Make, Jane, make!: DIY Halloween: Simple and Quick Alice in Wonderland


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Friday, November 7, 2014

DIY Halloween: Simple and Quick Alice in Wonderland

Note to self: Never ever make promises that have dates or times attached to them. Like saying I'll be somewhere with my four chronologically-indifferent children at a specific time. Or saying that this post would be done a week ago. Or promising myself to start Halloween sewing earlier. The end result is always that I'm rushing up until the last minute and sometimes miss my deadline completely.

This year, I started out with a bang and high hopes. The fabric was bought and washed at the beginning of October, making an early Halloween costume debut entirely possible. But as my young children slowly become older children, I'm starting to get a taste of how chaotic scheduling and managing children's calendars can be. So between birthday parties and Chinese school and weddings and Thanksgiving, the costumes were just barely done in time for our annual photo shoot with friends.

My daughter's Alice costume is based on the Disney's Alice character, as she is definitely the most recognized Alice. Disney's Alice has a light blue dress with a Peter Pan collar and the cutest puffed short sleeves. Of course, in our northern climate zone (it actually snowed this year!) short puffed sleeves and exposed arms are not an option. Instead, I opted for a quick sew peasant dress with a stretchy neckline and wide, long sleeves that could be worn with or without a winter coat underneath. To make my life easier and minimize the amount of measuring and fitting, I modified Marilyn's Slim Fit Peasant Dress and Top to have longer, billowy sleeves. The added advantage of the peasant dress design is that it uses leftover fabric very efficiently, so that this entire outfit was made with fabric that I already had on hand.

The pinafore was cobbled together from some scrap pieces of fabric and trim.  I made the ruffled the bib to add some interest to what would have been an very boring outfit otherwise. Here's a quick picture tutorial for the pinafore. I'll include my measurements in case you don't have the child you're sewing for available. For reference, my daughter just turned three but is probably closer to a two year old in terms of sizing.

I measured my little gal's chest and decided that I want the finished bib to be approximately 5" by 5". I cut the fabric to be 6" by 9" and then sewed four basting stitchings (longest stitch length possible) down the length of the fabric.

Then I pulled on the basting stitches until the bib was ruffled to about the right size and finished the top and side edges with some bias tape.

Next I cut a large apron about 13" wide and 10" long. I would have liked this to be wider but as this is scrap fabric, that is all I had. (In fact in later pictures, you can also see how my pinafore fabric is actually off-white and the trim is bright white. Is it fairly obvious that I am not a perfectionist in any sense of the word?)

I sewed a narrow hem around the bottom and side edges of the apron by folding the edges up twice and then ironing and sewing. Then I narrowed the top of the apron by sewing a basting stitch across the top and gathering until it was about 8" wide.

Next was a long sash to connect the bib to the apron and to tie behind the back. This sash was a 4" wide and as long as my fabric scraps would allow, I stitched it into a tube, turned it out and ironed.

Almost done... attach the sash to the front of the bib by laying the sash on top of the bib as seen above, lining up the middle of the bib with the mid-point of the sash as best as you can.

Flip the sash down and position the apron underneath the sash (as seen above), again centreing  as best as you can. Sew it in place.

For the straps that go over the arms, I was lucky enough to have some leftover lace trim that I cut two 16" straps from.

I hemmed the short, cut edges and then attached the sash to the bib first. Then I had my daughter try it all on so that I could get the placing and length for the back of the pinafore.

If you're using my measurements, the strap ended up being about 15" long and the attachment point of the back portion (marked with a purple fabric marker on the picture below) was 6.5" from the edge of the bib.

Voila! Super fast pinafore, made on the cheap. Leave a comment if more details are needed. Thanks for reading.

Here is the pinafore again, layered with the dress and some random tights.

And here's my little Alice doing her best giant Alice impression.

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