Monday, October 22, 2012

Sew-It-Yourself Dr. Girlfriend Costume

Dr. Girlfriend/Stewardess/Jackie O/Mad Men Costume

I tend to select my Halloween costumes months in advance so it wasn’t unusual that I decided I would be Dr. Girlfriend a few months ago as the boyfriend and I were working our way through The Venture Bros. Advanced planning would be my saving grace this year as I would have to sew my costume. Dr. Girlfriend’s dress/lab coat and pillbox hat are fairly specific and unique, which made it difficult/impossible to find an exact pattern.

Finding a Pattern for the Dress

I ended up going with Simplicity 3628 and making a few adjustments to turn the jacket with the mandarin collar into a dress. I used yellow tissue paper to add length to each of the panels. I also added some width to the right front panel and an angular cut to replicate the mod look of her dress. I cut each of the modified pieces out of pink, tweed (working around Stella Cat who made herself at home on the foreign fabric).

Side Note: I used a standard fabric scissors when I should have used a pinking shears to prevent the fabric from fraying. I ended up going back and trimming along my seams.

After cutting out each of the panels, I simply followed the pattern instructions, eliminating the lining since I would not be wearing it as a jacket. I ran into an issue when I tried the dress on mid-way through. I hadn’t allotted enough additional fabric to fit across the bust. This issue was remedied by unfolding a portion of the left front panel ostensibly doubling the panel. Because I wouldn’t be adding a lining, I was able to do this without affecting the rest of the garment.

Once everything was pieced together I hemmed the dress to well above my knee (I wore shorts for modesty under the dress) and the sleeves to just below my elbows. I marked the location of the buttons with a blue marking pencil, guided by the loops. With the buttons sewn on, the dress was complete.

Sewing The Hat

This element was much simpler than I anticipated. I fused interfacing to a piece of the pink tweed before cutting out a circle, using a bowl as a guide. I cut a 3.75-inch thick strip, hemmed it, sewed it in a circle and sewed it to the top piece. I added two loops to the inside so I could clip the hat to my hair.

Throw in some white boots and gloves and viola! Dr. Girlfriend or a stewardess or Jackie O. or a character from Mad Men, depending on the beholder’s eye.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

DIY Stuffed Animals

My sister's really into sewing these days, which is great, since I've benefited from her skills over the past year. First off, she gave me the prototype of her slouchy reversible tote bag. I use it all the time!

Next off, she decided to make new pillows for her living room to switch up the decor a bit...which quickly evolved into sewing stuffed animals for the girls' room.

Her first foray into DIY stuffed animals was the "Katie bird pillow" – a cute, fun little pattern you can mix up with coordinating prints. I oooh'd over it so much I even got my own (it goes with the wild, fun patterns she bought for the pillows she sewed me for my redecorated living room).

After the stuffed bird she tried out a stuffed bunny pattern – also very cute and somewhat retro. The girls love their new stuffed animals (that also double as little pillows for their naps) and they aren't just run-of-the-mill, purchased commercialized toys.

I'm no sewer but I think these patterns would be great for beginners.