My favourite project in the last month has been making Irini a costume for Book Week. In Australia, Book Week is a week long celebration of all things to do with books, often culminating in a book week assembly and dress up day at school. Irini decided quite a while ago that she wanted to go as Laura from Little House on the Prairie, and I though this would be just the project to get me back in the swing of sewing.
After browsing many pioneer/colonial costumes, I decided on McCalls 9424, as it had good reviews, and it looked really cute. Being from Australia, I can't comment on it being historically accurate, but it certainly fit the idea I had in my head of a Laura Ingalls costume!
Of course, the best part of sewing is the fabric, and despite having shelves of unused fabric to choose from, I had to make a stop at Spotlight, where I came across this gorgeous lightweight printed cotton, and a linen look fabric that matched the peachy coloured flowers in the print perfectly! Finding these two fabrics, how could I not come home with them?
I made up the dress first, with three alterations. Firstly, this pattern is clearly made for giants, and this is my only real complaint about it. The patterns are dual sized, eg the size M which I used is for size 10-12, and they are obviously aiming the length at the upper end of that size spectrum. After cutting out the paper pattern, I realised I would need to shorten the pattern by at least 4 inches, and that meant that I didn't need as much fabric as I had purchased. In the end, I shortened the dress and sleeves a little bit more so that I would be left with a full yard of fabric leftover, which I will turn into a non-costume blouse for Irini at a later date.
My second alteration was to remove the button holes, since I am rubbish at doing button holes, and replacing them with sew in snaps, with some decorative (non functional) buttons sewn on top. For a costume, I think this was a perfect solution, as it still looked great, but makes it easy for Irini to put on and off. Finally, I did not use any of the recommended interfacing (collar, placket, yoke), as honestly, I just couldn't be bothered. Regardless, it turned out fine!!
After making up the dress, I realised how pretty the front yoke detail is, especially with those cute little heart buttons, and decided it would be such a shame to cover it up with the pinafore included in the pattern. So instead, I just made a basic waist apron, with gathers over each hip, flat over the tummy, with four tucks and a hem ruffle as detail.
Finally, the bonnet. I had assumed that this would be the trickiest part of the costume, and while it was a little bit more complicated, it was in no way difficult, and the instructions were very clear. I did add a tucked frill made from the apron fabric to the brim, and used the apron fabric for the ties. I really felt that this made the whole lot come together as an outfit.
All in all, this is a great pattern for a gorgeous costume. I am sure we will repurpose this costume in the future, perhaps as Anne of Green Gables (without the apron and bonnet), definitely as Australian Colonial with a mob cap added, and maybe even as Little Bo Peep somehow!