier when it comes to Roo’s food allergies. It already cuts out the dairy and eggs, and nuts are an easy thing to leave out or replace. They don’t usually have any real “job” as far as making a cake or baked item perform as it should.
So after trying out a bunch of different recipes (mostly from vegan cook books or online), I think I’ve come to the conclusion that this is my most used line up of ingredients.

This makes 24 cupcakes or two 8-9′ rounds for a layer cake… or cut it in half for a quick small cake or 12 cupcakes… ( I probably didn’t need to add that… but whatevs…) I like to make a big batch of cupcakes and freeze some in case something comes up and I need a “birthday” cake type dessert in a jif to bring to a party.

A little side note here is that I also find a big difference when I only use a fork to mix this recipe. You can mix it with a spoon, but it’s just as easy and doable with a fork. Takes a bit more patience, but it comes out more fluffy and moist. One of the biggest problems I always had baking without eggs was trying to get the cake less dense… and I could be crazy, but I feel like substituting the fork for the spoon is the key.

Dry ingreds:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Mix all dry ingredients together. You can throw em’ in a big bowl, or you can throw em’ right in the pan you’re going to bake them in. If you’re using a square or rectangular pan, you can pretend it’s your zen garden and run the fork through in pleasing patterns whilst crushing any flour, sugar, or cocoa power rocks that may have formed.
And if you are just mixing this in the pan you’re going to bake it in, you won’t need any kind of baking spray. This is the “less stuff to wash later” method. Not suggested if you’re making a layer cake… but if you’re just going to leave it in there to frost and cut up, it’s the quickest and easiest way.

Wet ingreds:
2 cup warm water
2/3 cup Canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 apple cider vinegar

Once all your dry ingreds looks uniform, start adding the wet ones one at a time until completely blended with the fork. The oil is the toughest to incorporate, but just keep running the fork around the edge and kinda fold the oil in until blended. I always leave the vinegar till last, it’s doing the job the eggs got fired for and it can’t sit around like that too long so try to have your oven ready as soon as it’s mixed.

I used to worry about over-mixing with a spoon, but again, I don’t think I’ve ever over-mixed with the fork so don’t be afraid to keep blending until you’ve got a good consistent texture.

Bake for 30 mins at 350 if you’ve got two 8′ round pans or a half batch square.
Bake for 20 mins at 350 for cupcakes

Bake longer if you’re using a bigger or deeper pan. I would start with 30 mins and just keep testing after. I’ve never actually made a batch this size in one big pan so … use your judgement. 🙂

And the great thing about this cake batter is that I have no problem letting my daughter lick the bowl (shown above) since there are no raw eggs or dairy in there, it’s basically liquid chocolate sugar… how could that taste bad?

As far as frosting, you can throw a quick glaze on top with confectioners sugar, water, (soy milk or a safe butter alternative), add an extract for flavoring… etc. This is perfect if you’re making a chocolate bundt cake.

If it’s for a birthday party or something where I want to decorate it, I usually just use the Pillsbury frostings. (Ya know… coz you want your kid to bounce off the walls a little after consuming your confections… hey, it’s a party right?) But they generally don’t have any dairy and are just a pile of sugar and soy ingredients in attractive colors topped with coordinating sprinkle type decorations.

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And the above picture is proof that this cake can stand on it’s own…  if your child steals a cupcake pre-frost… you know you’ve got a keeper.

Enjoy!

xo Fitty