This is a way overdue post – I sewed this dress/costume for Clare some months ago, for a Girl Guides event. The theme was Disney; Clare wanted to go as Rapunzel – specifically, the “version” from Tangled. For reference:
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with sewing costumes. They are often a great deal of work, and often a fair bit of expense in fabric cost. But once the girls are all dressed up in their costumes and grinning from ear to ear, it is SO satisfying! The costumes I’ve made in the past have all been worn until they’ve no longer fitted (and any that I make for Clare are then worn by Stella) so when I weigh it up they are actually a worthwhile garment to make. There may be some Cosplay sewing in my future, I suspect.
So, on to costume details. We figured out the key elements of the costume, and looked for a pattern that contained most of them. McCalls 6420 included patterns for both Women and Girls, but nothing for tween/teen sizes. However, it did provided us with a basis to adapt.
I took a look at the smallest Women’s pattern pieces, and knew that there was absolutely no way that the bodice was going to work on Clare. I could adapt the sleeve and skirt patterns without much hassle, but not that bodice. Over to Lekala I went!
Lekala 5017 provided the basis for the dress bodice and vest. We’d decided to sew the dress all in one with the skirt and sleeves attached to it, then the corset-style vest over it. I figured that I could use the same pattern pieces for both. I altered the neckline of the Lekala pattern pieces and redrew the hemline into a point to match the illustrations and the skirt piece on the pattern pieces, then cut into some quilting cotton to sew the vest.
Lekala is really wonderful for the non-standard shape. I could tell straight away that this was going to work without too much drama and alteration.
The front of the vest is quilting cotton, and the back is cotton drill. The vest is fully lined – I used the same quilting cotton as the central skirt panel. This costume was constructed in bits and pieces over a couple of weeks. The sleeves were fun to make. I used the McCalls pattern pieces as a base.
The purple stripes on the upper puffed sleeve are strips of ribbon sewn to the base fabric. The lower sleeve is pale pink stretch mesh. You can see how much I had to pin out of it to make it fitted to Clare’s arm. I completed both sleeves, ready to be attached to the bodice, then laid them aside and moved on to the skirt.
I used poly satin from Spotlight for the skirt. There is a hell of a lot of fabric in that skirt, and consequently a hell of a lot of gathering! The centre front skirt panel is quilting cotton. The stretch lace trim used throughout came from Darn Cheap Fabrics.
The bodice fabric was also a poly satin from Spotlight, but was definitely much nicer quality (and was also more expensive) than the fabric used for the skirt. I used the same pattern pieces for the bodice as for the vest, except I placed the centre front line on the fold. It is self-lined, with a zip down the back. I have to say that sewing the zip into place in poly satin was NO fun at all. It is covered by the vest when she has the entire costume on, but I still wanted it to be fairly well inserted!
Then it was back to the vest! Time to learn how to insert eyelets. After a few experiments with the setting tool that came with the pack of eyelets (which involved a hammer and breadboard) I suddenly remembered that somewhere in my stash of handy sewing equipment I owned a setting tool that squeezed the parts together – it’s the one with the orange handles in the photo below. The other very handy tool was the one that cut the holes for the eyelets – the one with the red handles. I think that I bought it at Bunnings a while ago.
The eyelets set in much more nicely than I’d anticipated – the practice ones on scrap fabric were definitely worthwhile. We found some purple ribbon to lace through them, and then the costume was almost complete!
That laces up quite nicely! Clare had ordered cheap hair extensions from eBay, and attached them to the bottom of her plait to add extra length. The flowers were a couple of bunches from a $2 shop that we cut up and stuck into her hair at intervals.
So, there you go! I present to you all, Rapunzel!
She was VERY pleased with her finished costume, and I think she makes a highly convincing Rapunzel! It looks as though this costume is going to get another outing again at Guides soon in a Halloween-related activity. Stella’s pretty pleased with it in anticipation as well. I’m now starting to wonder what might be a fun costume to sew next…