In mid-September J and I started talking about Halloween and what she might want to dress up as. Obviously her immediate response was “Elsa!!”. I’ll let her do the princess thing, sure, but let’s try to be at least a little creative for Halloween! I got out of it by telling her that she can be Elsa if she wants to, but really Halloween is a great reason to get a NEW costume and not just wear something she wears all the time anyway. She was thrilled with that concept and I was happy to not have one of a million Elsas on the street.
Since she already owns most of the Disney Princess dresses this was a problem for her. The only ones she doesn’t have are the princesses she doesn’t really like anyway (Mulan, Pocahontas and Jasmine are it I think…). She loves to play this “Good Witch” game at home. Simple concept: she puts on an old witch’s hat, grabs the broom and “rings” the doorbell by saying “ding dong!” I then have to answer the door, act all surprised when it’s the “good witch” and invite her in. And then she pretends she’s the good witch and joins C and I with whatever we’re doing. Ridiculously simple and yet it manages to get on my nerves after the billionth time we play it. But it’s one of her favorite pretend games so that got me thinking…what if she was a good witch? And the only good witch that came to mind was Glinda. Who was PERFECT. Long poofy dress that covers her feet and is super sparkly, plus she has a crown and a wand. Could she be any more up J’s alley??
The only problem was that J hadn’t seen the Wizard of Oz yet. Which wasn’t really an issue at all. I simply googled Glinda, showed her the pictures and she immediately fell in love. I mentioned to a friend the following week what J’s costume was going to be but that we hadn’t watched the movie yet. J went over for a playdate and the friend was “kind enough” to show her the movie. Which actually made me really upset. One–she’s at a playdate. I don’t want her sitting around watching TV…that defeats the purpose. She should be playing. And two–I wanted to show her the movie! I may despise that movie, but it’s still a rite of passage to see it for the first time and I was absurdly upset over the fact that she watched it without me. Plus J is really sensitive when she watches new movies so I always watch things with her for the first time. She asks a million questions and needs to know about the “bad parts” in detail before they happen, while they’re happening and while they’re over. So that didn’t sit well with me at all.
But I digress. Majorly.
So after we deceided on Glinda I searched for a DIY version. And I found not only the perfect tutorial but the most amazing blog ever. If you haven’t seen Make It & Love It you have to check her out. Like right now. I’ll wait. She is so amazing. I’ve done a couple of projects off of her website since making the Glinda dress and I love them all.
So the Glinda dress. Last year Make It & Love It’s daughter decided to be Glinda and so she tackled the giant project and put up a clear and easy to follow tutorial on her website, which you can find here. I’ll show you what I did but you’ll need to refer to her for the specifics if you decide to do one yourself.
I’m going to break this down into several posts since there was a lot of work that went into it. And just the introduction on how we decided on the dress was really long, haha, so I can only imagine what this post would look like if I did it all in one.
In this post I’ll explain how I made the hoop skirt, the crown and the wand. In Part Two, next week, I’ll go into detail about the dress. And then Part Three will be C’s costume, which is…wait for it…a Flying Monkey. Which honestly I love even more than the Glinda dress.
So, the hoop skirt. This isn’t something I would normally even think about J having, let alone tackling it myself. But Make It & Love It has a fantastic tutorial, of course, and it really does add a lot to the Glinda dress. I think it ended up being just as important as the crown or wand. Plus J loves wearing it under other dress up dresses. Every pretend princess needs a hoop skirt!
So this is what I picked up:
- 3 yards of white muslin. That’s the fabric I use for my quiet books and I love it–cheap, light, easy to sew. It just so happened to be on sale at Joann’s while I was there (for the first time for this project…) so I only paid 99 cents/yard. I didn’t actually need 3 yards, but I always like to buy extra. Especially since I have plenty of use for this in the future.
- 2 spools of grosgrain ribbon. Go to Walmart for this! I got 2 spools of 7/8 inch ribbon, each with 3 yards, for $2 a piece. Bargain!!
- 1/4″ plastic Pex Pipe tubing. I bought this one from Lowes. I made it super simple by just adding this item and the next one (the rods) for store pickup at Lowes. No need to ask an employee or wonder around for 5 hours or anything! I bought 5 and ended up using 4.
- 1/4″ threaded rods. Here’s the one I ordered from Lowes. It was cheaper to purchase a 24″ one and then cut it into pieces than buy smaller pieces, so that’s the route I went. I ordered 1 and then asked Hubby to cut it into 8 pieces for me.
- 3/4″ elastic. I used a 40% off coupon at Joann’s, but realized when I bought the ribbon that it’s actually cheaper at Walmart. Something to keep in mind for next time!
I spent $22 total on the materials for the hoop skirt. Just in case you were wondering.
To give you an idea of my daughter’s size, she has a 22 inch waist and her length from her waist to the floor is 20 inches.
The first measurement was simple: I cut a 22 x 91 inch rectangle out of white muslin. I followed the tutorial and sewed the short ends together to make one giant skirt. I ironed the seams open.
Figuring out the ribbon was a lot more difficult. Here’s a photo of my trial and error sheet. I think it took me about 5 tries before I found measurements that made sense. I sewed the first line of ribbon the whole way across the skirt two inches from the bottom. I used the selvaged edge just like Make It & Love It so I didn’t have to worry about hemming along there. That saved me a bunch of time. When pinning the ribbon down I made sure to follow along with the tape measure and check that I was still the same distance every time I placed a pin to help keep it in line.
I added the next line of ribbon 4 inches above the bottom one. Turned out that I still don’t know how to sew in a straight line, hahaha, so even though I was really careful about pinning it straight, that didn’t translate quite as well as I had hoped while sewing. The lines are all a little bit off but surprisingly not too bad. I made sure to continue to follow along with the tape measure for each pin.
And then I realized after I sewed the first two lines on that they still weren’t spaced out correctly. I did some on-the-fly math and figured out where to space the last two ribbons. Here’s a photo of exactly where my ribbon ended up going in case that helps you. Math just isn’t my strong suit.
I sewed on my last two lines of ribbon. For each set I left about 2-3 inches of overlap along each opening just like Make It & Love It recommends. I also stayed as close to each edge as possible.
Since I was running out of room at the top I made the top hem for the elastic as small as possible. To keep the raw edges at bay I folded it in a tiny bit and then folded it over again, this time about 3/4 inch, to form the casing. I found that it really helps to iron the fold down first and then pin–helps it stay so much better when sewing. I threaded the elastic through, tried it around J’s waist to make sure it was a good size, sewed the two elastic ends together and then stitched the opening closed.
Then the pipe. I followed Make It & Love It’s instructions for the bottom one: threaded my piping into the bottom ribbon until I ran out, added a threaded rod, connected a second piece of piping and then fed it through until I reached the end of ribbon. I cut off the excess pipe, added another threaded rod and connected the two end pieces. This is the part that was a bitch to do–I actually had to have Hubby do it for me. I just couldn’t connect the two pieces together and shove them inside! Not enough brute strength I guess…
I did the second row. And this is where I went wrong, although I didn’t realize it quite yet. Because I’m a complete and total moron I was thinking that each hoop would automatically revert to a smaller size. So when I threaded my second hoop in I did the exact same thing as I did the first time around…so it was exactly the same size. And this where the problem was compounded even more–I had absolutely no idea that this wrong. So I did the third hoop the same way. And then when I was threading the fourth hoop and saw that it looked funky I knew something was amiss….
Fortunately the one thing I did do correctly was to not connect the third tier together. I had to keep asking for Hubby’s help and he was doing something else, so I figured I’d just wait until I was completely finished and then ask him to push the remaining two together. I decided to try it on J before pushing the top one through. That was my saving grace.
I wish I had a picture of how ridiculous it looked. Unfortunately I was on the verge of tears and taking a photo of my complete and utter failure was the furthest thing on my mind. It was one giant square. And about 8 times too big around J’s waist. I almost lost it.
After some thinking I came to the realization that I was supposed to trim the tubes. DUH. And then I was irritated because I didn’t understand why Make It & Love It didn’t say that in her post. After rereading it I realized she does say it and, in fact, gives the measurements she used for each tier on her daughter. My bad.
I fixed it as best I could. It was impossible to dig out the second tier since I had already connected the two tubes. Well I’m sure it’s not impossible but I decided to focus on the other two rows first and see if I had to fight with it. I chopped off about 6 inches from the third row and tried that. It wasn’t enough, so I chopped off another 6 inches. And then I threaded the top tier through. I only used one of the 5′ sections of pipe, even though it didn’t go the whole way around. I was afraid that if I connected another piece it wouldn’t fit around J’s waist.
As you can see in this photo, about 1/3 of the top row doesn’t have a pipe. But I already had to cinch the waist a ton to make it fit with that much tubing in it and there’s no way I could pull it any tighter. In fact, it’s still a bit too large around the waist and falls down a bit. So it was just going to stay that way.The second row needs to be trimmed more so I can trim the third row even more and then finish off the pipe in the top row. However, getting to the piping in the second row was going to be a giant pain in the tuchus so I decided to wait until the Glinda dress was finished and then I would see how it looked under that. It really irritated me that it didn’t turn out well.
Oh and I should mention that I didn’t end up closing the ribbon pieces. Although I determined that once the Glinda dress was on only I could tell that something was off (since I knew to look for it) so I wasn’t going to mess with any of the tiers but there doesn’t seem to be any reason to worry about closing the ribbon. That piping isn’t going anywhere…trust me. And it’s on the inside so I’m really not concerned with fraying. Like I said, I don’t know why I sew. I really don’t have the patience for it.
So let’s switch over and talk about something that I did like: the crown and wand! Of course the star shape turned out a bit funky and they’re both shedding glitter like there’s no tomorrow (I wish I would’ve done them differently), but at least they fit.
I did mine very differently from Make It & Love It (you can find her tutorial here, in the same post as the rest of the Glinda dress). This is what I used:
- Grey felt. I have a ton of felt on hand. When we lived in Canada a local fabric store was going out of business and I went insane, buying yards of felt at a deeply discounted price. So I decided to use felt for both the crown and wand instead of foam like Make It & Love It.
- Heat n Bond. I use this for quiet books all of the time so I took some and ironed it onto the back of the crown to give it some heft.
- Dowel rod. I picked one up at Joann’s that was about shoulder height on my daughter. It was only 79 cents, but then I discovered a week later they were only 29 cents at Walmart! Man!!!
- Hot glue & gun.
- Rhinestones. J picked out this tub from Michael’s. There are A TON of rhinestones in there. Her costume is finished and we didn’t even end up using a quarter of them.
- Spray paint. For the dowel rod.
- Glitter paint. For the dowel rod and, originally, for the crown.
- Grey Acrylic Paint. For the crown and wand to help the glitter stick.
- Glitter. My original thinking was to have J just paint over the felt with some acrylic grey glitter paint I have leftover from another project, but I didn’t have much left and that stuff is expensive, plus it wasn’t turning out as glittery as I had hoped. So I found a huge container of large white iridescent glitter at Walmart for a couple of bucks. I figured she could paint it grey and then sprinkle the glitter on top. FYI I do not recommend this method! We made the crown and wand over a month ago and I’m still finding glitter all over the craft area. And they’re both still shedding like mad. So don’t do it!!!! The acrylic glitter paint would’ve been a much better option even if it wouldn’t have turned out as nicely…
- Poly-fil. Just a tiny bit to fill the star. I always have some on hand. J calls it her “fluff” and sleeps with it at night. And then has a huge meltdown anytime I need to use it. I don’t understand my child…
$9 total spent on the materials for the crown and wand. Since I already had just about everything already the majority of that was on the rhinestones.
Crown first. I started off by taking my grey felt and wrapping it around J’s head to get the right size. I cut it with about an inch overlap to make sure there was room to close it. And then I cut it at the top so it was about a foot and a half high. Next I freehanded a tree shape onto a spare piece of card stock like Make It & Love It.
I placed it on top of the felt and traced four of them. Here’s the cutout on the felt since I didn’t take a picture of the crown itself… Then I had J paint the felt with some acrylic glitter paint. It just wasn’t glittery enough for either of us, plus it turned out kind of patchy (since I was letting her do it) so we switched over to regular grey acrylic paint and while she painted I sprinkled some white glitter on top and pressed it down to make it stick better. The following day after it was all dried I tried it on her. Still fit perfectly (which is impressive for me…I always cut things too small!) but the top points weren’t staying up. I have a ton of Heat n Bond so I snipped it to the right shape(ish) and ironed it on the back, hoping that would make it stiff enough. It’s not perfect but the points stay up a lot better now. I had J paint it grey so it would (somewhat) match the rest of the crown. It’s on the inside so it’s not very noticeable.
The wand was really simple. First I had Hubby spray paint the dowel rod with what I thought was grey, but was actually gold. It had been sitting in the garage for awhile so either it had the wrong lid on (which indicated that it was grey) or it sat so long that it turned from grey to brown. Not sure, but either way it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for. After it was dry I just had J paint it with the grey glitter paint and I decided it was close enough. For the star I cut a template out of card stock, folded the grey felt in half, traced the star onto it and cut it out. I had J paint it with grey paint and sprinkle more of the same glitter we used on the crown all over both sides. The following day, after it was dry, I matched the right sides together and sewed it closed, leaving one of the sides open to stuff it and put the dowel rod inside. I flipped it right side out, stuffed it with a handful of Poly-fil and added a few jingle bells that we had laying around so it would make some noise. We added more jewels, obviously. Finally I shoved the dowel rod inside and used my hot glue gun to close the star up. Finished! So there’s the hoop skirt, crown and wand. Check out next week’s post for the actual Glinda dress…and all my trials and tribulations making it. Seriously, I don’t have the patience for sewing…