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Making a Hobbit Dress to Watch the Rings of Power

If you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings books or movies, you’re probably a fan of hobbits, those charming folks whose ladies wear very cute pastoral outfits. With the new Rings of Power show coming out soon I thought this would be a good time to show you an easy hobbit lady outfit. Many of the hobbit women wear a 4 separate garments: a blouse, a bodice that laces up the back, a skirt, and an apron. To simplify the sewing and getting dressed, I decided to turn the last 3 items into one zippered dress. This dress also works great for a trendy cottage core look, and is a wonderful stash-buster for combining all those various fabric scraps you have that aren’t enough to make up a full garment by themselves.

Note: I am a member of the Janome Maker program and this skirt is sewn on a Janome Skyline S9 and a Janome FA4 serger. (This post is sponsored by Janome but all content and opinions are mine).

Materials needed:

  • 2 yards fabric for skirt (I used 58″ wide blue linen)
  • 1 yard fabric for apron (I used a floral print; you can use a lace fabric too)
  • 1 yard fabric for bodice
  • 1 yard fabric for bodice lining
  • Fabric scrap for center front bodice
  • 1-2 yards colored twill tape or ribbon
  • 1 zipper plus various matching threads

I self-drafted my own pattern (with the basic shapes shown below) but you can start with any square-necked basic bodice, or a dirndl-style dress that fits you. You will take your pattern and slice the front bodice into 3 parts (a front center and 2 front sides). The front center is going to be a different color of fabric that we will add criss-crossed twill tape or ribbons to. The width of your front center will depend on your body measurement, but for reference I cut a 6″ wide panel (for a 5″ finished panel with seam allowance) for a 34″ bust.

The first thing you will make is the front center panel. Put down strips of twill tape or ribbon in a criss-cross pattern on your rectangle and stitch them down. The raw edges will get trimmed and then sewn to the front side pattern pieces. (If your decorative fabric is thin like mine, then you will want to back it with a second piece of fabric).

Once you have the front center prepped you’ll sew it to the front sides, then sew the bodice backs to the front sides, and also join the shoulder seams according to your dress pattern. For the bodice lining you’ll do similar construction except you’ll skip making a decorative front center panel. Don’t forget to put darts in your back panels if your pattern calls for them.

Stitch the fashion and lining layers right sides together at the necklines and flip right side out, creating a clean edge at the neckline. For the armholes fold the raw edges in, pin in place, and top-stitch. For the center back where the zipper will go, serge the raw edges.

To make the skirt I used 2 rectangular panels of 58″ wide fabric cut to a length of 30″ but the length can vary based on your preference for a longer or shorter skirt. (I am 5’6″ and after some length is taken up through construction and hemming the skirt falls a few inches below my knee).

Optional: If you want a pocket you can cut a strip from one of the skirt panels and use that to cut out pocket pieces. I like to use my cell phone and hands as guides for how big the pocket should be. Serge all the raw edges of the skirt and pocket pieces first. Stitch one pocket piece to one skirt panel at the edge, right sides together. Put the right sides of the skirt panels together with the pocket pieces flipped out to be right sides together as well. Sew down the skirt side seams and around the pocket as shown by the pins, leaving an opening for your hand to reach in.

For the apron I cut out a 22″ wide and 20″ long rectangle (with the exact size according to your preference). You will want to hem the sides and bottom of the apron to finish the edges before pinning it to the center of the front skirt panel at the top edge and then serging the raw edge of the top of the skirt.

Split the back skirt panel down the middle to allow for a zipper and serge the new raw edges.

Pleat the top of the skirt to fit your bodice, matching up the side seams of each. Sew the bodice to the skirt and press the waist seam open and flat.

Insert a zipper down the center back from the bodice to part way down the skirt, then finish the rest of the back skirt seam.

Hem the bottom of the skirt by folding it up twice to your desired length, and your hobbit dress is done! Pair it with a cute blouse and a floral headdress and you will fit right in at the Shire!

Thank you for reading!

1950s Wearing History Leslie Skirt in Green Linen

A few months ago I used the Wearing History Leslie skirt pattern to make a cute high-waisted 1950s skirt that also has some Edwardian vibes if made up in a long length. I was drawn to the high waist with the sweetheart shape and the column of buttons down the front. I used a green linen and top-stitched it with decorative vines in a lighter green to give it a bit of an elven feel.

Keep in mind that the actual pattern (based on a vintage one) runs longer than the illustrations show. I made the shorter daytime length, and it still hits me mid-shin. The pattern is available as a printed and print at home version in 26-48″ waist sizes.

I enjoyed wearing it to the Filoli Gardens with a vintage hat and embroidered Hungarian blouse.

Due to the high waist, depending on the same of your body you may have to adjust how deep the curve is. There is also a little adjustment possible from how much overlap you make in the front, but you can shift too much without distorting the sweetheart shape.

I liked the gathered hip gores and thought they were flattering. I repeated the top-stitching there to emphasize the shape of the front panels.

I made self-covered buttons out of the same green linen.

Here’s a helpful hint: When cutting open your buttonholes you can put a pin there to stop your seam ripper from accidentally ripping too far.

I think this is a rather versatile skirt I can wear with vintage looks, cottage core style, and dress it up or down. I am considering making the floor-length evening version (without buttons) in a taffeta one day. Thanks for reading!

Floral Milkmaid Dress for Spring (Plus Some Tips and Tricks)

Warm weather means pretty cotton frocks to me so I just recently completed this yellow floral dress, inspired by the cute “milkmaid” style dresses. A lot of cotton prints are a bit thin and require some lining, and I have a special trick to save time by using my serger instead of cutting out the lining twice (later in this post).

Note: I am a member of the Janome Maker program and this skirt is sewn on a Janome Skyline S9 and a Janome FA4 serger. (This post is sponsored by Janome but all content and opinions are mine).

The dress is made of 100% cotton and the yellow print has white and gray flowers and foliage. (I bought 3 yards of a 58″ wide fabric and had some left over). I did not want the top to be see-through so I needed to line it. For this particular dress I decided to flat-line it, which means each individual lining piece is attached to the fashion fabric before the garment is assembled. (This is different from the approach of constructing the fashion and lining layers separately, then putting them together).

The classic method of flat-lining is to cut out the lining and fashion pieces and stitch them together, but I have a time-saving hack using my Janome FA4 serger! First, I put the fashion layer on top of the lining fabric, put in a few pins to keep it from shifting, and cut it out roughly with my rotary cutter.

Then I serge the edges of the fashion fabric, while using the built-in blade of my serger to trim away the excess lining. This saves me the trouble of carefully cutting out the lining and making sure all the edges line up perfectly before sewing!

After serging/flat-lining all the pieces I sewed the seams together normally. This is the bodice without the bust cups:

The bust cups are oval pieces of fabric that are gathered at the top and bottom to fit into the U shapes of the bodice. (The top is folded down to make a drawstring channel for the ribbons, which meet in the middle to make the top adjustable).

The sleeves have channels on both the top and bottom for elastic to gather it into a puffed sleeve. The underarm of the sleeve is sewn directly to the underarm of the dress while the top of the elasticated sleeve turns into the shoulder of the dress. A few tips I have for sewing this kind of style sleeve: (1) Finish off the top of the back bodice by folding down the serged edges before you attach the sleeve, otherwise you will end up with an odd corner in the back where some serging is visible. (2) Anchor one end of the elastic by sewing it down in the channel where the sleeve attaches to the back of the dress. Use a safety pin to keep the other end of the elastic from sliding back in the channel. Try on the dress, unpin the elastic and pull it tight until the sleeve fits you over the shoulders, then pin it back until you sew it down permanently. Tip #2 is especially important if you don’t have a helper; you can fit the sleeves yourself in a mirror because the loose elastic is in front!

The dress closes in the center back with an invisible zipper. Janome makes a concealed zipper foot (Z) that makes it easy to install one!

I am looking forward to wearing this dress this summer!

Thank you for reading!

Her Universe Fashion Show 2021 FAQ and Audience Winner “This is the Way” from the Mandalorian

Last year I had the wonderful privilege of being one of the finalists selected to be in the Her Universe Fashion Show (HUFS), and then ultimately one of the winners! The show is normally held yearly at San Diego Comic Con during the summer but the applications open up in the spring. Since this year’s show announcement is coming up, I thought this would be a good time for me to write up a post about my experience and the many questions I’ve been asked since last summer. (If you want to see the FAQ that includes what the show is, how the contest is run, any advice, etc. please see the second half of this post after my design photos). In 2021 Her Universe held a virtual show, which meant that instead of walking the stage in front of a live audience in San Diego, we submitted a lot of footage that was edited for judging purposes and streaming as part of Comic-Con at Home. My experience is a little different from the in-person show, but a lot of the information is still applicable!

(Most of the photos in this post were taken by lovely friend Natalie while assisted by my other equally lovely friend Kelsey).

For those of you that don’t know, Her Universe and the HUFS was founded by Ashley Eckstein to promote geek fashion. The HUFS is a runway show where designers submit a “geek couture” design which is high fashion inspired by a fandom. The idea is to make something that wouldn’t be out of place on a Hollywood red carpet, rather than a direct cosplay of a character. Although Star Wars, Marvel, etc. are popular inspirations each year, ideas from books, TV shows, and obscure fandoms are accepted as well.

I was selected as the audience’s choice winner, and Teighlor Johnson and Skyler Barrett and were tied for the judges’ pick in Pokemon and Queen’s Gambit-inspired designs, respectively.

My design is called “This is the Way” and was inspired by the Armorer from Star Wars: The Mandalorian. This outfit consists of 5 pieces (a jumpsuit, a cape, a headpiece, a belt, and a purse). I have nods to her helmet in my headpiece, her fur cape in my epaulets, her tools in my appliqués, and the Beskar steel she works with in the fabric of my jumpsuit.

The jumpsuit is made of a silver and black silk and wool challis fabric woven to look like Beskar steel. The jumpsuit has super wide leg palazzo pants (with hidden pockets!) that are full enough to look like a skirt when standing still. The upper sleeves are fitted with a balloon shape in the lower sleeve, gathered into a cuff.

I love this fabric! Below from left to right is a dart, then an invisible zipper, then another dart. Running horizontally is a seam.

I used gold pleather to make a flame appliqué on the bodice to reference the forge where the Armorer works, and accented the appliqués with gold glass beads. The belt is a gold metal band that closes with an art nouveau clasp in the front. Gold chains hang from the belt on each hip.

The bodice has a wide boat neck that creates a peekaboo effect combined with the high-necked red pleather backless “cape.” The brick red cape (lined in the same color) consists of a neck piece that covers the collarbone and extends to the shoulders, and long open “sleeves” that are long enough to trail on the floor, creating a train effect despite having no gown. The cape is open in the front and back so the jumpsuit is fully visible except for the shoulders, which has light brown fur epaulets on the cape. More gold chains hang from the shoulders and across the chest and back.

The cape closes at the neck with hidden hooks and bars. Then the epaulets and chains go on top, and I have hidden magnets sewn into the shoulders of the cape and the underside of the epaulets. The magnets I used are encased in plastic so I can sew them on. Here are some test pieces I did so you can see what they look like:

The headpiece is inspired by 1920s/1930s flapper headdresses and consists of 3 brass bands across the top of the head, attached to art nouveau style large decorative brass pieces over the ears. The front band has small golden spikes like a crown. The bands and ear pieces are wired together but the spikes are attached by drilling holes in the bands and screwing them in. I also added some gold pleather padding inside the ear pieces for comfort.

The purse is a clutch made of brick red pleather and lined in the same fabric as the cape. The purse flap is pleated like the Armorer’s apron and has her tools appliqued in silver. I created the design using my Silhouette Design Software and used glitter heat transfer vinyl.

The purse opens with a magnetic clasp and is decorated with gold metal half moons. As usual, I hand-sew in my labels.

My wig is from Arda Wigs and my shoes are from Miss L Fire.

Here is a video I made showing off some close-ups, when the online voting opened.

@freshfrippery

My Armorer (Mandalorian) design for @officialheruniverse fashion show! #pose #fashion#heruniversefashionshow

♬ original sound – 𝔞𝔰𝔥𝔩𝔢𝔦𝔤𝔥 ✨

The talented artist Dani Balangawa drew this lovely portrait of my winning design and sent it to me as a surprise!

Materials sourced:

I was short on time and worldwide shipping was a little dicey at the time I was getting my materials so I bought a lot of things that I knew could get to me quickly. A lot of the items, especially the metal findings, may also be found through my usual sources of Aliexpress, eBay, and craft stores.

Thank you for reading so far! Now for the FAQ!

Where can I see examples of past Her Universe Fashion Show entries?

You can watch last year’s show on the HUFS blog, which also has links to photos from earlier shows. The site also has archives of footage from previous shows. I highly recommend you review those so you don’t inadvertently submit any similar designs.

What is the selection process like?

There is an online application where you can submit up to 3 original designs plus a written description. You will also be asked for a personal bio, info about your design/sewing experience, and some portfolio images. There may be additional questions about how you heard about the show, if you have any previous press, what you think about geek fashion, etc. You can also include links to your social media and personal website and an optional video about your designs.

Up to 25 finalists are chosen by a selection committee that consists of Ashley Eckstein and employees of Her Universe/Hot Topic. Those finalists are the ones that will appear in the HUFS during SDCC. There is one winner picked by judges at the show, and a second winner picked by audience voting. There can be more than two winners in case of a tie.

What should be in your portfolio/video?

The portfolio is a chance for you to show that you can complete your design. HU does not want to select a person who has a great sketch but doesn’t know how to sew. Your portfolio should demonstrate your skill and experience and prove you can deliver a finished item on show day. Personally I recommend submitting a collage for each image so that you can show some close-up shots of your details and accessories made, plus make sure that some of the skills and materials in your submitted designs show up in your portfolio. For example, if you submit embroidery or leatherwork you should show you have experience with embroidery or leatherwork.

The video is optional. There is a time limit of 5 minutes but it is a chance for you to talk about your designs and show off your personality or inspiration. You can hold up sketches, show off fabric swatches if you have any, etc. Not everyone submits a video with their application but I feel like it’s a great way to explain difficult concepts and convince them you should be in the show.

What is the general time line?

Generally, applications open in spring after WonderCon and the show is in July during San Diego Comic Con. In 2019 (live show) applications opened April 1 and closed April 19, notifications went to finalists on April 26, and the show was July 17. In 2021 (virtual show) applications opened March 18 and closed April 2, finalists were announced April 16, and the show aired July 23 but we had to be finished with our designs and submit photographs/videos by June 4 in order to give them time to edit the footage.

What prizes do the winners get?

The judges’ pick and the audience winner get equal prizes. Winners are invited back the following year to judge the next contest at SDCC and their travel is covered. There is also a cash prize (I’m not sure if the amount varies each year), a chance to design a collection for Her Universe/Hot Topic, and royalties from that collection.

What is the HU/HT collection? Do you get your designs reproduced or get to choose the theme?

The collection is determined by HU/HT based on their licensing agreement with an upcoming movie. The 2021 winners designed items to come out in time for the 2022 Jurassic World movie. Some past winners have designed Star Wars, Marvel, and Wonder Woman items. The collection is mean to be casual/streetwear garments and are sold online at HU and in HT shops.

Do you have to have a ticket to San Diego Comic Con to apply?

No, you do not need a SDCC ticket to participate in the show or come watch as an audience member. The HUFS is held at a hotel during SDCC, but is a separate event. Finalists in the show are also often gifted a pass to SDCC.

Do finalists have their costs covered?

No, you are responsible for buying your own materials for your design, and covering your own travel to San Diego. As stated above, you do not need to pay for a SDCC ticket. If you win and are invited back as a judge, then your travel is comped for your subsequent trip.

Is there an age limit?

You need to be at least 18 for HUFS. (One year there was an affiliated junior design contest for minors, but that was different from the main runway show). There is no upper age limit and you don’t have to be fresh out of design school. There are people in the show in their 30s and 40s, with established careers and/or kids doing this for fun.

The contest is called the HER Universe Fashion Show. Are men allowed?

Yes, male designers are allowed to participate. In past runway shows male designers submitted womenswear, but during the 2021 virtual show the finalists could also present menswear designs.

Do you have to model the clothing yourself?

No, you can have a friend model the clothing if you don’t want to wear it yourself and many designers prefer to hire a model for various reasons (runway experience, having a particular look in mind, ease of fitting, honoring a particular culture, etc.) However, many people also love modeling the clothing themselves! It is up to you.

Do you need to be a great fashion illustrator or submit professional drawings?

No, the design sketches just need to be able to convey your vision clearly to the selection committee. You are also allowed to include written descriptions and your sketch can be a collage that includes pics of fabric swatches, etc. You can also use your optional video to describe your design.

You are allowed to hire a pro artist or friend to polish up your designs, as long as all the ideas are your own. For example, maybe you’re not confident about rendering fabric or comfortable about your illustration skills, you can have someone do your final sketches, as long as they are not helping you design.

For myself, I have submitted before using my own drawings, and have also applied by having my drawings translated by costume illustrator Emily Hasty. You can see below my original sketches and notes and the professional rendering by Emily.

Here is the sketch from Emily I submitted as part of my HUFS application.

What is the “portfolio review” at WonderCon?

At WonderCon, a few months before SDCC, and before the HUFS application officially opens, the Her Universe/Hot Topic team will usually host a portfolio review at WonderCon. (This is separate from the HU panel that consists of the past year’s winners that will be judges for the year). This is a chance for aspiring applicants to have a few minutes with some HU/HT reps to get some quick feedback about their designs. This is completely optional, and is a nice bonus for anyone who’s already attending WonderCon who wants a second opinion, but is not a requirement to enter. (The HU/HT reps may or may not be the same people on the final selection committee).

Is there another place to get feedback?

There is an unofficial Facebook group called “The Workshop” that is a support group consisting of many past finalists and people who are interested in applying. It’s a friendly place to ask questions or talk about your designs.

I also highly recommend you read the fantastic blog series “So You Think You Can HUFS: An Insider Guide to the Her Universe Fashion Show” by show veteran and previous winner Kristi Siedow-Thompson. It’s full of great information.

What is the HU panel you referred to at WonderCon?

The panel consists of the previous year’s winners and gives info on the upcoming show plus a sneak peak at the HU/Hot Topic collection that is being released.

Would you recommend participating?

Absolutely! I had a wonderful experience and the people involved in the show (both organizing and participating) were lovely. The HU/HT staff provided lots of guidance, were available for questions, and were really responsive. Prior to applying for the first time I had talked to previous finalists about the general vibe to see if HUFS was something I wanted to join. Everyone I asked said that it was the type of show where people hyped each other up and helped each other backstage so please keep that atmosphere going if you participate! Since the 2021 show was virtual, we had weekly Zoom meetings hosted by HU and a private Facebook group. People were offering to help each other shop for materials in the LA Fabric District or mail spare supplies. When online voting opened the participants were encouraging their followers to check out the other finalists as well. It definitely felt more like a bunch of theatre kids banding together to put on a show rather than competitors in a pageant. I am very grateful to have been part of this experience and am looking forward to being a judge this year and cheering all of you on!

My Historical Loki Variant Cosplay (Borgias-Inspired Renaissance Dress Costume)

I was making a Borgias-inspired Renaissance dress and decided to lean into to the green gold color scheme and make it a historical Loki variant costume. I wanted a Renaissance gown but being shiny and pretty was more important to me than historical accuracy so this isn’t pegged to a specific decade, but rather a look inspired by both the Borgias HBO show and the character Loki from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The dress is made from beautiful green and gold shot raw silk suiting. The bodice uses the same fabric but with a silk/rayon organza burnout overlay, and the lining is a black cotton canvas for structure.

Rather than using a commercial pattern I Frankensteined together math and modified pattern bits from previous costumes I made. The bodice is a shorted version of the kirtle I previously made using help from the Tudor Tailor book (Amazon affiliate link). I widened the shoulder straps and added some more seam allowance but it is otherwise generally the same.

The skirt is made of pleated rectangular panels. Each of the front and back are 1.5 panels wide, with the seam hidden under the metallic jacquard trim.

The sleeves are basic sleeve shapes but cut a little loose to allow for the chemise underneath. They are somewhat like tie-on sleeves except instead of ribbons I sewed them at the meeting points with a glass pearl and some gold bead caps.

Underneath the dress I wore a Tudor chemise because that is what I had on hand. (It was also made using a pattern from the Tudor Tailor book). However, at a later point I’d like to make a Renaissance camicia with a different neckline and much fuller sleeves to puff out through the gaps in the green sleeve.

LOKI CROWN

I bought the Loki crown as 3D printed pieces from Parton Prints on Etsy. The horns come as separate pieces for ease of shipping and I glued them on using E6000 glue. After a little sanding, I used a primer that someone recommended to me for 3D printed plastics Tamiya Gray Fine Surface Primer (Amazon affiliate link) I finished up with two coats of Rust-Oleum Metallic Spray Paint in Gold. Originally I used more E6000 to glue on a black elastic strap but decided to cut them off. Instead I used the nubs of those straps as an anchor point to sew on some gold necklace chains both as decorative dangling elements in the front and also as a visible gold band across the back to hold the crown on.

I am wearing a wavy black wig from Amazon (affiliate link) under the crown. I wish my hair was that luxurious! The necklace is a secondhand eBay find.

And here is a video of the dress in action!

I had so much fun pretending to be a villain. Here are a few of the fun TikTok videos I made as Lokizia Borgia:

  1. Transforming into Lokizia Borgia:

2. Asking you to join me in ruling the galaxy:

3. Starting my villain arc:

MATERIALS

  • 5 yards green/gold raw silk suiting from Fabricmartfabrics.com: $52.50 + $9.99 shipping (some left over)
  • 2 yards organza burnout from Fabricmartfabrics.com: $16.10 (shipped with silk suiting, a lot left over)
  • 10 yards metallic jacquard trim from Aliexpress store Lucky Zakka: $9.42
  • Thread, hooks/eyes, glass pearls, lining scraps, paint, glue, etc. from stash/left over from other projects: ~$5
  • Package of 9 mm gold-colored bead caps: $5.90 from Amazon (affiliate link); I have many left out of that 100 pack.
  • Gold chains: $0 (gifted from someone’s destash)
  • 3D printed Loki crown pieces: $32.12 including shipping from Parton Prints on Etsy

Total cost: $131.03 (with about $100 of that in the dress itself).

OTHER RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE POST (Amazon affiliate links below):

I had a lovely time wearing this to a Sistine Chapel art exhibit with my lovely friend Sara, who took a number of the pictures in this post.

Thank you for reading!

Shawl with Surprise Hood Pattern and Tutorial

Winter is here and I wanted a cute and cozy accessory that was a nice shawl, but also a surprise hood and scarf! I made this out of a wool knit jersey but other soft fabrics with a bit of drape would work as well. I added some pompom trim for whimsy but that is optional; this surprise hood would work well untrimmed, or finished with decorative stitching or other touches. This was inspired by Victorian mantelets with front lappets, knit sontags, chic old Hollywood head scarves, and modern cozy.

Note: I am a member of the Janome Maker program and this project was sewn on a Janome Skyline S9. (This post is sponsored by Janome but all content and opinions are mine).

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Soft fabric with drape (wool jersey, lightweight cable knit, rayon challis, lightweight wool suiting, etc.)
  • The yardage depends on how wide your fabric is. (I used 1.5 yards of a 58″ wide fabric by alternating the wide and narrow ends of the pattern pieces while cutting).
  • Thread, scissors, chalk, pins.
  • Optional: 5 yards pompom/ball fringe trim, lace, rickrack, etc.

DRAFTING THE PATTERN

Don’t worry if you don’t have any pattern drafting experience! I’ve broken it down into squares/rectangles/triangles so if you have a ruler you can draw these shapes. Start with these basic geometric shapes; I find it is easiest to draw the square first, then the rectangle, then the triangle on a large piece of paper. (It doesn’t have to be fancy or special drafting paper; a roll of gift wrap works great).

Next, draw the curves indicated in red on the diagram. Then, discard the shaded areas.

Now you have your pattern that you can cut out of paper and use to trace onto your fabric! (This includes 1/2 inch seam allowance. You can add more when cutting out your fabric if you want your shawl a little wider or are skipping any trim).

CONSTRUCTION

Cut out 4 identical pieces of fabric. 2 will be the fashion layer and 2 will be the lining. (If you want, you can use a different fabric for the lining but then the hood will be a different fabric when flipped up).

Sew the center back seam of the 2 fashion pieces together. Repeat for the lining layer. Press the seams flat.

Put the fashion and lining layers right sides together. If you plan to use pompom trim or lace, this is the time to sandwich your trim in between the two layers as shown, with the edges flush. (This is so that the pompom balls are “inside” when sewing the edges but will be on the “outside” when the shawl is flipped right side out). You will have trim everywhere except the neckline. (If you are using rickrack, instead of sandwiching it in the layers you should sew it to the fashion layer before it is attached to the lining).

Sew all along the outer edges of the shawl, except for the neckline, as shown in the earlier image.

Turn the right sides out through the opening in the neckline, exposing the pompom trim. Fold in the raw edges of the neckline and topstitch closed.

Right now you will have a long flat piece as shown below. (The ends are folded in so I could fit everything in the photo).

Pleat the neckline area (up to where the pompoms start) to fit the curve of your neck. The finished curved area should cover the back half of your neck. (If you have a dress form handy, an easy way to determine how to do the pleats is to pin the center back seam to the center back of the form, pin where the pompom trim starts to the shoulder point on the form, then pleat using the neck of the form as a guide). To keep the pleats in place, stitch down the pleats over the previous topstitch line either by machine or by hand.

Optional: Use one of the embroidery stitches to add some extra decorative details to your shawl. Some ideas include using a continuous stitch along the edges of the shawl, or putting a monogram on the tails. You can also do a decorative stitch along the edge after the shawl is sewn, rather than using pompom trim. (These examples are under the Decorative stitch menu on my Janome Skyline S9).

HOW TO WEAR

This can be worn multiple ways!

  1. Wear the draped back and front tails down as a shawl.
  2. Pull up the draped back over your head as a hood (with the tails in front or pushed behind your shoulders).
  3. Wrap one or two front tails around your neck like a scarf.
  4. Combine 2 and 3 for a chic hooded scarf look.

Which one is your favorite?

Thank you for reading! Be sure to follow me on Instagram @freshfrippery for the first peek at any new projects!

I am happy to provide all patterns and tutorials for for free on my blog. It is absolutely optional, but if you would like to donate towards my domain registration and the data costs of hosting the many photos on my site, consider buying me a “coffee”: https://ko-fi.com/freshfrippery.  Thank you!

Elven/ Moon Goddess/ Medieval Fantasy Dress

I made this fantasy costume back at the start of the year and realized I never wrote up a post! With the 20th anniversary of the Lord of the Rings films coming up, this is a good time to finally blog about this dress with elven vibes. I had fun walking around in nature, pretending to be regal, and hope to wear it to an actual event some time!

I made the main body of the dress using an embossed navy blue velvet, and the cape is a sheer netting with silver glitter stars.

I created moon phase appliqués out of silver glitter heat transfer vinyl with my Silhouette machine to decorate the front of the dress. (If you’re not familiar with HTV, the material is on a plastic backing. You iron on the appliqué and then peel off the plastic backing, revealing your design).

@freshfrippery

How I made the moon phase decals for my moon goddess costume #learnontitkok #crafty

♬ sonido original – xsunix

I glued crystals around the moons using E6000 Fabri Fuse (which is not the same as regular E6000). I glued larger crystals onto a piece of grosgrain ribbon to make the belt.

The pattern I used is Butterick B4827. It is a princess-seamed fantasy dress and I made very few modifications. I turned the lace-up back into a zipper back, and I added the cape. The cape is a long rectangle, pleated into the back neckline, with a cut open center slit part way down the back to access the zipper.

The front of the cape is sandwiched into part of the armscye shoulder seam, with excess removed, as explained in this video.

@freshfrippery

Reply to @sunflowerstardust how I put the cape on my moon goddess dress. #sewing #costume #learnontiktok

♬ original sound – freshfrippery

I made my flower crown by spray-painting sola wood flowers with Rustoleum silver spray paint. The base of the circlet is silver floral wire, and the flowers and a necklace are attached to the base using 26 gauge wire. I also glued crystals onto the petals using E600 Fabri Fuse. This video shows the process:

I have a few scraps left of the velvet and I am planning to make a pouch for carrying items. In my haste to whip up the long seams of this dress quickly, I serged all the panels together and forgot to add pockets!

Materials used:

  • 4 yards embossed navy velvet: $52.59 including tax and shipping from Amazon. The blue is sold out but there are other colors like black and ivory still available from Amazon (affiliate link). You can also find it at Fabric.com
  • 2 meters glitter star fabric: $19.84 including shipping from Aliexpress
  • Butterick B4827: $0 (previously used for another medieval princess project). However, I originally purchased it for $7.99 from Amazon (affiliate link).
  • Crystals, glue, flowers, thread, ribbon, wire, paint, etc. were items I already owned and mostly left over from other projects, but I’d estimate if I had to go buy that all new from a craft store I’d spend ~$20.

Total cost: $72.43 out of pocket plus miscellaneous stash items.

Thank you for reading! I took these photos on a cloudy day. Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to take some atmospheric night time photos!

A Hobbit Lady Costume for a Picnic

Last weekend I was invited to a hobbit picnic full of food, friends, and hairy hobbit feet! I didn’t have time to make a dress so I put together an outfit using items mostly from my closet. I’ve gotten questions about where I got my items so I will list my sources so you can put together your own hobbit costume!

My dress is an embroidered dirndl that I bought secondhand from eBay, but it was originally made by a company called Ernst Licht, an Oktoberfest/Tracht supplier.

My blouse is originally an Amazon one that I modified. It is called the “Floerns Women’s Square Neck Puff Sleeve Button Lace Elegant Top Blouse” (affiliate link). I removed the wide ruffled lace because it was a bit stiff and scratchy, and replaced it with a cheerful floral yellow trim. I used the same trim on the sleeves. (The elastic in the sleeves was a little tight so I removed some and covered it with the trim).

My wig is also from Amazon. It is called the “Karlery Women’s Fluffy Curly Dark Brown wig Halloween Cosplay Wig Anime Costume Party Wig” (affiliate link) and I thought it was very nice for $26.98! It was incredibly full and fluffy and a very natural-looking color and texture.

If you prefer a shorter wig with more defined curls, Arda makes a “Rosie Classic” that works well for hobbit costumes and some of my friends were wearing that wig at the picnic.

The mushroom crown was a birthday present from friends so I’m not sure where it was originally from, but if you search “mushroom tiara” on Etsy you’ll see items with a similar aesthetic.

For the hairy hobbit feet I hot-glued hair to a pair of nude sandals. (My wig was so full I was able to cut some curls from it without making a difference in the way it looked). You can get the same sandals “Shoe Land Falema Women’s Flip Flops Casual Thong flat sandals Comfort Slides” from Amazon (affiliate link) and I found them to true to my usual size.

I wore a mushroom in a glass dome necklace I bought on eBay many years ago. It’s no longer available there but I’ve seen some very cute ones if you search for “mushroom terrarium necklace.”

The apron I wore is a vintage one gifted by a friend. It is made from cute printed handkerchiefs! You could make your own by sewing together some handkerchiefs, or make a simple apron by just gathering up a rectangle of colorful fabric and adding waist ties.

I hope this post was helpful to you for putting together your own hobbit costume!

(Thanks La Dauphine Costuming for taking photos of me!)

Tutorial for Cozy Halloween Robe Made with Cuddle Minky Fabric 

As someone who loves both fall and Halloween it is the perfect time of year for me to make a cozy robe made of super soft Cuddle minky fabric using my Janome Skyline S9. The print I chose is called “Eye of Newt” by Shannon Fabrics. A lot of robes are only a single-layer but I wanted to have mine lined with a plush fabric for extra warmth and luxury. I used “Luxe Cuddle Glacier” (a textured black minky fabric) for my lining.

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Note: I am a member of the Janome Maker program and this skirt is sewn on a Janome Skyline S9. (This post is sponsored by Janome but all content and opinions are mine). All the fabric was gifted by Shannon Fabrics.

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED (exact amounts depend on your measurements and the width of your fabric):

  • 4 or more yards of 58-60 inch wide fashion fabric (minky or fleece fabric)
  • 2 or more yards of 58-60 inch wide lining (more minky for extra softness, or a non minky fabric if you want a lighter robe)
  • thread, elastic, pins, scissors, chalk, etc.

PATTERN:

Any wrap robe pattern with a shawl collar can be used as a base.  I adapted Butterick 6837 view A with modifications in order to turn it into a lined robe.  I used this pattern because I already had it on hand from making PJ bottoms for my family, but if you use this pattern you may want to make these same changes:

  • Keep in mind this pattern runs large and you should size down unless you have broad shoulders or a large torso.
  • I added a lining, which the pattern does not include instructions for, so my construction methods are adapted for that.
  • I shortened the robe to make it knee-length instead of calf-length.
  • The belt loops and pockets are very large and the recommended placement on the pattern is too low.
  • Since this robe is lined, it is not necessary to cut separate collar pattern pieces because the robe fronts already have the under collar attached, and you will cut out collar facings.

CUT OUT THESE PIECES OF FABRIC:

Robe (out of your fashion fabric): 2 fronts, 1 back, 2 collar facings, 2 sleeves, 2 sleeve cuffs, 2 sleeve facings, 2 pockets, 2 belt loops, and 1 belt

Lining (out of your solid fabric): 2 fronts, 1 back, 2 sleeves

FABRIC PREP:

Wash and dry your fabric before cutting and sewing. (Cuddle minky can be machine-washed on gentle in cold water, and then dried on low heat). Serge all sides of the pockets. The rest of the pieces do not need to be serged because raw seams will be hidden by the lining or turned inside (like the belt).

CONSTRUCTION OF THE ROBE FASHION LAYER:

  1. Make the belt loops by cutting out two rectangles that are 5 inches by 3 inches. You will make a tube by folding the right sides together lengthwise, stitching it down, and then turning right side out. (Alternatively you could make one long 10 inch tube and then cut it in half). Set aside.img_4
  2. Sew the 2 fronts to the back at the shoulder seams. Do not sew the side seams yet.
  3. Sew one sleeve cuff to the bottom of each sleeve.
  4. Sew the top of each sleeve to the shoulder where the front/back meets. img_5
  5. Pin the side front to the side back (right sides together). Pin belt loops at waist level, sandwiching them between the front and back, with the unfinished ends inside the robe.img_6
  6. Sew the sleeve seam and side seam shut as one long continuous seam, catching the belt loops as well. (The reason why you don’t assemble the sleeves and top separately and then try to sew them together is so you don’t need to carefully set the assembled sleeve into the armhole opening and try to make it fit).img_7
  7. To make the pockets fold all the edges of your pocket piece inwards, with the top part having a deeper fold. Pin the pocket to your robe fronts at the desired location (checking that they are at a comfortable level for your hands). Top-stitch the sides and bottom to sew the pocket into place. img_8img_9
  8. Stitch the two shawl collar facings at the center back seam. Then put the curved facing edge along the curved front edge and stitch together.img_10img_11
  9. To make the belt you will need to cut out a very long rectangle (78 inches x 5 inches) with diamond pointed ends. Fold the right sides together lengthwise and stitch all along the edges, leaving a 4 inch area unstitched towards the center of the belt. You will use this opening to pull the right sides out.
  10. After the belt is right side out, fold the raw edges in and pin the opening shut. Top stitch the opening closed, and continue to top stitch the entire perimeter of the belt. This will make the belt lie flat since the fabric is puffy. (See below for a comparison).img_12

CONSTRUCTION OF THE LINING:

The construction of the lining is very similar to that of the fashion fabric but you do not have pockets, belt loops, or the belt. You also need to note the directionality of the sleeve facing.

  1. Sew the 2 fronts to the back at the shoulder seams. Do not sew the side seams yet.
  2. Sew the sleeve facing to the bottom of the sleeve lining. If you have a print, sew the sleeve facing with the print upside down since it will be flipped up when the cuff is rolled.img_13
  3. Sew the top of each sleeve to the shoulder where the front/back meets.
  4. Sew the sleeve seam and side seam shut as one long continuous seam (as seen in step 6 of the robe construction).

ASSEMBLY:

  1. Put the lining inside the robe fashion layer, wrong sides together. (Put the lining sleeve into the robe sleeve).
  2. Pin the curved edge of the lining front to the robe front, then sew them together. (Remember that the robe front is already attached to the collar facing, forming a sandwich consisting of collar facing, robe front, and lining. The right sides of the printed collar facing and fronts are together, while the wrong sides of the front and lining are together).img_14
  3. Flip the collar facing inside the robe, covering part of the lining. To finish the collar facing: Top stitch the outer edge of the collar facing about a half inch from the edge. Fold the raw edge of the other side under and slip stitch closed to the lining (indicated by the pins). img_15img_16
  4. To finish the sleeve cuffs: Line up the bottom edges of the sleeve cuffs and sleeve facings and fold the raw edges of both inward. Top stitch the edge closed, then flip the finished cuff up to show off the sleeve facing.img_17
  5. Hem the bottom of the robe: Fold the bottom of the robe inside, covering the raw edge of the lining, then fold the robe fabric inward again to hide the raw edge. You may want to cut some excess lining before hemming to reduce bulk. Sew down the edges to finish the robe. img_18
  6. Put the belt through the belt loops and you have a finished robe!img_19

Thank you again Janome and Shanon Fabrics for making this project possible! I hope everyone has a beautiful fall season!img_2

Tutorial for Cute Mushroom Skirt

I adore the red and white toadstool mushrooms known as Amanita muscaria (aka fly agaric) and wanted to make a cute skirt inspired by them. I’ve worn it in my photos with a monogram cardigan and big fluffy petticoat for a 1950s style look, but this skirt could be styled with a romantic shirt and a flower crown for a cottage core outfit. The front half of the skirt has a flat waistband for a smooth look while the back half of the skirt has an elasticated waistband for comfort and for adjustability!

Note: I am a member of the Janome Maker program and this skirt is sewn on a Janome Skyline S9. (This post is sponsored by Janome but all content and opinions are mine).

SKILL LEVEL: Beginner/intermediate

TIME REQUIRED: 4-5 hours

WHAT YOU WILL NEED (exact amounts depend on your measurements):

  • 2 or more yards of red cotton fabric
  • 1 yard or various scrap pieces of white cotton fabric
  • 3-4 yards or more of white pleated trim or lace
  • strip of interfacing the same size as your waistband
  • thread, elastic, pins, scissors, chalk, etc.

Before you begin you’ll want to take a few basic measurements: your waist circumference, and the desired length of your skirt. For the latter you’ll want to measure from the smallest part of your waist to wherever you would like the skirt to stop (above the knee, below the knee, etc.) Use the diagram below to convert those measurements into A, B, and C for the pattern pieces.

Using the pattern diagram as a guide, use chalk to mark the rectangles on red fabric. Cut out your front and back skirt panels, front waistband, and back waistband. Use the front waistband as a pattern to cut out a piece of interfacing the same size, then iron or sew the interfacing to the front waistband.

Note: the 5 inch width of the waistband pieces will result in a final 2 inch tall waistband (once it is folded over with 1/2 inch seam allowances). If you want a shorter or taller waistband you can adjust the width when cutting.

Fold the red waistband pieces in half lengthwise and iron to mark a crease down the center.

Cut circles and ovals out of your white fabric in a variety of sizes from 3-5 inches wide. These will become the mushroom spots. The number of spots depends on personal preference and the size of your spots and skirt, but for reference I have 28 total on my skirt.

Pin the mushroom spots onto both the front and back skirt panels in a scattered, random pattern. Leave enough room at the top, bottom, and sides for seam allowance and hemming. (There are half inch seam allowances on the side and top, and you will want the bottom 2 inches free).

Use your machine’s appliqué stitch (shown below on my Skyline S9) to attach all the spots to your skirt panels. (If you do not have an appliqué stitch on your machine model you can use a zigzag stitch but it is recommended you use a white fabric not prone to fraying). If you are using the appliqué stitch start with your needle just outside the mushroom spot.

Sew up the side seams and press open flat.

ATTACHING THE BACK WAISTBAND:

Sew the WRONG side of the back skirt panel to the RIGHT side of the back waistband with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. (This means you will start by putting one of the long edges of the waistband against the top inside edge of the skirt). You should have the ends of the waistband extend slightly past the seam. Sew down the long edge then flip up the waistband up, creating a clean finish on the inside of the skirt.

Using the ironed center crease to help you, fold half of the waistband over towards the outside of the skirt, then tuck under the seam allowance.

Pin down the edge of the waistband on the outside of the skirt and topstitch. You will now have a channel to thread your elastic through.

Cut a piece of elastic the same length as what your final back waistband will be. (This is half your waist measurement plus another inch, for 1/2 inch seam allowance on each end). I used a 1 inch wide piece of elastic to reduce bulk, but you can use up to 2 inches wide if preferred.

Insert the elastic through the back waistband channel, which will cause the waistband to gather up. (A tip: Use a safety pin to anchor one end of the elastic to the waistband so it doesn’t get lost as you use a second closed safety pin attached to the other end of the elastic to thread it through the channel).

Securely stitch down each end of the elastic inside the waistband channel.

ATTACHING THE FRONT WAISTBAND:

Gather the front skirt panel across the top edge into a final width equal to half your waist size. To do this, sew 2 rows of straight stitches 1/4″ apart, then pull both threads at the same time to gather the skirt into the desired width.

Attach the front waistband in a similar manner to the back waistband by first sewing the WRONG side of the skirt panel to the RIGHT side of the waistband. Make sure the ends of the front waistband (with the seam allowance folded over) overlaps the raw edges of the back waistband. Flip up the waistband and turn your skirt over to look at the outside.

Similar to the method used for the back waistband, flip half of the front waistband over to the outside front of the skirt, tuck in the raw seam allowance, and pin down, covering the gathered portion.

Top-stitch the front waistband along the bottom edge and the sides where it meets the back waistband. Also top-stitch across the top edge of the entire top front/back waistbands of the skirt.

ADDING TRIM:

To mimic the gills of the mushroom you’ll want to add trim to the hem of the skirt. I’ve used a pleated chiffon trim but you can also use lace or a plain white fabric ruffle.

Measure the bottom circumference of your skirt. You will need to cut some trim the same length plus an extra inch for seam allowance. Sew the ends of the trim together to make a big circle. Pin the top edge of the trim UPSIDE DOWN to the hem of the skirt.

Remove the original pins as you fold the bottom up, then over again, to cover all raw edges and re-pin. Stitch where the pins indicate.

Press the hem flat. If your trim is sheer you’ll want to press the red fabric upwards behind the main skirt panel so that it doesn’t hang down behind the trim. (This folded hem is to add a little extra body to the hem of the skirt. If you prefer, you can also serge the trim to the skirt but should shorten the panels and trim accordingly).

Enjoy your mushroom skirt!