Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TUTORIAL: Princess Peach

The countdown to Halloween is on. I received a desperate email from a sweet reader begging me to please hurry up and at least post pictures! I love my readers - your wish is my command.

Behold Princess Peach, the beloved damsel in distress in the Super Mario Bros video game series.

I used a dress pattern to make Princess Peach's dress, altering here and there to make the dress look how it should. I'll do a quick run-down of the changes I made, then list the accessories I found to complete the look. *I also owe a big, huge thank you to my friend Carolyn for helping me sew the dress. We knocked it out in two mornings, even with kids running in and out.*

Supplies for Princess Peach's Dress
  • Light pink fabric (bodice and most of the skirt).
  • Dark pink fabric (band/trim at bottom of skirt, puffs on side of skirt, sleeves).
  • Dress pattern. I used Simplicity #2827.
  • Turquoise pendant (see notes below).
  • Crinoline/poofy slip (optional).
  • thread, zipper, hook and eye (per notions listed on pattern)

I used light pink satin for the bodice and majority of the skirt. I used sparkly, dark pink costume satin for the sleeves, skirt puffs, and band of color at the bottom of the skirt.

As for following Simplicity pattern #2827, I followed the instructions for View C (the yellow dress on the package). Here's what I changed.

  • I did not use any trim along the bodice or sleeves.
  • I made the sleeves using dark pink fabric. I know this is a change from the cartoon version of Princess Peach, but I thought it looked best. The cartoon version of the dress is high-necked with a dark pink ruffle trim. I didn't want a high neckline - too pioneer dress for me - so to pull in more of the dark pink color I changed the color of the sleeves.
  • I added the skirt puffs pictured in View A. If you read over the instructions for making View A, you'll see that you attach the puffs to the bodice just before attaching the bodice to the skirt.
  • I added a dark pink band to the bottom of the skirt. If you look at the pattern, you'll see that the dresses come in three lengths: above the knee, mid-calf, and floor-length. All three dresses use the same skirt pattern piece, which has three lines marked on it, one for each skirt length. I cut the light pink fabric following the line for the mid-calf length. This left a band of the pattern that's the difference between the mid-calf line and the floor-length line. I used that band as the pattern piece to cut my dark pink fabric. I sewed the dark pink fabric onto the bottom of the light pink fabric, then followed the instructions as if they were one piece of fabric.

For Peach's turquoise pendant, I used this sparkly medallion. I found it at JoAnn's, packaged as a headband accessory. The back of the pendant is felt, so it was super easy to sew on by hand - just like a patch.

To add fullness to the skirt, I dusted off the crinoline I wore with my wedding dress. There's part of me that's super proud it still fit after almost 10 years. :) Nevermind that the waist is adjustable and velcro.

I found a tiara with stones the perfect shade of pink at Target. Look in the little girls' dress up aisle.

To wear under the tiara, I bought this Princess Peach wig. Though these blond locks looks fab in the photo, the real deal isn't nearly as glam. Does any wig ever come styled like it shows in the picture? My mother-in-law is coming to visit for Halloween and I've already tasked her with helping me style my unruly, cheap mane. If that doesn't work, I'll simply forgo the wig.

Last but not least, what cartoon princess is complete without opera-length gloves? I bought this pair off of Amazon.com and they fit beautifully.

Alrighty, if you use any of these tips for making your own Princess Peach costume, please leave a comment and let me know! I'd love to visit your blog and see your cute Halloween pics.

In case you're interested, please visit my other Mario Bros costume tutorials (which include more sewing instruction that this one). Please click here to see my Goomba tutorial and here to see my Toad tutorial. I still have to embellish the hats for my Mario and Luigi costumes and will be sure to post pictures. Take care and happy Halloween!

ETA: For all the Mario- and Zelda-lovin' children of the 80's who have now grown up, my friend found this sketch of Princess Peach and Princess Zelda. Hmmm...would you rather be stuck in a relationship or in a castle? (don't answer that)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

TUTORIAL: Toad from Mario Bros

Does every momma look at her child and think he's even cuter than the original? :) My entire family is dressing a characters from the Super Mario Brothers games this Halloween and this lucky three-year-old gets to be Toad.

Alrighty, here's how to make your own super cute Toad. First let's start with the easy stuff - vest and pants.

Supplies for Toad's Vest

  • Blue fabric

  • Gold trim.

  • Vest pattern. I used Simplicity #9854.

  • thread, sewing machine, fray check (or similar)

  • (optional) paper, tape, ruler - in case you need to lengthen the pattern

  • I'm all for originality, but when you can buy a pattern for $0.99, why reinvent the wheel? I used Simplicity #9854. Don't be fooled by the girls pictured on the package - when it comes to children's sizes, a vest is a vest. All of the vests on the "boy" patterns looked like the type men wear with three-piece suits, which is not the cut that matches Toad's vest.

    TIP: Children's sewing patterns tend to be cut short and wide. My son is tall and thin, so I used scrap paper to lengthen the pattern by 4". There's a line marked on the pattern just for this purpose - to lengthen or shorten as necessary.

    I made the vest following instructions for View F, minus the side slits. Rather than lining the vest in a contrasting fabric, I used the same blue satin.

    Time to prep the trim. I used Fray Block on the ends, then tucked them under before stitching.

    Sew on the trim. I chose this trim because I really liked the pattern, but it had zero give going around curves. Rather than fight with it going around the back of the neckline, I stopped the trim at each shoulder seam.

    Ta-da! What a royal looking vest!

    If you're lucky enough to find white pants in October, bless you! I couldn't even find sweatpants, so I made my own pants for Toad.

    Supplies for Toad's Pants
    • White fleece (or other white fabric).
    • Pant pattern. I used Simplicity #9854, the same pattern that I used for the vest.
    • thread, sewing machine, ruler to measure hem
    • (optional) paper, tape - in case you need to lengthen pattern

    I bought Simplicity #9854 for the vest pattern, but after weeks of unsuccessfully searching for white pants and finding fleece on sale for $3/yd, I realized how lucky I was that the pattern also included instructions for pair of pull-on pants. Score! (Again, ignore the girls in the picture. The cut of the pants is gender-neutral.)

    Again, I lengthened the pattern by 4", though I ended up cutting off so much of the hem that it probably wasn't necessary.

    I followed the instructions on the pattern to make this warm, fuzzy beauties. Fleece in October in Oregon is a good thing. :)

    Moving on to Toad's signature topper - the mushroom hat. I owe a big, huge thank you to Kris at Summer at Grandma's House for helping me understand the structure of the hat.

    Supplies for Toad's Mushroom Hat

  • White hat.

  • White fabric.

  • Red fabric, preferable one that doesn't fray.

  • Circle template. I used a round take-out container.

  • Batting/stuffing.

  • Narrow elastic for chin strap.

  • thread, sewing machine, scissors, fabric marker/chalk

  • I found a white sailor's hat in the costume section at Target. Lincoln wanted sparkly red fabric for the hat. Disco Toad?

    1. Cut white fabric into a circle.

    A 30" circle fit my three-year-old perfectly. For an adult, I'd probably try 36"-40".

    2. Fold circle into sections for darts.

    Fold in half...

    ...and in half...

    ...half again...

    ...one last time.

    If you can finger press creases, great. I used my iron to make creases while my fabric was still folded. When you unfold your circle, you should see sections like this.

    3. Sew darts.

    I intended to make a dart ever other section, but goofed along the way. It's okay - I was still able to make it work.

    To make your darts, measure along a crease approximately 6" from the outer edge. Make a dot using fabric chalk. Draw a line from the dot to the next crease on the edge of your fabric. (see photos above and below)

    If you're holding one crease up in the air, the creases to the immediate right and left are touching. Pin those together.

    Sew a straight stitch from the dot to the edge of the fabric, following the line you drew.

    Cut away the fabric on the side of the line where the fabric formed a fold.

    Repeat making darts all the way around the circle.

    When you turn your fabric right side out, it should have the same shape as the head of a jelly fish. That's what you see, too, right? ;-)

    4. Attach white fabric to hat.

    Gather the edge of your jelly fish - er, fabric.

    Pin to hat. TIP: Be sure to leave a hole for stuffing.

    In hindsight, had I been able to find a beanie or other hat without a brim, I would have been able to finish the edges more neatly. However, the sailor hat worked. Plus it's a Halloween costume - I don't really mind unfinished edges that the rest of the world will probably never see.

    Sew fabric to hat.

    Stuff with batting.

    My first attempt at making the Toad hat was waaay too big for my little three-year-old. I let Lincoln stuff the too-big-hat while I worked on the smaller version along side him.

    Sew the hole closed.

    5. Embellish hat with red circles.

    Cut five red circles.

    Pin to hat and sew by hand one at a time.

    6. Add chin strap, if necessary.

    You won't see the chin strap in the photo below. The photo shoot proved that my wiggly, squiggly three-year-old likes to wobble his head way too much for the hat to stay on by itself. I added the elastic later, then my camera battery died. But trust me - the chin strap works great!

    Give your Toad a hug and have a happy Halloween!

    Thanks for visiting my tutorial! If you make a costume based off of these instructions, please leave a comment and let me know. I'd love to see your good work!

    If you'd like to see my other Mario Bros costumes, please click here for my Goomba tutorial and here for Princess Peach. Happy Halloween!

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Sneak Peek: Toad

    I have too many baskets of neglected laundry to tend to before I post the tutorial, but hopefully I can pull it together within the next few days.

    For the grandparents: this is Toad from the Mario Brothers game. Think toadstool (the hat)?

    In other Mario Bros costume news...can you believe I'm getting almost 200 hits a day on my Goomba costume tutorial!? Crazy. And if you live in Boston and are handy with a sewing machine, there's even someone willing to pay you to make a version of my costume. Check it.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Wish Upon a Star

    Ahhh...back to paper crafts. At least for today. I'll have more Halloween costumes to post soon enough. Thanks for hanging in there with me in the meantime. :)

    Paper: (Alphabet Soup Boy "Ziggy") My Mind's Eye.
    Chipboard Letters: (Rouge Lullaby Glitter Letter Thickers) American Crafts, (Cotton Weathered Wood) Pink Paislee.
    Ribbon: (Real Red, Rope Cord) Stampin' Up!.
    Other: sewing machine, ivory thread, wood star, red paint.

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    TUTORIAL: Goomba - Part 4

    Welcome to the fourth and final part of my Goomba costume tutorial. It's like the never-ending journey, eh? Thanks for hanging in there! If you' d like to see the rest of the tutorial, please click the links for Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

    The good news is that you've already made all the pieces you'll need for this part of the tutorial. All we have to do is put the pieces together.

    It may help to take a look at the structure of the costume so we know where we're headed.

    Here's a picture of the finished costume. Starting with the back half (from left to right in the photo): Goomba body (plain) -> foam insert -> Goomba body (with strips of loop Velcro). The front half of the cosume: Goomba body (with straps sewn onto it) -> foam insert -> Goomba body (face).

    1. Sew the back half of the costume.

    Lay the Goomba body with strips of loop Velcro sewn onto it such that the Velcro strips face up. Lay the plain Goomba body on top, right side facing down. TIP: The Velcro strips should be in the middle of the felt "sandwich."

    Pin the edges, leaving ample room to turn and insert the foam body shape. If you click on the photo, you can see where I used double pins to mark where I stopped and started sewing. TIP: Leave your opening at the bottom. It's easier to close a straight seam than a curved seam.

    Sew the body pieces together. Remember to leave a hole for turning.

    Turn your newly-sewn Goomba right side out. (Sorry about the lack of photos here. I was so anxious to be done that I forgot about taking pictures.) Insert foam shape. You can either hand-sew the opening closed using a slipstitch, or you can do things the lazy/impatient way like I did. Did I mention I was ready to be done? I sewed the hole closed using my sewing machine. I used my fingers to push the foam out of the way and stitched really close to the edge of the fabric. TIP: Regardless of whether you sew the hole closed by hand or using a machine, pin the hole closed before sewing. This way you're not fighting with the foam insert while you work.

    The back half of your Goomba costume should be done!

    2. Sew the front half of the costume.
    Repeat the same steps as for the back half of the costume.
    NOTE: Avoid stitching over the straps or the eyebrows. Fold the straps down onto the body of the Goomba before pinning your pieces together.

    Also fold in the eyebrows. Again, I forgot to take a picture. So your Goomba's eyebrows should NOT be sticking out like mine are in the photo above. Bend the eyebrows inward so that they aren't hanging off the edge. You'll reshape them later.

    When you pin your body pieces together, you should have a fabric "sandwich" with the Goomba's facial features and the straps in the middle (right sides facing each other).

    Follow the same instructions for finishing the back half of the costume: pin, sew, leave hole for turning, turn, insert foam, close hole.

    Bend the eyebrows back into position and you're done! Toss on a brown hat, tan pans, brown shoes, and voila! That's one good lookin' Goomba.