Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tutorial: How to Make Commercial Rapunzel Hair Fit

So, your little girl is going as Tangled's Rapunzel for Halloween and you bought the hairpiece from Disney.  It's not made to be adjustable, so if your child has a head that isn't 18 inches in circumference, you're SOL, right?  Nope.  If your little girl has a head smaller than that, cut a bra strap off an old bra, including the little plastic jump ring, and whip stitch both the ring and the other side to the back of the crown.  Voila!  Adjustable headpiece. (I would, however, fray check the raw edge and turn it under first.)

If, like Grace, her head is bigger than 18 inches, it's a bit more involved. You'll need hot glue, a needle and thread, 1/4" pink grosgrain ribbon, a lighter, and 1/8" pink ribbon.  You might need an extra flower, too.

 Examine your headpiece.  The plastic band has two little tabs that when pressed in will take it apart.  The only problem is that the hair is glued to it.  Lucky for us, it's hot glue.  (Disney, I expected better than that!)  Gently pull off the flower, the hanging braid, and then several inches of the end of the braid crown on one side.  I chose the right. 

While you're removing things, You'll need to cut the ribbons and gently peel off the combs.  Be careful not to break them, because we're going to reuse them later. Also be careful not to cut the ribbon wrapping the plastic band or the hair.

Now, measure your child's head, and subtract 18" from it.  Add two inches to that and heat seal the ends by running them over the lit lighter. Fold under the raw edge, glue in place, and then whip stitch it for extra security.  You'll need to measure, keep measuring, and fiddle with the other side until it measures correctly.  Glue and stitch in place, and then try it on your child's head.

Now, we're going to reinforce it, because the braid is too heavy to hang from just one piece of ribbon.  So repeat the process on the other side of the braid, and then glue the two ribbons together.  Glue the braid in the center of the space (across from the pink center flower of the crown).  Now, cut a loooong piece of ribbon, tie and stitch around one end, and wrap the whole shebang.  You'll want to do criss-crosses on the braid to reinforce it.  Try to have enough ribbon to do two layers.  Glue and stitch the end.  Be sure to heat seal them so the ribbon so it doesn't come unraveled.   Position your flower.

If the ends of the braid crown are showing, you'll need an extra flower.  Glue in place, and with small stitches sew the wrappings to each other so they won't come unwound.  Now, if you want this stiffer, you could use a scrap of heavy-duty pellon interfacing on the back.  But I found that the ribbon is sufficient, and it helps shape it to Gracie's head.

 Now, let's talk about attachment.  The combs were oddly placed.  So I didn't put them where they'd been--I put them on the sides and glued them in place... at first.

The thing is, as I just proved, hot glue isn't the most permanent thing in the world.  It's fairly easy to pull it apart and even remove it.  So while the glue will hold it for a bit, it won't keep it there through everything, so you need the needle and thread again!  You'd have to pull off more hair to redo it the way it came, so a needle and thread are the way to go--especially since they wrapped the plastic band in ribbon.

I used between the combs and in that negative space inside the comb itself to secure it.  And I placed it right in the middle of the sides.  You can just call it good here and be done.

But if your little girl is anything like Gracie, this next step will insure that it stays on her head.  Cut 1/2 inch pieces--I did 10--of the 1/8 inch ribbon and seal the ends.  Put the sealed ends together and whip stitch them.

Take that, and whip stitch it to the inside of the band.  Repeat at regular intervals.  This gives you little loops to slip hair pins through to pin it to your child's real hair.

We're doing double twists that end in a low bun under the braid and securing it that way so 1) it won't fall off and 2) she can't just pull it off.  We've made it clear that she'll need to see her teachers for help to get it off if she needs to.

Disney didn't bother to seal the ends of the ribbon that's braided into the hairpiece, so even if you don't have to adjust it, you ought to heat seal that.  (It's funny, nobody smokes here, but I have several lighters just to heat seal ribbons!)

And now you have what Gracie terms to be the "beautiflulest" Rapunzel hair that actually fits and works!
And here is our little Rapunzel at preschool....
And getting her hair fixed. I did it in twists on the sides of her head and ended it in a bun before pinning in the hairpiece. The dress is one you might recognize from May if y'all read this blog--I made it as a birthday present for Grace from Simplicity 2065.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rapunzel hair, take 2

This is the Rapunzel hair that I ordered from the Disney Store.  I wish the flower really looked like that!  (It's limper and folded in on itself... but I think I can fix that.)  From the reviews, I knew the chances of having it fit Gracie were about nil.  It's made to fit an average size head, and everyone in the family tends towards big noggins.  Grace isn't an exception--she has a 21 inch head!  Turns out that it's meant for an 18 inch head, and I'll know more tomorrow if what I did worked after she tries it on again.  And that won't be until after school.  If it did, I'm planning a tutorial!  I figure I can't be the only person out there to buy a Disney braid crown only to have it be too small, and the fix is both simple and inexpensive.

I'm also working from a back up keyboard right now because Nicole, who shall hereafter be known as Imp, dumped juice in my keyboard causing half the letters to malfunction.  I bought a new one just like my old one but it probably won't be here until next week.  I prefer the one I had because I'm used to it, and the keys light up so that they're easy to see!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

KCWC--Day 7, last day!

And I did next to nothing.  Sewing on Sunday never works out for me, so I try to avoid it.  If I do it, it takes twice as long, I tend to ruin projects, and the results tend to look.... bad.  I did break out the iron and fuse the interfacing, though.  Nikki isn't quite old enough to understand that the iron is hot, so I do my best to avoid ironing when she's here.  So I spent my hour ironing instead of sewing.  Tomorrow, well, that's a different story.

I hope my materials show up to finish the Psycho Billy Cadillac Christmas dresses.  Don't you hate it when you thought you had something and it turned out not to be true?  That's why I had to order more stuff--my entredeux is UA.  So that was my day.  :) No church 'cause it's Stake Conference this weekend.  That's five or six congregations in the area getting together for a meeting. 

I'm going to try and sew the shirts together tomorrow.  And then I'll move on to crinolines, since I plan on more vintage dresses for them.  Gracie grew again, so I should probably do some remeasuring.  She's about three inches taller than the last time I measured her.  The Rapunzel hair should be here tomorrow, and from the reviews, I'm going to have to adjust it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

KCWC--Day 6

I wanted to get some sewing done, but after my SIL went to work, my brother showed up and we played with the girls instead.  But I did spend an hour and a half getting two white shirts cut out and the elastic for Nikki's Sunday diaper cover situated.  No, it's not sewn in yet, but I cut another two inches to add to it and trimmed off the ends of stitched, slightly mangled elastic ends.

Diaper covers are the second most boring thing I make.  But they're a wardrobe staple for babies and not easy to come by commercially.  With what fabric I tend to use, they're also cheap if I make them.  I almost always make a matching one for any baby girl clothes, and a handful of white ones to go with everything else.  And as for the white shirts, well... I scored some Strasburg jumpers for the girls that were missing the shirts that originally came with them, and if we put the shirt underneath, it stretches their sundresses for another month or two and gives me the space to whip out some winter dresses!

Friday, October 12, 2012

KCWC--Day 5

Sorry for the dark pic.  All I was getting was either too dark or too light.  Today, I adjusted patterns again to make white blouses for the girls to put under sundresses.  Sundress weather is just about over, so unlike a lot of clothes I make them, this is entirely practical!  I mean, they can go with jeans, too, or just about anything because they're plain white blouses.

I also ripped out stitching in Nikki's Sunday diaper cover so I can add more elastic to the legs.  I don't know what I did when I made that this time last year, but they're still blousy and a bit big... except for the legs.  Tomorrow, I'm going to try and get some actual sewing done!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

KCWC--Day 4

I've spent several hours today adjusting patterns.  Now the waistlines of the pinafores should fall in the same place as the waistlines on the dresses.  I also spent two more hours locating the lace the pinafore will be trimmed with and attempting to find the entredeux that is supposed to run up the bodice around the shoulder ruffles and around the skirt.  Couldn't find it, so I ordered more... which will set me back and make it so this won't be completed this week.  I'll do all I can, and then move on to the crinolines.  Grace needs the next size up, and Nicole outgrew hers a long time ago.  I didn't bother to make another for her because she hasn't had the full-skirted dresses that need one underneath!  But, well, this is a 50s base pattern and you need one to get the necessary fluff.  I've learned a few things since last year, like the fact that I should line the whole thing to prevent "ticklies" as well as "itchies"!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

KCWC--Day 3

I didn't quite get as far as I wanted, but it was my older brother's birthday, and I had to bake a cake--

And make cheeseburgers.  So instead of finishing the dresses and starting on the pinafores, I just managed to get from where I was yesterday, remember?

Yep.  Collar, fancy stitching, lace sewn on, basic bodice assembly done.  Today, I attached the cuffs (lots of handsewing there!), the skirt, had to fix an oops, sewed on more lace, hemmed it, and generally did all the finishing work.  So we went from what's on the left to this--

 For all that this is the Psycho Billy Christmas dress, I think I'm getting more classic and timeless.  But doing it this way was the only way I could get what I want. 

As for the oopsie, well, I got to the hem and measured the dresses, only to find that I'd made Grace's three inches too short, and Nicole's was five inches too short!  I didn't have enough fabric to redo the skirts, so I added a band to the bottom and then sewed lace over the join. 

I'd intended on topstitching the hem and hiding that with the lace, so it just required the slight adjustment of hand hemming them--which isn't always the easiest thing to do with CRIN!

I know these could use sashes, but since I'm doing a pinafore, it would make tying them awkward.  As many eras as these are, this will be Nicole's first vintagey-modern dress!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

KCWC--Day 2

I actually got pretty far today, all things considered.  The plackets on the skirts are done.  (That lace looks really crooked in the picture, but I swear it's not.  *sigh* if it is, I'll be ripping it off!)  The bodices are sewn together.  I had the cuffs on, too, before I realized that I'd sewn them on wrong, so I ripped 'em off!  Tomorrow, I intend to finish the actual dresses and get the pinafores cut out.  I have to adjust the pinny bodices to the same length, but the Psycho Billy Christmas dresses are progressing.  Yeah, if I were making separates, I'd be finished with four complete outfits by now, but I didn't finish last years' dresses, so this is redemption for me!  And I may have to adjust my plans to try and make some winter weight dresses because the weather suddenly changed to cold.

Craft Fail

Not everything I do turns out.  Case in point--Rapunzel hair.  Gracie is required to dress as a storybook character for Preschool on Halloween, and since she already had a Tangled costume, we decided that Rapunzel was the way to go.

The idea was that by buying weave hair, we could make the hair for $4 instead of the $20 the commercial hairpiece costs.  And that much yarn, aside from being pricey, is heavy!  So I bought the two lightest colors of cheap braiding hair from the local beauty supply, cut pink and purple sparkly ribbons, and did my best.  And the result--a snarled, hopelessly tangled mess! 

We'll still fix Gracie's hair as we planned, and she'll still wear her My-Aunt-Laura-Made-It-For-Me Rapunzel dress.  But instead of a homemade Rapunzel wig, well, we cheated.  I may have to make adjustments to it, but she'll be wearing a commercial Disney hairpiece.  Lucky for me, it was on sale on their website and I had a coupon, so it was only $12 instead of $20.  I just wish I hadn't bought the kaneklon!

Monday, October 8, 2012

KCWC-- day one

Today, I managed to finish off the collars and cuffs of what I'm now calling the "Psycho Billy Christmas dresses", sewed the beading lace on the bodices, and got the collars and cuffs pinned in place.  Doesn't sound like a lot, does it?  But the beading lace is scallops, and the trim on the collars and cuffs is sewn together with a faggoting stitch.  That's actually a beginning to why this is a Psycho Billy dress!  (Yes, Johnny Cash--One Piece at a Time... one of my favorite songs!)

See, fagotting was most often used in Victorian lingerie.  I need to work a bit on consistency, but it was a new thing for me. :) Next, came the dress bodice and skirt--which both patterns came from the 50s.  The sleeves are straight out of the sixites, and the pinafores are from the 30s in one case, and the 40s in the other!  And I'm frankenpatterning all of it together to make matching dresses for the girls...or mostly matching.

See, Imp's (story behind that in a bit!) dress only has two lines of lace on the bodice, while Bit's has four.  Smaller bodice, less lace!  Other than that, they match.

Nicole has earned the nickname Imp lately.  I wouldn't trade her for anything and I love her to pieces, but she has a mischievous streak a mile wide.  She gets into everything, no matter how much I have it locked up, and lately she threw away my buttonhole foot!  (So yeah, if anybody has an extra buttonhole foot for a Pfaff 1222E, part # 93-040 924-91, I'd be happy to pay you for it!)  And I'm sure that she's thrown out lots of things that we didn't catch her at!  Nikki gets this look on her face that by now we know means trouble.. which is why her new name is Imp!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Kids' Clothes Week Challenge is coming up next week, and I signed up, so it's time for a bit of project planning.  Number 1 on my list is the Christmas dresses.  I've already started them, and my goal is to have them done by the end of next week--embroidery and all.  Actually, I'd love to have them both finished by this coming Monday (October 8).  That way, I have time to schedule Christmas pictures and talk it over with Joanna while Grace has the week off.  We're going with Sears, because they're far and away the most affordable.  My only hang up might be the silk satin ribbon that I have on order.  I need it to show up!

Number 2 is winter dresses.  I'm starting with one, because both kiddos have some just not enough.  I'm planning three each, though they'll be spread out. 

Number 3 is the jeans project.  I'm planning a jean jumper, coordinating blouse, and actual jeans in a bumblebee theme.  I have matching socks and hairbows already (I like completely coordinated outfits!) so that they can bee tricked out for Georgia Tech game days in real clothes.  (The mascot for the Georgia Institute of Technology is a yellow jacket names Buzz)  I recognize that due to the fact that I ordered bumblebee patches as the most cost effective way to get them, (They retail for $2.50 for two at Joanns, but I can get 20 for $8.54 off ebay.) I might not finish that project, either!

I'd like to do the overalls I have planned, but the McCalls patterns don't go on sale until next Thursday.  So, instead, project number 4 is bubble skirts with coordinating tops.  I think those are quite enough to get through by the end of KCWC!  I just hope I can keep up the pace and finish all of my planned projects before Christmas!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wardrobe basics: the white shirt

While probably the most boring part of the girls' wardrobes, a plain white shirt is part of it.  As summer turns into fall, their summer sleeveless dresses would still be wearable... if they had sleeves.  So I usually make them at least one white blouse to wear underneath to stretch those dresses until their fall/winter dresses are finished.  I've only made something like this once for Lizzy--when she was just born, we found a new, tagged, heavy knit dress at a consignment sale.  The thing is, by the time she grew into it, it would be much too cold in Virginia, where they were living at the time, to wear it.  So I obtained a pattern--McCalls 5825.  I think it's early 90s.  The pantaloons and overalls are kind of goofy, but the shirt pattern itself is fine.  I just changed it to puffed sleeves for a little girl.  The first one was maroon to go with the maroon embroidery on the cream-colored jumper.

The one I just finished is basic white.  She's barely into 2Ts, and all her summer dresses were that size, so if we pop the blouse underneath and a sweater on top, she's good to go.  Basic white blouses are boring.  Peter Pan collar, button front, out of cotton/poly batiste and puffed sleeves.  What shocked me is that she's still in pattern infant sizing... though everything needed lengthened.  Lizzy was a tiny baby and while she's average height for her age, she's incredibly thin, despite my sister stuffing food down her every chance she gets!  Length was added to both the sleeves and the body, but other than that, it's exactly as the original infant pattern... which I'm planning on using again to make a shirt for Nicole.
The most interesting part of this is the cuff treatment.  Instead of making incredibly tiny cuffs, it uses a button and thread loop to bring in the shirt.  Having made tiny cuffs before, I approve!  Since most of her dress-wearing time is inside a church, I wasn't trying to go really warm--though the original was that way since the only fabric in the color I needed was polyester suiting!

If I"m making blouses, I really prefer doing more interesting fabric or a different pattern rather than simple, plain and basic.  But basics can be the most used part of a wardrobe instead of something that sits in the back of a closet!  

But I can't really argue with how it looks underneath a jumper or sundress!  (This is a Strausburg pinwale corduroy jumper we picked up second hand for $7.)