Anna Costume, Constructing The Bodice

I’ve been a bit sick these past couple of days but I still wanted to try and get some work done on making the pattern for my Anna costume. I’d debated using a pattern but I’m better at just draping on me or even just cutting at random and starting to sew while refining later. So I didn’t know if I wanted to experiment on something that has an actual deadline. This is my first time draping on a dress form and I have to say I’m pleased. It only took me one hour as opposed to two or three and I was able to do it mostly seated. A big plus for me right now since standing leaves me feeling wiped. Here’s what the top looks like so far.

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I think it’s pretty obvious this is just a first draft. But it’s looking pretty good so far. I regret not ironing the fabric before I started, but as I stated before, I was really tired. I don’t think it’ll make or break the final product anyways. The wrinkling was minor and I caused the bulk of what you see myself. I’m getting kind of excited to start basting it together so I can try it on. I don’t expect any major issues in fit. I did have a tough time getting the dress form to be my exact double. Mostly because I forgot I’ll be wearing things like a bra and top under this vest. So I had to take the cover off and adjust the form, add a bra, and measure about 30 times to be sure it was right. If anything that probably took more time than the draping. But I’m confidant the measurements are correct now, so hopefully it’s smooth sailing from here on out!

And in related news my skirt fabric shipped! I really can’t believe it shipped so quickly. Supposedly it’ll be here Monday. If that’s the case then I need to get to work draping the skirt!

My Elevé Leotards Are Here!

I had no intention of writing this post so soon. But that’s 100% due to the fact I never thought these leotards would be here so soon. The tracking said they’d be delivered Saturday, so imagine my surprise to find them in box today! 

I bought two different styles. Here’s what they look like.

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This is the Anna style, I added a bust liner. 

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This is the Nicole style, I added a bust liner to this one as well.

I want to take this time to point out. There was no reason to omit the bust liner as unlike Yumiko, they do not charge extra for it. If you want a full front liner it is an additional $8 charge. That’s very reasonable considering it’s a $10 fee to add a bust liner or a full front liner on a Yumiko.

 Here are the photos of my leotards.

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As you can see, the bust liner is just that, a liner. It is not a shelf bra and offers no additional support. It is the same material as the rest of the leotard, whereas the crotch liner is beige. From what I can tell, the crotch liner is made out of the same type of fabric as the rest of the leotard it’s not the thinner stuff.

The colors I picked are Steel for the base color and Orchid for the mesh and trim. 

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This one features a beige bust liner. I’m guessing because it was easier since the front has two colors. It was really well done too. 

The colors for this are Black for the side panels, Vampire for the base, and the mesh is called Paint Your Roses Red. 

I will not be including photos of myself in these because I’ve already tried to take them and I hated how they came out. The cutouts make it a little more obvious I need to keep working hard in class. I’m almost exactly the same weight I was pre pregnancy (I’m off by like 2 pounds) I’m just a bit more doughy than before and in weird places like my back (seriously, how do you get a fat back?). I’m lucky, I’m not spilling out of the back. I just don’t like the way it looks on me. I’ll still wear this to class, but I’m not keen to share photos just now. However, if you are self conscience or are heavier you may want to skip leotards with the cutouts. 

If you do not specify what kind of fabric you want (shiny or matte) Elevé will pick for you. I elected to let them pick for me and they chose matte. While I love it, you need to be aware it makes every lump and bump visible. My various bumps and such were much more apparent in the Steel/Orchid leo. You could see the outline of my ribs and even the indent where my c section scar is (for the record mine barely goes in, this is just how obvious things are underneath this fabric). I can wear tights and undies underneath and it’ll be fine, but you need a lot of body confidence to wear this type of fabric. I would pick it again, but probably only if I’m getting a darker color. The red and black leo is the same matte fabric yet it does not show everything underneath. Something to keep in mind, not every color is available in both finishes. At present Vampire is only available in matte, same goes for the Orchid.

You do have a lot of control with these leotards, but Elevé reserves the final say. If they feel the colors/patterns you pick don’t match their aesthetic then they will not make it. If they can’t reach you to discuss color changes they’ll do it themselves. So to play it safe I opted to just pick from the list of colors under the mesh swatches. The list of colors is just what colors are featured in the mesh (the rose mesh had seven colors in that design) and since this was my first order with them I figured it would be best to play it safe. 

Size wise this brand is my perfect fit leotard. I bought a Large, but possibly could have gone down to a Medium. I think the material that they use is forgiving enough that even if I dropped 15 pounds I could still wear the Large. But I bought the Large to be safe since I’m so tall and I don’t regret it. They’re very long are I would 100% recommend them to people who are tall or have a long torso and have a hard time finding leotards that fit. So listen up tall people, this is your brand- stop looking. I took these out of their bags and all I could think is, “Wow! They’re so long!”. They’re very comfortable and I don’t expect there to be any issues with riding up or digging into the shoulders.

As you can see, there is a huge style difference between Elevé and Yumiko. I personally like both, and can see myself owing a number of pieces from each brand. But if you told me I could buy another leotard today I would pick Elevé. I just love that they have soooo many options and I’m in love with a couple more of their floral prints. They buy their patterned fabrics in small quantities too, so that their leotards are even more unique. So hopefully they’ll still have some of those prints when I’m finally ready to order again.

I also want to say that this was a fantastic company to work with. I ordered the Orchid/Steel leotard first then a day or so later decided I wanted to buy another. I was fully prepared to pay for shipping twice because it was my fault for not buying them at the same time. But there was something weird going on with the website and it kept trying to charge me extra for the shipping saying I was out of the country. So I contacted them and they got back to me so quickly. At that point I asked if they would just tack this on to the original order even if it bumped it out of line and they said it was no issue. So A++ for customer service! They’re also a U.S. based company and all of their leotards are made here. So if it’s important to you to support U.S. companies then this is the brand for you. 

Price is also something I wanted to talk about. For what you’re getting these are very reasonably priced. These were $63 and $65 plus $6 shipping for both, I do not recall paying tax. I’ve seen basic black ones selling in dance supply stores for at least that much. And while it is important to support local businesses, they do not have to overcharge to the point your credit card melts going through the machine. So if you’re looking for a custom leotard that won’t break the bank then Elevé is a great brand to consider and technically you are supporting a local business, assuming you live in the U.S..

I hope everyone liked this review and that people find it helpful. I’ll try to do an update after I’ve worn these but I don’t expect to run into any issues. The fabric feels sooooo soft and lovely. And my ring actually caught on one as I was putting it on and you couldn’t even tell so it’s sturdy stuff. My only concern is with the red one bleeding, but even there I think I’ll be okay. I just couldn’t be happier with these two and can’t wait until next week when I can wear them!

 

My Second Yumiko Part 2

As I mentioned in my first post, I didn’t really have time to do more than snap a couple of photos. My husband was kind enough to pick my leotard up at the post office for me. But as always I slept late and I had to wash it straight away so it would be clean for that nights class. So here’s my full review after wearing it to class last night. 

First off, this is the leotard I bought.

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It’s called the Alicia. I picked Antique for the trim, Antique Rose for the top, and Espresso for the bottom. I also added cap sleeves and a bust liner. 

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Here it is inside out.

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For the most accurate color representation these two shots below are what you’re going to want to look at.

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The first photo really showcases the most accurate version of the Antique and Antique Rose colors. The second is a closer match to what the Espresso looks like in person, under daylight. However I’ve found the Espresso tends to shift a bit, considering it’s a dark color done in a shiny fabric. It’s a very obvious brown in all lighting, but it can look very chocolatey in some lights and then shift to a darker true espresso in others (like in the first photo). 

A question I get a lot is in regards to the linings. Is it worth it, what does it look like, etc. My take on it is this, at the very least a bust liner is always a good idea. And if you get a light color, you absolutely must have one. I feel slightly self conscious in this color, even with the bust liner. I asked my husband and he said he couldn’t see anything and so I guess I’ll take his word on it. I’m probably just being paranoid. But if you have a strong difference between skin color and, ahem, nipple color, I would flat out avoid this color even with a liner. Or resign yourself to wearing a bra underneath it. I’ve heard some people complain about Yumiko’s being sheer, and in my experience they are. It’s nothing terrible, but it is something you need to consider when making your color and fabric selections. Here are some photos of this leotard with a hot pink bra underneath.

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So you can see underneath it. I feel like the lines of the bra are slightly more apparent in real life. And I know the photos here are none to pretty, so again, please forgive my poor, horribly abused, skin. :(

For those who are interested, this is what the lining looks like.

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Like my last leotard the lining is just a double layer of the same fabric the rest of the leotard is made out of. When I was in the boutique in New York I saw some that had that beige mesh. I do not know if they are moving away from that, or if they used the double layer of the regular fabric because of the style I was buying. I guess if you really wanted one versus the other you could always contact the company when placing your order. But I don’t see an issue with this fabric. It functions fine, and probably provides more coverage than the basic lining stuff since it’s twice as thick. The only issue I could see is if you wanted a shelf bra, I’m not sure they’re doing that anymore if they really have stopped using the regular lining fabric. 

When it comes to wear it was fairly comfortable. I did notice once I was really sweating a lot it kind of stuck to my skin. It was slightly plasticy feeling. It also rode up a bit from time to time. I do not have an especially larger rear, in fact I have a fantastically flat one. I also lack serious hips, I’m a rectangle for the most part. For reference I wear American Eagle skinny jeans in a size 6. So I think it’s a length issue. But I have that same issue with every brand I’ve tried. But I have found that with most brands, when I go up a size they tend to get baggy because, of course, they’re bigger. But with Yumiko I have not found this to be an issue. The only difference I’ve felt between a Large and an X-Large is the length. And although it’s not substantial, it is just about enough for me. I think with a bit or wear it’ll eventually be fine. Even now, it didn’t ride up much. I’ve experienced much worse. And it was not enough to keep me from buying another from this brand.

 

So bottom line? I love this leotard. I would 100% buy not only this brand again, but this style again. I found the style, with the inverted V made me look like I had more of a shape. And the cap sleeves made me look a bit less broad. They just hit at that exact right spot. I do think next time I’m going to branch out and buy a different fabric type. I’ve also been toying with the idea of getting their swatch booklet. I really hate their $25 price tag. But if I plan to buy even two more leotards I think it may be worth it. I might also ask them about a discount on it. I really do feel the fee is too high considering they don’t offer a credit or coupon when buying it. As I mentioned before most companies don’t just sell their booklets. There’s usually a special coupon or something that you can redeem when you place your next order with the company so all, if not most, of the cost of the booklet is recouped. But regardless, if I purchase one I promise to share the images here. The pictures I already have up are great, but I feel like they could stand to be a bit more accurate. I only had my camera phone on me when I took those photos and the lighting in the store was pretty harsh. So I think I could do better. 

I hope you all liked this review. I have two Eleve leotards on the way. I got the shipping confirmation yesterday and I have my fingers crossed I’ll have them in hand by the end of the week. Once I have them, and have had a chance to wear them I’ll take some photos and do a review on here for those as well!

My Second Yumiko!

This is going to be a very quick post. There won’t be many photos because after I tried it on and snapped a few pics I threw it into the tub to wash. As opposed to doing a few shots of it on it’s own. Here are the photos.

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Please forgive the hair and skin. I’d literally just woken up and the 18 layers of sunblock I was living under in Florida all last week just suffocated my skin. :(

So far I love this leotard. The bottom color is Espresso, the top is Antique Rose, and the trim is Antique. The style is the Alicia and I added the cap sleeves and bust liner. The bottom is just a classic ballet leg cut. I washed it so quickly because I intend to wear it to class this evening. So I’ll be able to tell everyone how it wears during a long sweaty class. 

Anna Costume

As I mentioned in my last post I’m creating a Anna costume. I’m attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party next month and I need this done within the next seven weeks. Though I’d prefer to see this done by the 10th of next month, just to be safe. I’d hope for sooner, but I’m waiting on my Spoonflower order. I expect it to take at least two weeks if not a bit longer to get to me. So I’ll be held up waiting on that. That’s okay, I’ll just use this time to work on my embroidery patterns, the bodice, and shirt. For reference I’m planning to make Anna’s traveling outfit, here are the reference shots I’m using.

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They’re good, not great. Just because they don’t show the embroidery from straight on. I am using some other reference material. Mainly these two images.

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These images are from MomoKurumi on DeviantArt. She’s a genius and incredibly generous as far as I’m concerned. I’m forever grateful to her for providing these images as it saves me a wold of time and effort.

Now I’m new to machine embroidery, brand spanking new. Truth be told this is only my third attempt at using my new software. Prior to this I’ve only used patterns that came with my machine. I drew this design, scanned it, and made some very minor changes to the image. I’m still doing things wrong I’m sure and may try to tweak it as I’m not 100% thrilled with how my embroidery came out. But on the whole it’s not bad considering I’ve never really done anything like this before. And if I did want to put this onto a finished garment as is I could.

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The design is exactly the right size for adding to the bodice. I made it to fit my largest hoop which is 360mm X 200mm, so it’s quite large. I’m going to have to do some tests on the fabric I plan to use. Just to see what I can and can’t do with it. I bought 1.5 yards, so I have plenty to work with. It’s 100% cotton velveteen and it can be machine washed. But naturally I’m still very concerned about hoop burn. I’m also afraid of floating the fabric and basting it because it could leave stitch marks. I am very fortunate to own a number of hoops though. I own the Mega Endless Hoop and Metal Hoop.

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As you can see, both would be great for avoiding marks on the fabric, or at least minimizing them. However I could not use them for the large design on the front as they’re much smaller. They’ll be ideal for the little designs on the shoulders and back, but that’s about it. So experiment I shall, there’s time. What I need to do right now is focus on getting my patterns made. It’ll be difficult though. My software requires the use of a dongle (something I always hated). And today while I was trying to save the image my son decided it would be the perfect time to jump up and down on me and try to pull my hair out of my head. It was like he was possessed by the devil himself. Well, in an effort to try and get him to stop acting like a lunatic my laptop slid off my lap and hit the floor. Of course it landed directly on the dongle, this is what it looks like now.

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Needless to say my son is in a world of trouble. This software cost more than a thousand dollars and cannot be used without the flipping dongle. We bought a lot of different warranties when we were purchasing the software and my machine, I’m just hoping we have this covered under one of them. Or perhaps I could contact the company and ask about a replacement dongle. Surely such a thing exists. It still works, for now. But it’s seriously messed up. I’m actually really angry at my son. It would be one thing if I had been ignoring him. But I remembered I hadn’t saved my design and became paranoid. So I stopped playing with him just so I could take the few minutes to do that. Apparently this was an issue for him. Well, it looks like full scale punishments will now be put in place for all misbehavior. He’s only 20 months but it’s been clear for some time that he knows exactly what we’re saying to him and he’s even started to answer us when we talk. He actually lied to me the other day. I saw him messing with my computer and when I told him to take his hands off it he looked me straight in the eye and said “I didn’t do it”. Yeah, nice try, I watched you do it. The kid does nothing but mumble or say mama from one day to the next but he can suddenly string a perfectly clear sentence together just to tell a lie? Looks like the jig is up pal. He will now be getting timeouts or whatever punishment I deem appropriate for the infraction each time he misbehaves. I just will not have this kid tearing my house (and the things in it) apart.

Please forgive my parenting rant. The anger is all consuming right now. It’l be better in the morning I’m sure. But it’s still pretty fresh right now. Moving on…

I bought my skirt fabric from Spoonflower. It’s a fantastic site if you’re unfamiliar so check it out! Here’s an image of the fabric I’m using for my skirt.

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It was designed by the ever talented Aimee Steinberger. She has made some of the most amazing costumes I’ve ever seen. If you’ve ever searched for a Rapunzel costume you’ve seen hers. It’s hands down the best one out there and it’s considerably nicer and more accurate than even the outfits the Face Characters wear at the Disney parks. I fully intend to use her fabrics to make a Rapunzel inspired outfit for the Disney Princess Half Marathon I’m doing in February. You can do no better than to use a fabric Aimee designed. I was going to draw the Rapunzel print myself when I saw she’d already done it. And I’m sure mine would never have been as good as hers so I’m grateful. I own a few swatches of the Rapunzel fabric she’s made so I have every faith that I’ll be more than pleased with this fabric. It’s the first time I’ve bought yardage of her stuff, but the level of detail is so amazing I’m more excited than nervous. It’ll really do a lot to save me from having to appliqué the bottom of the skirt and do all of that additional embroidery. If I were a cosplayer it might be worth it to me, but I’m not. The print is good enough that my son will be happy, and so will I. I could always do a bit of hand embroidery over it in the future as well. I do like doing that sort of thing. I have some scraps of Japanese fabric with amazingly cute scenes I’ve embellished just for fun. So I could see myself adding a bit to it here and there.

My only concern about the skirt is that it (obviously) has a border print. Ordinarily I would have cut the fabric into panels before sewing it back together to give it the a-line shape I’m looking for. But I can’t do that without messing up the print. Now I’m going to have to come up with a different plan. I have a few ideas for darts or pleats, but I really need to wait for the fabric to get here before I can experiment with it. I’m also toying with how I want it to go on, zipper or elastic (I’m thinking a wide 2″ elastic waistband). I’ll figure it out though, I always do.

I’m Back

We got back from our latest Disney trip last week and there’s lots going on. Here’s a recap of everything that’s been going on and what’s still coming up. I’ll be going more into detail about these things in the coming weeks, this is just an overview right now.

My son (like every other kid in the world) is in love with Frozen. So much so that I changed my mind about going to the Halloween Party as Merida and will instead go as Anna. My son prefers Elsa, but I like Anna better as a character so Anna it is. He’ll get over it. I have about seven weeks to get this costume done and I’m feeling very confident. I’ve ordered custom fabric from Spoonflower, and bought pretty much all the other fabric I’ll need. There will be a post with photos coming up for that. My sewing machine does large scale embroidery and I’ve been working on creating designs. I’m very new at it so it’s not perfect. But I’m happy with what I’ve been able to create so far. I’ve managed to create the embroidery that’s on the front center of her bodice, I still need to do the shoulders and back. But The big design is done and that’s half the battle.

For those who were interested in my Merida outfit it’s been placed on the back burner for now. I do have the fabric and pattern, and I do plan to still make it. Just not in time for this Halloween. So it’ll be a future post/tutorial but I have no dates for that.

At Disney I had a much easier time eating this time around. There’s still work that needs to happen but I was much happier with the process of ordering and talking to employees regarding my diet. There were still disappointments, but overall I think they’ve really stepped up their game. In my last Disney dining post I felt as though they were flat out lying when they were calling themselves Celiac friendly. Now I think it’s fair to say they are. They could certainly do more in regards to offering baked goods. My son is learning young the world isn’t fair as I was forced to drag him away from a bakery case filled with Frozen themed goodies because literally nothing was safe. But they are offering some prepackaged things I think are pretty great.

I got shipping conformation for my latest Yumiko a couple of days ago and it’s due to arrive on Monday. It has a signature requirement and I do have some things going on this week, but obviously plan to pick it up as soon as I can. In fact I hope to wear it on Tuesdays class. I know there are a lot of people who are looking forward to pictures and a review and I promise I’ll get that up as soon as I can. My goal would be by the end of the week. Just cause I’m still getting questions and comments about my Yumiko posts and there just aren’t enough reviews of them out there. I haven’t heard anything about my Eleve leos yet but they had a longer lead time. So hopefully they’ll be here by the end of the month and again, and of course, I’ll try to get photos and my thoughts about them up as soon as possible.

Busy, Busy, Busy

As you may have guessed from the title, I’ve been busy. My BIL just left yesterday after coming to visit us for a week. I saw my MIL twice in that time, and met new (to me) family friends I’ve been hearing about for more than a decade. We also started house hunting again. We did buy a home previously but have been renting since the move to the mainland. Our rental is up the end of the year, so we feel like it’s time. And although I wasn’t looking to fight with my spouse I’ve found house hunting is the best way to go about it. So if you’re looking to shake things up in your relationship hit a few open houses and watch chaos ensue. Your welcome.

I do have some things planned for the blog. Here they are, in no particular order.

*Reviews of new Eleve and Yumiko leotards.
*The sewing of my Merida costume
*How I deal with the move

I can’t say for sure when these will go up. Right now I’m still waiting on the leotards, but the orders have been placed. Two are from Eleve and one is from Yumiko, all are styles I don’t currently own. So you’ll get my thoughts on them and some more photos. I know my Yumiko posts have been very popular so I’ll review them as soon as I can. Promise.

My Merida costume does need to be done before our trip to WDW in September so you’ll probably see that sooner rather than later. I don’t plan to start it until next month, but who knows. I may do that as one big post or break it up, but I’ll be taking photos as I go. It won’t be a proper tutorial, but you’ll get some photos and maybe a bit of inspiration in time to make something yourself for Halloween.

I’ve moved so many times in my life I’ve lost count, but it’s more than a dozen. I still get uber stressed out by the process, but I’m hoping things go smoothly this time. Over the years I’ve found little ways to make the process easier and thanks to the internet I’ve come across even more. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some of them with you. I know some people think moving with an infant or toddler is hard but I don’t see that as being an obstacle. My son’s traveled so much putting him to bed in a strange bed, in a strange room has never been an issue. It’s his normal, so I’ll discuss it with him and show him his new room beforehand. But it would shock me to the core if he had difficulty transitioning. So I’m afraid I probably won’t be able to help those looking for tips to ease the process for kids, just grown ups.

I still haven’t decided how much I’ll share of my new home on here. I know showing photos of every room and even offering a floor plan is something soooo many bloggers do, but that’s not me. No, I don’t want anyone to know just how far my room is from my son’s. What rooms he likes to play in, and where the backyard is. Or what lovely things I may own, or the exact times I’m out of the house. I realize this makes me the odd woman out, but what can I say, I dare to be different. I’ll probably post photos of some spaces. Ever look at Pintrest and wonder who’s cabinet under the kitchen sink really looks that perfect, mine does. And some things deserve to be shared. So if I put together a space I’m particularly proud of I’ll share it. Or show swatches so you can get an idea of my color scheme. But you’ll never get a play by play of the home building process and detailed shots of every room.

So keep an eye out for future posts, there is more to come. It’s just a matter of finding the time to do it all then write about it.

DisneyBounding, A DIY Aurora

I’m headed back to Disney World the end of the month and have decided to take up DisneyBounding. For those of you who are unfamiliar you should check out the official Tumbler page. Now you can just pull together a look from your closet, but if you’re like me then you’re never content to leave anything alone. So I decided to whip up some quick and easy circle skirts in the “right” colors. Here’s some of the fabric I bought,

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As you can see I’m all set up for several princesses. Now I know most costumey tutorials out there will show you how to make a dress, but I’m going to show you skirts and I’ll tell you why. You see that yellow up there, it can be the bottom of Belle’s ball gown, or Snow White’s dress. That blue up on top, well that could be for Belle’s peasant dress, Alice’d dress, or Cinderella’s gown. Separates just give you so much more flexibility. I’m also thinking of branching out into half aprons. Basically I would make a skirt in a common color like pale blue. Then the overlay would just tie on over it. A white apron for Belle/Alice, something with glittery snowflakes for Elsa, pale blue triangles for Aurora, you get the idea. Today we’ll just be making a basic skirt with an overlay attached.

First pick your fabric. I’m starting with an Aurora inspired skirt so I picked the pink. I bought all of my materials at JoAnn Fabrics and the overlay is being made out of their “fancy” tulle. You might not be able to see it super well in the photos but it has this fuchsia metallic sheen to it. It’s not over the top and is only visible in certain lights but it’s very pretty.

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Part of keeping the whole thing super duper simple is adding an elastic waistband and not hemming it. Now tulle won’t unravel, but the taffeta I used underneath will. So I opted to use my serger. If you have one I suggest you dig it out. If you don’t then you’ll have to put on a proper hem. It’s not the end of the world, it’ll just take a little longer. I have no desire to hem something like this so I picked a colored thread for my serger that matched. Underneath the overlay you really can’t tell unless you’re looking closely. JoAnn’s was having a sale, 50% off all thread so I took this as my opportunity to stock up.

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I have like four more colors (hangs head in shame).

Now to make the skirt I simply laid my material out on the floor. I ironed it so I’d know it was perfect on the folds and so I’d have guide marks when it came time to serge the bottom and add the waistband. I suggest you do the same.

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If you look closely you’ll see my marks. I used a Sharpie that was almost the same color as my material. You can use disappearing ink pens but this took me a while and I like a clear line. I used the measuring tape you see in the background to make those lines. I just lined up my 0″ mark to the corner and swung the tape measure around while I followed behind with my other hand using the sharpie (I’m ambidextrous). For the bottom of the skirt my arms weren’t long enough so I just made a series of dots and connected them after.

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Here it is all cut out. To do the overlay I just folded it in quarters again and laid this on top of it. Then I just cut it out using this as a guide. Now keeping the two fabrics together is a pain in the neck while sewing. They slip and slide and tulle tends to stretch. So I hand basted them with a dark thread. I like to sew fast and sitting around fiddling with pins is only going to make me angry and fed up. So hand baste and save yourself a world of trouble. It’s faster, easier, and more precise than pinning.

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Hopefully you can see the thread I used, it is navy. Look how perfect you can get it basting it. It’s very satisfying. Now once you’ve done that pop it on the serger (or your regular machine) and sew the two layers together. Now is also the time to serge the hemline or add your hem. Once that’s done we’re going to add the waist band.

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Measure where you want the skirt to sit on your waist and cut the elastic an inch or so shorter than that measurement. Then sew it as I’ve shown. Now we’re going to pin it to the four corners.

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I just used my Sharpie again to make my marks on the elastic (fold it in half, mark both ends, use those marks to fold in half again and mark those ends- POOF, your four corners). Then I pinned it to the places that had the crease from earlier still ironed in. Now you’re going to want to use a zig zag stitch on your regular sewing machine. You could use your serger if you like but I found I just like the way it comes out better on my regular machine. To sew it, the circle you’ve cut out is going to be big enough to accommodate your hips (so you can get it on) but the elastic is much smaller, so it doesn’t gap at your waist. You’re going to need to stretch the elastic as you sew. Just pinch the fabric by your pins, stretch until the skirt fabric is almost completely taut and hit that pedal! Even though it’s a curved line it will go straight and I’ve never had to stop and adjust. This whole thing took me about an hour and a half, that’s complete with far too many goof off breaks.

On me two yards nets me a knee length skirt (I’m 5’10” with a 37″ inseam). If you’re making this for a small child you can totally get tea length. If you’re an adult who would like a longer skirt it’s easy. Just get twice as much yardage and sew it together in the middle to make one gigantic piece of fabric. Then just go about constructing the skirt the same way. It’ll be twice as long and also much fuller! This really couldn’t be easier!

Sorry if this was a bit confusing. I’m best at doing, not teaching. This blog is more of a record for myself and if I can help others out it’s a bonus. If this was really too confusing for you here’s a link to the site I used. Just click on the (incredibly helpful) measurement chart and it’ll take you there.

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Here’s my finished look!

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It’s simple, really comfortable, and pretty cute. I probably won’t wear this combo but it gives you an idea of what DisneyBounding is if you didn’t click the link above. It’s creating an outfit that’s inspired by Disney characters. So if you’ve ever seen someone in the parks in regular clothes and though, “Hmmm, she looks just like (insert character here)” they’re probably DisneyBounding. And now I’ll be joining in on the fun!

I did make one other skirt with four layers of a different tulle. Can you guess who this look represents? ;)

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Tightly Wound Would Be An Understatement

I don’t really have time for more than a quick post tonight. I’d much rather be sleeping but I can’t. My calves are still killing me from ballet class last Tuesday. And instead of stretching I opted to play. I had lots of fun visiting with friends and then family, and spent much of today vegging out. I know better, I’ve always known better. But do I get off my butt? No. Now I’m dealing with a huge knots in my right calf and a slightly smaller ones in the left. If I don’t do something soon, they’ll start to spasm. From there it’s just a nightmare trying to get them to stop and relaxing the muscles becomes impossible for some reason. Fortunately my latest Amazon order came in!

I didn’t have a yoga mat here so I went ahead and bought a new one, as well as a matching storage bag, a yoga strap, and a massage stick. I bought this super pretty yoga mat from Amazon, it’s the Radiance pattern.

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The photos do not do this mat justice. The color contrast is so much more pronounced in person and it really is lovely. I had previously purchased the Neo Baroque mat in teal and everyone at my last studio was in love with it. Prior to that purchase I had no idea mats came with prints. They’re so pretty now, they actually make you want to exercise just so you can look at them. I also bought a yoga strap since my local Target only had boring old beige. Amazon had a purple one, also by Gaiam for less than half of what Target wanted. Can’t ask for more than that!

One of the things I’m most excited about is The Stick.

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I got the 17.5″ one and I think it’s the perfect size for pretty much everything. I can do my back (one side at a time), my shoulders, thighs, and most importantly my calves with just that size. Target sells similar products for about $10 less but I’ve heard good things about this product and nothing about the Target brand. I can say though I see why people say nice things about this. It’s made of a straight plastic core with wobbly plastic beads and the Target ones seem to have stationary beads. I feel like the movement allows them to conform to the shape of my body better than just some rigid stick. And by them having a bit of room to move I know they’ll glide easily as I roll it around. I really can’t say enough good things about it. Also the core seems to have just a bit of give which is great if you’re like me and are likely to apply too much pressure. It’s lightweight enough I may consider packing it for trips to Disney or anywhere I think I may do a lot of walking, or just spring for the smaller 14″ one. My calves tend to get super tight and I’m always stretching my legs and feet. When I don’t (like after long plane rides) I tend to suffer spasms, sometimes minor sometimes not. So a tool like this would be invaluable on the road. I so wish I owned one of these years ago. I know my son does too, he keeps stealing it. :)

There were a few other little things I picked up but they’re not worth getting into right now, I’ll save them for a later date. Right now I need to try and get in a bit more stretching so I can get some sleep. Hopefully when I get out of bed tomorrow I won’t have a repeat of today where I felt like my heels couldn’t touch the floor, ugh…

Sewing A Ballet Leotard

I did it, I’ve sewn my first leotard! It went really well, and I’m a bit surprised. I’d never worked with stretch fabrics before, let alone something as crazy as spandex. But it was easier than I thought it would be and I can’t wait to make my next one. I hope to try out a few different styles, the first one was pretty basic. I want to just start by saying this isn’t a very detailed tutorial. I just didn’t take enough photos for that and I’m not always great about remembering all the details of my sewing projects as I tend to make things up as I go. But I hope this can help people out since there’s really nothing about making your own leotards online. Especially ballet ones. There are some skating costume and gymnastics outfit tutorials, but for ballet I’ve only found one. I hope to make more of these and I’ll try to take photos of the process with those if I make a different style. Just to sort of ensure something’s out there for people who want to sew their own. The first thing I did was make a paper pattern. To do that I needed to prepare my paper. I could buy paper, but why when Amazon is happy to send me that stuff for free. :)

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This is the packing paper Amazon sends in their boxes. It’s a great size, thin enough to pin through easily, and of course you can draw on it. Also I don’t worry about messing up and “wasting it” because it was free and they’re only too happy to send me more, lol. It does usually show up pretty wrinkled but I just iron it on medium high heat, no steam. You may still see a few wrinkles in the photos but I promise you this was 100% flat.

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After I ironed it I laid my best fitting leotard onto it and traced the shape.

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The front part gave me a bit more trouble cause I couldn’t fold the rear fabric out of the way to do the crotch. So I laid a scrap piece over the front and used my finger nail to press a line into it around the edge of the crotch. Then I marked the beginning and the end, cut it out, and laid it over the pattern I was making and traced the line. Presto! Perfect pattern lines without the hassle.

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After I cut out my pattern I cut two front pieces (it was a smidge sheer), and a back piece. I used a rotary cutter to cut out my fabric, I would never have tried this with regular scissors the fabric was too slippery for that and the likely hood of error was too high. After I had my pieces I hand basted the two front pieces together and then basted the front to the back. At this point I tried it on and it fit well. I had already made a practice one with plain jersey so I suspected it would fit, but this fabric didn’t have as much stretch and when you double it up it can make it stretch even less though this particular fabric seemed to still function fine.

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I decided to use FOE on the leg openings. I liked it and it looked really pretty, but I felt like there was too much room in the rear so instead of grabbing my seam ripper, pulling it off, and cutting down the openings I decided to just fold it over.

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As you can see (seam on the left) it looks fine and fits much better. Though I’ll be making adjustments to the leg openings in the future it fits okay. I just forgot that my butt is flat and my leotard had a bit too much room in that area before I made the pattern. It’s okay though, those adjustments are easy.

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Here it is, the finished garment. The crotch looks weird because I didn’t bother to move my dress form’s pole, it looks better on me. ;) I used FOE for the straps and I like the way it looks.

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As you can see I used the FOE to bind the back as well. I could have just hemmed it but I thought this looked better.  It was also much easier.

All in all there’s a lot I’d change in the future. I dislike the top of the front it didn’t come out well, and I don’t like how the straps are attached. But for my first attempt at something I’ve never made, with a fabric I’ve never used, I think it’s pretty good to get a wearable garment. I wore it to class today and it was very comfortable, I felt like I was wearing nothing. I’m very happy with that, I want to be focused on my dancing not some rubbing seam or loose strap.

I did order a bunch of swatches from Spandex World and despite a small hiccup I hope to have them by next week. The next one I make will be a solid color with contrasting straps. The fabric I got for this came from JoAnnes and I really like it. It’s “Performance Spandex” and wasn’t labeled as being for dance but it works very well for it. It was very fast drying and comfortable, but it was also thinner. I would use it again.