April 12, 2017

Elsa Play Dress

Elsa has been Abby's favorite since we watched the movie when she was probably 2.5. I knew without a doubt I would be attempting an Elsa play dress. 

The details I knew were important included snowflakes, sparkles, and some kind of cape; plus a waistband if I could make it work. 

Base dress from Primary.com with matching shorts.

 

The hardest part of this dress was deciding how to place the snowflakes and jewels. It's very symmetrical which I usually don't like in design but it works here. The best part is I could keep playing with them until they looked right before ironing them down.

 

Here is the happiest accident! I sewed a finished edge around 3 sides of this stretchy, sparkly fabric to make the cape. Then I lined up the bottom edges, gathered the top edge and pinned it just below the buttons in the back.

I sewed a straight line across and planned to cut off the extra fabric and add some detail with some silver iron-on tape to hide the shoddy job (hehe) but when I picked it up, I absolutely loved how the top part of the cape fell down and looked so cute!

 

Not sure why I felt the need to include a close up of that edge- probably because it looks semi-decent and I don't think I've ever done one of those before. Clear thread for the win yet again!

 

After letting this one sit awhile I decided to add the waistband. I cut a tessellation design out of that iron on fabric tape and ironed it on. So simple- the hardest part was cutting it out!

In case you aren't familiar a tessellation is where the shapes in a pattern meet up perfectly. I created a shape that when I cut it out of one strip I was able to line up the edges with the flat edge at the bottom and they matched up.

I remember doing a tessellation project in probably 3rd grade when I went to another school for the day for GT; and we did a tessellation project in Design 1 in college. I'm a big fan! :)

 

I ironed that tessellation strip down (it goes all around the waist, even under the cape), and the girl was excited to try it on.

 

She has worn this since we've been home also. I've been able to machine wash the dresses (I flipped them inside out to be safe) and they came out great! 

This one needs a little touching up with the fabric glue- the snowflakes are coming lose as well as the waistband. I guess sometimes there's not enough glue on the iron on transfer stuff.

I've gotten compliments on these dresses and as I was making them I wondered if I would enjoy making them and selling them on Etsy or something but I decided that I wouldn't. 

It's like painting a room- generally I love to paint, but if I had to do it for a paying customer, I think my nerves would get the better of me and I wouldn't charge enough for the work it took. The time and materials for these dresses was about $40-50 each. I don't know if someone would be willing to pay $75 for one but that's what I would have to charge to make it feel like it was worth the effort. 

I really did enjoy creating something new for my girl though! 
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April 11, 2017

Belle Play Dress

I was most excited to try out this Belle play dress because she's my favorite (of course!) and I knew it would be a challenge. I'm a mediocre seamstress- the biggest projects I've ever done were a few formal dresses in high school when I was really into fashion design and planned to study it in college. 

They were simple, I picked a pattern and fabric and followed the instructions. Nothing was super wild although I did make a skirt with a detachable train, added jewels to a Gap tank top, and made a purse to match my outfit and my date's shirt and tie. In the picture at the dance they made him hold my purse. hahaha!!

When I think of Belle, the two things that stand out are red roses and that big, flouncy skirt swirling around the ballroom. 

The base dress came from Primary.com again (with matching shorts again!) and this one turned out to be my favorite... and I think Abby's also since it was the first one she wanted to wear on our trip, which coincided with the day the live action version of the movie opened in theatres. She's also worn it since we've been home. 

 

I kept the top simple- I started with just 3 rosettes but decided it needed 5 after letting it sit for awhile. These were just glued on and pinned in place until they dried. Simple!


Please notice the run in the fabric in the middle of this photo! It just shows how lots of mistakes are hidden in this dress and I'm not pretending to be an amazing seamstress!

To make the flouncy skirt, I folded the yellow fabric and sewed one long end, then flipped it right side out (it was one long tube). I didn't even iron it at this stage.

Then I gathered it up and pinned it to the edges of the skirt, let it out and re-pinned as necessary to make it look right, and then I just sewed a straight light across the bunch of fabric to attach it to the skirt. Over and over until all of the flounces were attached.

They looked a little weird so I used the trusty fabric glue to gather and pin and glue the flounces down and added the yellow flowers to make it look intentional.

 

Without those flowers the fabric just hung there instead of making little pockets like you see here.

 

She was definitely excited about this one!
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April 10, 2017

Rapunzel Play Dress

This play dress was fun to put together. I am not a seamstress but I found the miracle of clear thread that helped me stitch some of the details together. I purchased the dress from Primary.com (with matching shorts to go underneath). The quality is great, nice thick fabric. 

I found a spool of pink/purple ribbon on clearance and it was perfect. A roll of pink ribbon, white lace, and gold cord and I was all set!

The defining characteristics of Rapunzel's dress are the sleeves, the gold lace up bodice, and the white lace collar. I think with those 3 features, it's pretty obvious who the outfit is emulating. 

 

I started with the gold lacing and decided to just use fabric glue. It was so simple. I started at the bottom and just free-handed it, gluing and pinning as I went until it was all stuck down. Let it dry a couple of hours, and pulled the pins out. Tied a bow at the top and I was done!

 

While that dried, I stitched the side pieces and sleeve pieces, then glued the pink ribbon on top of the sleeve pieces. The white lace was quickly stitched onto the neckline. And that's it!

 

Abigail was so excited to try it on and pose. Although she did complain that the lace neck was itchy, so I pulled it off before our trip. When we got to our last day at Disney World, this was the last dress but when she put it on, the sleeves were itchy so she didn't wear it. I tucked the ends of the ribbon under the edge of the sleeve and that's the part that was bothering her. I'm planning to fix it and I'll post an update if I can get it right. 

This dress was my least favorite but it was Bean's very favorite!
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April 7, 2017

Abigial's Princess Ballerina Birthday

This year Abigail had much more input into the planning of her party which was nice. My goal again was to keep it simple and fun and to stick to our rule about number of guests and mostly homemade. I hardly took any pictures, but at least I captured the most important moments.

When her 4 friends each arrived, we had some ballerina tutus and crowns set out that they could put on if they wanted. Then they basically all went outside and sat at the Play Doh table most of the time. They were all having fun, enjoying all the colors and tools, and didn't want to do anything else.

  

The friends she invited this year were Addie, Kristin (not pictured), Savannah, and Makinley. All girls from her class, although Makinley is a year older and wasn't in her class at the time, but we had seen her recently.

One of her friend's big sister is a Cougerette and offered to teach a little dance routine to the girls but they just wanted to freestyle to whatever song was on. 

 

As soon as the music was off, they all went back out to play with the play doh.

 

This is the best and only picture of the snacks- again, all easy stuff. I loved that cake, it was so easy and fun just sticking things onto it. We always get two or three types of icecream from our local icecream place, Henry's for the party. I love that touch- we love Henry's and shopping local.

 

Family photo! She insisted on putting her Elsa dress back on. This is a dress we hid for about a month until she kept asking for it and we pulled it back out again. I never thought I would get annoyed at seeing an outfit on my kid- it's a really pretty dress! But when it's the same thing every other day....."I love you"- speaking of my helper, she asked that I type that right there.

  

After her friends left, we had present time with the grandparents!

There is a feeling of pressure around parties these days that I'm digging in my heels against. I love planning parties and coming up with all of the details, but I don't want it to feel stressful or not worth it. 

We've been to parties that felt so overwhelming with the activities, and going from one thing to the next every 15 minutes, or the ones at that damn Chuck E Cheese. I need a nap just thinking about it! I understand the urge to have the 'best' of everything, and thinking that kids just want all the flashy stuff, and why not, because it's a party... I felt like this party might have been a little too plain when I compared it to other's.

However, I don't want to spend a ton of money on a party when the biggest lesson I learned from this party was that kids are happy just playing with Play Doh and dancing! 

Simple won for the second year in a row!
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April 6, 2017

Abigail's Jungle Birthday

For Abigial's 2nd Birthday Party, we wanted to start a new precedent. The First Birthday Party was so intense, and I knew I didn't want to continue hosting extremely large parties every year and make my kid think that was normal. 

We set one big rule: only Abby's friends, and only the number of kids (+1) for that year's age. 

No extended family, none of our friends' kids, with a goal of mostly homemade. I remember my birthday parties were usually low key, with just my cousins and a homemade cake. That's the feeling we are after.


She was pretty into animals around this time, and we had these sticker pages where you make faces on animals. She made them all herself and they were simultaneously creepy and hilarious, so we decided to make them the first thing when you walked in the door!

The one thing Abby insisted on was that you must have hats for a party, so we had a few different kinds of jungle hats for guests to wear.


We put out a jungle lego set in the living room for everyone to play with, and the kitchen was set up for everyone to play with, as well as extra sticker pages to make more creepy animal faces.




It's not a party without balloons, so we had those too.



I love this homemade cake. It was so easy and simple!


Chips and sandwiches, easiest party food ever.



I'm glad we started the tradition of taking a family photo with the cake, it's a perfect goal each year. She LOVED the hats.




I forgot to mention it was a zebra cake. Just alternating spoonfuls of chocolate and vanilla cake and it bakes up like this. Not any more difficult than a regular cake. We did 3 tiers because it's more fun than 2.



The friends we saw most often that year were Neil (of course) and Pearson and Green. She specifially requested Green but of course he brought his big sister!



The rule of 2 kids for 2 years, plus one to grow on worked out great. The friend to grow on were some kids we met at the library but have since lost touch with. The mom's name was Alison and she and her husband were from England.


This is awkward, but I think I was trying to capture the essence of how simple it was.



What can we say, she has very generous grandparents. Even with the extremely limited guest list, she had more than she ever needed by way of gifts! Our big gift was a wagon for walks to the park. And now I will go weep over how cute she and Neil were together and how much I miss them.








An amazing thing I did that year that I wish I had done the first year and remembered about the third year was take photos of Abby with each set of grandparents! Now that I have this in mind, I'll be able to start it up again because these are some of my favorite photos from the whole day.


I mean, this is just so cute. She will love seeing Pop and Gigi gazing at her when she's older!


Can't miss a photo of her and that darn monkey paci, the whole reason she had "paci teeth" back then.



Stop it, I'm not breathing anymore.




That progression is so funny, she's always been a ham!


And she begged Grandmommy to sit on the wagon with her.

When it came time to take a photo with Mom and Dad, she was done.


The next morning was her actual Birthday, and it was also Easter Sunday! We had a sweet time hunting for Easter eggs in our house before breakfast.







And then we had birthday cake pancakes for breakfast amid the remaining birthday party balloons.






What sweet face.
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