The Grand Galloping Gala AKA Lily’s and My Birthday Party: Part Three

February 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

Part One: Ears, Tails, Wings, Scavenger Hunt Items
Part Two: Dress and Hair

Part Three: PARTY TIME!


There are so many great photos from the day that I really couldn’t post them all here.  I picked out some of my favourites, and invite you to head over to my Facebook Album to view the rest!


The Grand Entrance of Princess Twilight Sparkle and Princess Cadance!

I didn’t have a chance to make myself a dress, nor finish up a crown.  Amazingly enough though, I happened to have the perfect vintage purple dress I picked up thrifting with fluttery sleeves that blended with my wings!  I also put lots of flowers in my hair, because, why not?






If you would like to see more photos,please head on over to my Facebook Album to view the rest!


Part One: Ears, Tails, Wings, Scavenger Hunt Items
Part Two: Dress and Hair

Part Three: PARTY TIME!


The Grand Galloping Gala AKA Lily’s and My Birthday Party: Part Two

February 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

Part One: Ears, Tails, Wings, Scavenger Hunt Items
Part Two: Dress and Hair

Part Three: PARTY TIME!


My original and highly ambitious plan for Lily’s dress was to make a full on Victorian version of Twilight Sparkle’s coronation dress.  But as party time slowly crept closer, I realized I simply wasn’t going to have time, so I had to drastically change plans and scale down.  Lily has this fantastic, UBER pouffy purple crinoline and I thought it would be a great base for a princess dress, so decided on doing a 1950’s style.  Going through my pattern collection, I settled upon Simplicity 1558 as I thought the collar on view 3 would translate well into the yellow shoulder part on the coronation gown.

I decided to make the dress in three individual parts – the bodice, the white skirt and then the pink and yellow overskirt.

Starting with the bodice, I followed the body of the pattern exactly as is, but made alterations for the collar to be wider, and made yellow runched sleeve cuffs.  The fabric I picked to use was a gorgeous and perfect colour and even had little glitter flecks on it, but holy moly, it was awful, absolutely AWFUL to sew with.  There’s a reason I generally stick with natural fibres, but Lily did need a shiny dress so I suffered through with it.  To help sew – I used a combination of tear away stabilizer along with interlining the entire bodice, including the collar, sleeves and cuffs with 100% cotton muslin.

And here is where I will tell you a deep dark secret that I am utterly ashamed of.  I procrastinated for DAYS on doing the button holes and buttons because I just loathed sewing with the fabric so much and then all of a sudden it was PARTY DAY and I hadn’t done them yet!  My friend Angie suggested that I should just glue strips of velcro on it, and usually I’d be all aghast at that idea but instead I was all over it like a bad rash.  I busted out that hot glue gun and glued those strips on.

The funny thing is, even the hot glue hated that fabric.  At first, it looked like it was going to hold and when Lily was dressed, it worked — but then we realized that Lily had her blouse on backwards and as we went to take it off to put it on correctly,  the glue  and velcro started peeling off the fabric!  So rather than taking it off, we tucked her blouse in tightly and we all decided that it actually looked really kinda cute backwards – so we kept it as is and her wings hid the part that was coming undone at the back.  After the party – I pulled the velcro strips off and also peeled the glue off without ANY damage to the fabric, so I guess I can still do those gosh darned button holes after all!

ANYHOW.  After the blouse – I made the skirt.  It was a simple matter of just sewing a great big rectangle of fabric together and doing an elastic waist.  Even though Twilight doesn’t have ruffles on her coronation gown, the white skirt looked too plain on it’s own – so I added the ruffles.  Next, I drafted the pink overskirt by pining some muslin around the top of the skirt and sketching in where I wanted the scallops – I used that muslin as a pattern for the pink fabric.  The yellow over bustle didn’t require a pattern – I just draped the fabric until I was happy with how it looked, then sewed in place.  I decided the easiest and most comfortable way for Lily to wear this all was to attach the pink and yellow overskirt to a wide yellow belt, which fastened with velcro.  Then centre front, a white bow with a big glitter vinyl Twilight Sparkle star.

For the shoes we got lucky and found the perfect pair of gold shoes from the Disney Store, which happened to be on sale.  They are “Belle” shoes.

I cut off everything on the front and pried the Belle figure off the cameo base with a knife.  I re-used the gold bow and cameo base  and glued the glitter vinyl stars down very securely on the cameo base and then an acrylic yellow/gold rhinestone in the middle..  So far, the shoes have survived a rough and tumble wear during the party and being worn all around the house – so I am feeling pretty comfortable that they should stay attached!

I made Lily’s wings out of fleece rather than foam so she could have more elaborate wings.  Like the other wings, I could a great picture of Twilight’s wings and printed it out to use as a pattern.  In hindsight, I wish I had of stretched the pattern length wise to deepen the wing, because I forgot to take into account how much stuffing something can shrink the size as it becomes dimensional rather than flat.  Regardless, I think they turned out cute and Lily definitely loved them.




Lily asked for me to be Princess Cadance.  The largest hurdle was definitely going to be the hair.  I’ve never done cosplay, but after some research on cosplay websites, I discovered that you CAN dye wigs, and that the process, while messy, isn’t difficult!  Whoohoo!  After hunting around, I purchased a great purple and white wig, leaving me to just worry about pink and yellow:

Apparently there are two methods to dyeing wigs – the sharpie method or the acrylic ink method – both methods require being mixed with 70% isopropyl alcohol. I chose to go the acrylic ink route and ordered FW acrylic ink from Dick Blick in yellow and a magenta.  There are also two main methods for application, spray bottle or sponge.  Because I had to do this inside, I figured the sponge method would be a little safer.

I covered my table with plastic, then paper towels, then went full steam ahead with tackling it.  It was a messy and hairy process (har har) but it worked!



I made my wings out of foam.  Princess Cadance’s wings are actually a gradient colour – from pink close to the body to purple at the wings.  I had to take a bit of artistic liberty in translating that with non-gradient colours.  I followed the same process as the Rainbow Dash wings – finding a good picture of Cadance’s wings, printing, tracing on foam, then gluing.  My wings had MANY more popsicle sticks glued inside for support, however!



Horns were really quite simple to make.  Fleece triangles sewn, stuffed and stitched closed.  Then I wrapped thread around them, starting from the top, to create the grooves.  For Lily’s and the guest’s horns, they were glued onto headbands.  For mine and Shining Armor, we just threaded them in through the base of our wigs.  The itty bitty horn was for baby Pumpkin Cake, who I made a baby hat for.  Absolutely nopony was left behind at this party!



Unfortunately there were a number of items on my to-do list that I didn’t get around to doing

  • Make the jewel for Twilight Sparkle
  • Make a proper crown for Twilight Sparkle
  • Make a crown for Princess Cadance
  • Make a necklace for Princess Cadance
  • Make a dress for Princess Cadance
  • Finalize drink and food labels.


Part One: Ears, Tails, Wings, Scavenger Hunt Items
Part Two: Dress and Hair

Part Three: PARTY TIME!


The Grand Galloping Gala of 2014: AKA Lily’s and My Birthday Party: Part One

February 5, 2014 in Crafts, MLP: Friendship is Magic, Sewing

Because I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I made the items and typing it all ended up being quite lengthy, I’m splitting this into a few separate posts:

Part One: Ears, Tails, Wings, Scavenger Hunt Items
Part Two: Dress and Hair

Part Three: PARTY TIME!

Shortly after Halloween last year, my daughter mentioned to me that she wanted a party for her 4th birthday, specifically a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic party.  We haven’t had a birthday party for her yet and seeing her birthday is also MY birthday (yes!  We were both born on the same day!) — we’ve usually spent the day going on a trip somewhere to do fun things.  Because she finally asked for a party — we figured why not?  Let’s do it!

I felt significantly recovered enough from Halloween to tackle another large crafting project, so I started thinking about how to make the day really fun and memorable, not just for us, but for the kids and adults attending as well.  It was around this point that I decided that everyone…er, I mean, everypony MUST have a pair of ears and a cutie mark!  And the colts and fillies all had to have tails as well.

Lily told me that she wanted to be Princess Twilight Sparkle, and absolutely insisted that my husband and I should be Shining Armor and Princess Cadance.

After sending the invites, we would have a maximum count of 10 children (and one baby) in attendance then adults, a combination of parents and my friends.  For the kids, I figured doing the mane six plus four of the main supporting characters:

  • Twilight Sparkle (Lily)
  • Rarity
  • Fluttershy
  • Pinkie Pie
  • Rainbow Dash
  • Applejack
  • Scootaloo
  • Apple Bloom
  • Sweetie Belle
  • Big Macintosh

For the adults – I picked out:

  • Cloud Chaser
  • Derpy
  • Sheriff Silverstar
  • Daring Do
  • Chance-a-Lot (aka Caramel)
  • Sea Swirl (aka Seafoam)
  • Octavia
  • Donut Joe
  • Cherilee
  • DJ Pon3
  • Nurse Redheart
  • Bon Bon
  • Steamer
  • Skidoo (a non-canon pony made for my friend)
  • Zecora
  • Dr. Hooves
  • Mrs. Cake (and Pumpkin Cake for the baby!)
  • Thunderlane
  • Lucky Clover
  • Lemon Hearts
  • Prim Hemline
  • Red Gala
  • Merry May


Unfortunately I have a terrible habit of having all the intentions to take step-by-step photos, only to find myself finished with the project and not many photos taken of the actual making part, so I apologize in advance for the lack of adequate to-do shots!

Seeing I had a lot to sew, I really had to prioritize my time.  All the items for the children had to be made first, then Lily’s dress — and if I had time after Lily’s dress, ears for the adults.  Thankfully I managed to just get everything done in the nick of time!  And by that, I mean, I was up hot gluing like it was nobody’s business very early on the party morning.  Hah!



I raided the local dollar store for wide headbands and luckily for me, they came in packs of 3!  The only problem with them was that they were lace/open style – BUT – absolutely nothing a strip of card stock and hot glue couldn’t fix!  This provided a fantastic base to be able to glue the ears and fabric band down.

The ears were made of fleece, recycling the ear pattern I made for Lily’s Rainbow Dash jacket.  Fleece and a fabric headband was cut out in the appropriate colour for the ponies, sewn then turned out.  Again, I used stuffing from an IKEA pillow (insert link – I LOVE using this for stuffing!) and then they were machine stitched to the fabric band.  Once all the ears were stitched to the fabric band, they were hot glued down to the headband, first by gluing them down along the top, then wrapping the layers of fleece under and gluing for extra security.



For the bangs/fringes, I pulled up front views of the ponies and then sketched each pony hairstyle the best I could sized to fit the headband.  I wanted to keep the styles as true to the show as possible. The tails were a little trickier to sketch as I couldn’t find any back view references, so I had to try to convert the side view tail to a “back” view.  The hardest tail by far was Rarity’s.

My amazing friend, Angie, worked hard cutting out all the fabric for these using her rotary cutter, because after cutting all those fleece ears and saddle bags with scissors, my hand was about to drop off!

Both the bangs and tails were constructed of two layers of fleece – a backing layer in a solid colour, and the top layer and in some cases, a layer of interfacing as well.  Some ponies only had single coloured tails, others had multi coloured (Rainbow Dash, for example).  For all bangs and tails, I found it was much easier to just use tacky glue to glue the front and back together, then once the glue was dry, for the children’s items – everything was top-stitched.  For the adults, I didn’t have time to top stitch the bangs (no tails for adults), so left them as is.  They still looked great.

The bangs were attached to the headband by hot gluing to the ears.  When I sketched out the hairstyles, I made sure to add extra fabric like a tab to use to anchor the bangs behind the ears.  The tails and two alligator clips each glued to the back side, which attached to the back of skirts/pants and even dresses quite securely.

For the children – all their bangs/fringes and tails were top stitched.  For the adults, the bangs were left as is.



For the party guests, I made wings using sheets of foam, popsicle sticks and ribbon!  I found a great picture of Rainbow Dash’s wings and printed it out to use as a pattern.  From there, I traced the wings out onto foam sheets, hot glued popsicle sticks for support, hot glued ribbon for ties, then the foam on top.  They worked out much better than I expected and were quite fast to make — and ALSO completely survived the rough and tumble jumping of the jump castle!



For the children, I embroidered two lots of cutie marks using my machine (Brother SE-400 for those curious).  I purchased the cutie mark embroidery file from E the Pony.  One cutie mark was turned into a badge to wear, and the other cutie mark was for gluing onto the saddle bags.  I just absolutely loved how fantastic these turned out!



I unfortunately didn’t have enough time to embroider cutie marks for the adults, so adults received printed cutie mark badges.  They still looked cute!


I made pony cards including the image, name and description of each pony to go with the ears and cutie marks



We hired a jumping castle for the party – but wanted at least two games the kids would enjoy playing.  I chose to do pin the cutie mark on Twilight Sparkle – and for the second game, I decided to do a scavenger hunt where the children had to find items from the six mane ponies.

I decided to make saddle bags for each of the pony and brand them with their cutie mark, because every pony would need to put their goodies somewhere.  The guests had brown saddle bags and Lily had a purple one.

Then after thinking – I came up with the following for the items:

  • Twilight Sparkle – spell journal
  • Rarity – gems
  • Fluttershy - mini Angel plushies
  • Applejack – mini apple plashes
  • Rainbow Dash – rainbow ribbon wands
  • Pinkie Pie – party favours.


With the exception of Rarity and Pinkie Pie, all other items were made:

The spell journals were made from scrap glitter vinyl I have and I made them reusable, so once the book inside is full, it can be replaced.  The journal also came with some pony stickers and either a Pinkie Pie or Rainbow Dash mini-pen.

For Rarity’s gems, I ordered a pound of table scatter/ pirate bootie gems from eBay and divided them evenly over 10 small organza bags.  The leftover gems that couldn’t fit in the bag were scattered on the ground and free for all.  The great thing about the gems was that a number of the larger ones had pre-drilled holes in them — so they could be made into necklaces or other fun things.

For Fluttershy’s Angel and Applejack’s apples – I made them all using fleece.  For Angel, I purchased a great embroidery file from Etsy, embroidered him onto fleece first, then turned him into a plushie.  For the apples, there was no embroidery required – just straight up sewing the fleece and stuffing.  A huge thanks to my friend Sandi who stitched all these closed for me!

Rainbow Dash’s ribbon wands were made from wooden dowels that I inserted eye screws in on one end.  Using the eye screws, I hung all the wands so I could spray paint them, then once dry – ribbon in the colour of the rainbow was threaded through the eyes screws and tied.

Pinkie Pie’s party favours was a small white organza bag filled with two temporary pony tattoos, a noise maker and a mini bubble bottle.



During the whole crafting process, Lily wanted to participate.  Here are the items she made:

Picture of Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy and Applejack

And a mask for me:

Part One: Ears, Tails, Wings, Scavenger Hunt Items
Part Two: Dress and Hair

Part Three: PARTY TIME!

Vintage Reference E-Books

December 9, 2013 in Books, Vintage Fashion

Things have been a little quiet around here since Halloween.  Not only did I need some decompressing time from the francaise marathon, I was riddled with a number of nasty colds one after the other. No fun!

While recuperating, I decided to spend some time on  Every other month or so I spend a few hours browsing through researching and reading all the wonderful antique and vintage books, and it finally occurred to me the other day that maybe I should make and then share the list of all the various, interesting books I find.  So, here it is! (you can also find the link at the top of the page, next to “about me”)

The list so far contains 538 downloadable for free books covering various topics such as:

  • Fashion & Costume History
  • Antique/Vintage Fashion Magazines & Books
  • Fashion Plates
  • Clothing, Millinery & Other Fashion Goods Reviews and Catalogues
  • Men’ Fashion
  • Etiquette & Manners
  • Miscellaneous Interests
  • Barber/Hairstyling
  • Fashion & Costume Drawing and Design
  • Garment Drafting, Pattern & Sewing
  • Re-Make / Make & Mend
  • Millinery
  • Crafts & Fancy Work
  • Fabric Samplers
  • Ornamental and Decorative Design
  • Wall Paper Samples (because, why not?)
  • Interior Decorating
  • Japan

As I find new books, I’ll be updating.  In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this list and find some interesting books to read!

Halloween 2013 Part 4: Questions & Answers Part 2

November 8, 2013 in Refashion, Rococo Love, Sewing, Vintage Fashion

Part 1: Construction of Lily’s 18th Century Robe a la Francaise Princess Dress
Part 2: The Reveal of Lily’s 18th Century Robe a la Francaise Princess Dress!
Part 3: Questions & Answers
Part 4: Question & Answers Part 2

Wow!  More questions from people!  I was asked if I’d mind sharing how I made the patterns and/or the resources I used.  I was going to add this to Part 1 or on the end of Part 3, but it’s really quite long, so I decided to put it in a new post.

What patterns or resources for patterns did you use for the various items?


I researched what an 18th century chemise looked like and pretty much just winged it by eyeballing the general shape and draping on “Rainbow Lily”. This particular image and website was of great help to me:

Lily’s chemise had her sleeve length match with the diagonal length of the under arm gore rather than being long sleeved, I also did the neckline with a drawstring, which you can see in this photo.  If you look very carefully at the shoulder area on the left side of the photograph, you can see where I made my sewing mistake….the seam allowance for that side is out on the right side, rather than the wrong side.  Oops.  That’s what happens when you try to sew late at night when you really should just be in bed:

If you look at many 18th century paintings, you can see that the chemise often just peeked out from under the bodice and can be embellished with ruffles or lace around the neckline. You can see how it just peaks out from Lily’s costume in some of the photos.



I made an unboned stay for Lily, top stitched not only to make it look like it was boned, but to also fuse the fabrics together.  I used three layers of fabric to give it a good thickness and foundation because I knew I’d be sewing the crescent waist pads on it and it had to hold the weight of the skirts.

While researching 18th century stays, I came across this blog and the mention of using a custom corset generator to create a base pattern for an Elizabethan era stay, which from there, she altered the base pattern to be along the shape of an 18th century stay.

So I fired up the custom corset generator:

And plugged in Lily’s measurements, and this is what I got:

Then I used this image from to make alterations to the base stay pattern to create the 18th century shape.  I eliminated the tabs along the sides because honestly, gosh, I didn’t want to have to bind them!  Haha!  Plus, I was going to do the waist pads:

I just did Lily’s corset in four pieces – if I had of been boning it, it would have been cut up smaller.  This is how it looked after I sewed it together and before the top stitching:

I honestly wasn’t thinking it through, and created more work for myself by sewing this the wrong side together and turning inside out.  It made the binding much harder to sew through on my regular sewing machine, and I had to pull my vintage Singer out — which — completely saved the day and I ended up using it for the bulk of the costume.   As for the crescent pads – I just eyeballed how big I thought they needed to be, then made them and sewed them on. I actually sewed them to the stay on the underside of the pad to help hold the pad up a little.



I used this fabulous tutorial from The Dreamstress:

I eyeballed off Lily roughly how wide I wanted her skirts to be with a piece of fabric and then worked out measurement wise from there.  The boning I used was a thin, yet flexible plastic tubing found in the plumbing part of Home Depot.  It was tightly coiled when I opened the package, so after measuring the boning channels and cutting the plastic tubing to length, I pulled out my hair dryer and ran the tubing under it slowly, but very carefully so nothing would catch fire.  The heat of the hair dryer straightened out the tubing very quickly – then I was able to insert into the boning channels and have them curve perfectly.


Petticoat / Underskirt:

I used a combination of:


the only difference is that I really wanted to utilize the existing hems of the bed sheets rather than hemming them myself (I LOATHE HEMMING! haha!) and I wanted them to sit nice and straight – so from both of these photos you can see that I positioned the hem first:

and pleated around the waist. I actually pulled most of the pleats to either side of the skirt following how the Robe a la Francaise was pleated at the sides and kept the front relatively pleat free so it would sit nice and straight. I hand basted the pleats down, cut off the excess fabric and then sewed the waistbands on. I essentially followed the same process for both the petticoat and the underskirt.


Robe a la Francaise

As I mentioned in Part 1 – I used this pattern:

In order to draft it to Lily’s size, I kind of cheated.  I measured Lily from shoulder to floor, then in Photoshop, I created a print size document (300dpi) a few inches taller than the measurements I took from Lily and resized the pattern until the very front shoulder to floor part of the pattern matched Lily’s shoulder to floor measurements. Then I just printed out the top half of the body section (I had to copy/merge letter sized sections – paste them in new document, print them out, then match them up). It took me two resizes and three toiles until I was happy with the size. Luckily with the Robe a la Francaise- you don’t need to do an entire toile – you can just do it from the waist up.  For my toile – I was using vintage muslin I had picked up from the thrift store – so I just used the entire width, which turned out to be just a few inches shorter than Lily’s measurements.

Once I had my pattern perfected, while the construction actually seemed really straight forward, I did find these blogs invaluable:


Trimmings, etc

I reviewed a lot of different Robe a la Francaise and other 18th century dresses and fashion plates on Pinterest to get a rough idea.  In particular, I did pay attention to those with a similar floral pattern and cotton and wanted to do a self trim with the floral fabric, however I ran out of the floral fabric and had to improvise.  Researching indicated that there were instances of contrast trimmings, so I felt comfortable doing just that. As for the blue trim,  these two particular sleeve flounces inspired me with my choice of the pom-pom gimp trim:



You may have noticed that I used my scallop pinking shears ALL OVER THE PLACE!  While this definitely helped with saving a huge amount of time with hemming, it is also period correct and the reason why I did it. However, the pinking done on original garments was done using a different (and far more efficient, I might add) method with slightly different shapes and if I decide to continue with costuming, I think I need to get my mitts on one of these tools!  Here are a few good examples:


At the end of the post – you can see a pinking tool in action:

Various examples of pinking:



I hope this was of use for some, and if you have any further questions that I haven’t covered, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Halloween 2013 Part 3: Questions & Answers

November 6, 2013 in Refashion, Rococo Love, Sewing, Vintage Fashion

Part 1: Construction of Lily’s 18th Century Robe a la Francaise Princess Dress
Part 2: The Reveal of Lily’s 18th Century Robe a la Francaise Princess Dress!
Part 3: Questions & Answers
Part 4: Question & Answers Part 2

Gosh!  Everyone!  Thank you so much for all the amazing comments, shares and reblogs. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought this would be so popular!

There have been a few reoccurring questions asked about the costume, so I thought I’d whip up a quick post and answer them.

How long did it take and how on Earth did you manage to do this with a toddler around?

I mentioned in Part 1 that it took around 72 hours to make – 8 days of at least 8 to 9 hours a day.  I’m a freelance designer and a SAHM, which allowed me to work on this through the day.  I’d start sewing around 7:30am taking breaks periodically to feed/play with Lily, who was playing in the living room right next to me. Then I’d take her to bed around 5:30pm – 6pm (Lily is an early bird and wakes up at 5:30am every morning – so early to bed for her!) and then I continued sewing until around 9pm or until I started making silly mistakes because of being tired.

As for how I managed to do it with a toddler around?  For two of the days, Rena, a good friend of ours came over and occupied Lily for the day.  On the weekend, my husband kept her distracted, and for the other 4 days, she played in the living room next to me and every time she looked like she was about to get under my feet, I told her I needed to do a fitting which made her scamper back to her toys quick smart…haha!  To be honest though — this was the first sewing project I’ve done recently where Lily actually let me sew without too much drama.  She’s very much into the “imaginative play” phase right now and can occupy herself for hours at a time.  Usually, she’s insisting on helping me every step of the way.  She must have really wanted this dress.


Her HAIR!  OMG, THE HAIR! Is that her real hair?!?!!!

Yes, that is her real hair!  Lily’s hair falls into natural ringlets and when pulled straight, reaches her posterior.  This meant it was juuuust long enough to use rather than getting a wig (which I wondered, how do you keep a wig on a toddler?).

The inspiration for Lily’s hair and hair accessories was this image of Marie Antoinette:

I used this tutorial from the American Duchess – but super sized the pouf, because, why not?  I also did a back roll along the nape of her neck using this fashion plate as a reference:

These were the tools I used.  Not pictured is the gazillionty billion bobby pins I used:

Hair pouf!  Lily thought I was the most awesome mom evah for making her this neat squooshy ball to play with. Hah!

I also made some side rolls, but after doing Lily’s hair – I decided she looked best without them:

When we were ready to do her hair, I explained to Lily that if she sat still, not only would she get to have make-up done for Halloween, I’d also buy her a cake-pop.  A shameless bribe, I know!  We sat down in front of the television and put My Little Pony on.  This was the end result (and Lily asking me to get out of the way so she could continue to watch MLP).  The heart beauty mark was done because Lily loves hearts and didn’t want it to be just a circle.

I wanted to powder her hair, but Lily refused to let me.  In the end, I think it worked out best that we didn’t powder because I love the contrast of the dark brown against the pastels of her ensemble.

As for how well her hair held up?  Amazingly well given all the running, head bopping, throwing herself on the ground rolling and one epic jumping castle marathon her hair stayed put!  Even I’m still mildly shocked it didn’t fall out!

This is Lily enjoying her bribe-earnt cake-pop for letting me do her hair.

And if you click through here, you can see her jumping on the jumping castle at night!


All that work for a 3 year old who’ll grow out of it tomorrow? What were you thinking?!?!

Believe it or not, I WAS thinking! Rainbow Lily’s measurements ended up being around 1.5″ larger than Real Lily’s measurements. Rather than trying to compensate and make everything smaller – I figured if I used Rainbow Lily’s measurements, plus a smidgen more, we’d get longer use out of the outfit. Additionally – practically EVERYTHING is adjustable both width and length. I never chopped off the excess fabric on the robe when I hemmed it, I just folded and tucked it under and stitched it down. This means as Lily grows, I can just re-hem the robe and slightly readjust and reposition the ruffles to accommodate for the extra length. As for the petticoat and underskirt? I just need to take the ruffles off and drop it by how ever many inches required, then re-sew. I estimate Lily has at least another 2 years worth of use from the Robe a la Francaise and stay (corset) – and a good 4 years use from the paniers, petticoat and underskirt!


Did you really make it with bed sheets?

I sure did!

Here are some of the same sheets found on eBay — although the prices make my eyes water!  I only paid $2.59 each for three of the sheets and $1.29 each for the other two:

The floral bed sheet:

The Ralph Lauren bed sheet:

Thrifted bed sheets are fabulous and have so many different uses.  If you feel a little icky about using vintage/thrifted bed sheets or pillow cases, don’t!  When I find a potentially interesting sheet, I always double check it in the store to ensure it has no scary looking stains and when I get home, I ALWAYS pre-wash them before use in hot water and with a tiny bit of bleach. Even for the colour sheets.  That way, they are very nice and clean by the time I’m ready to use them for sewing.


A Note About Gender Stereotypes

A few people expressed their disdain with regard to gender stereotyping and the color pink.  I definitely understand the concern, however for me, the amusing thing is we don’t perpetrate gender stereotypes in this house with Lily.  She’s been allowed to play with what ever toys she likes and has an equal number of cars, dinosaurs, ponies and dolls that all get equal play along with a gigantic LEGO/DUPLO table that has seen great use. She’s worn what ever clothing she likes regardless of gender and there’s nothing she loves more than to jump, climb, dig (roll, if I’d let her) in dirt and all sorts of things.  She pretend cooks, but also does pretend home improvements.

On her own accord with no prompting from her father or I, Lily decided she liked princesses and that her favourite colour is pink (and lately, purple).  Lily’s current love for princesses originate from the vintage fairy tale books that she has – the ones with all sorts of fantastical illustrations and not Disney.  Lily is a lover of all things fancy, but also a serious tomboy — she’s found the perfect balance for herself, and I’m more than happy to let her climb that tree and dig in dirt while dressed like a princess.  Ok ok – maybe not dig in dirt while wearing THIS particular princess dress….at least, not until after Halloween.

Last year, she wanted to be a pirate for Halloween, but was VERY specific about wanting to be a boy pirate with a moustache like her father.  This year, she was very specific about wanting to be a princess wearing a pink dress.  If she had of asked to be a Giger alien, a transformer or whatever, I would have figured out how to make it happen for her.

Are you a cosplayer? Do you do child pageants?

Nope and nope.  I’ve never cosplayed in my life and we do not (and will not) participate in child pageants.  I just enjoy sewing (a huge thank you to my Mom who taught me as a child how to sew!) and have an interest in historical and off beat fashion. I like to challenge myself to at least one epic sewing project a year so my skills don’t get too rusty, and Halloween seems to be the best time to do it!

Who took the snazzy non-camera phone photographs?

My husband! You can see his photography gallery here:

Can you be my mom?  Will you adopt me?

If I lived in a mansion and you all promised to wear nothing but 18th century clothing, I’d adopt you all in a heartbeat.  But alas, I live in an itty bitty apartment with no double French doors to accommodate our paniers, so for now, the answer is regrettably: No.  I’ll let you know if things change, though!


Halloween 2013 Part 2: The Reveal of Lily’s 18th Century Robe a la Francaise Princess Dress!

November 2, 2013 in Rococo Love, Sewing, Vintage Fashion

Please meet Princess Lily!






My final verdict?  I am honestly surprised I managed to pull this off.  And while I knew Lily would look good in the outfit, I didn’t expect it to be so darn adorable!  Oh, I must also state for the record, I’m amazed she let me do her hair, which managed to stay up after a marathon jumping castle session.  All in all, this was a really fantastic learning experience and I may have been bitten by the historical costuming bug….

If you would like to see a few candid photos of Lily from Halloween, please visit my Facebook page:

If you are interested in the construction progress – please visit the other posts:
Part 1: Construction of Lily’s 18th Century Robe a la Francaise Princess Dress
Part 2: The Reveal of Lily’s 18th Century Robe a la Francaise Princess Dress!
Part 3: Questions & Answers
Part 4: Question & Answers Part 2

Halloween 2013 Part 1: Construction of Lily’s 18th Century Robe a la Francaise Princess Dress!

November 2, 2013 in Rococo Love, Sewing, Vintage Fashion

I’m going to split the construction and costume reveal over two posts because there are a lot of photos to share! ETA: Well – lots of questions have been asked, so there are now four separate posts with various details!

Part 1: Construction of Lily’s 18th Century Robe a la Francaise Princess Dress
Part 2: The Reveal of Lily’s 18th Century Robe a la Francaise Princess Dress!
Part 3: Questions & Answers
Part 4: Question & Answers Part 2

I apologize in advance with how long this is — If you’re not interested in the construction details – you can jump over here and view the photos of the finished costume!

A few months ago, I asked my 3.5 year old daughter what she wanted to be for Halloween. Her answer fluttered between being a princess or a mermaid for a few weeks until she finally decided upon a princess.  Last year, she wanted to be a pirate, so I made her pirate outfit for her:

I asked if she had any mandatory requirements for her dress. She did. Specifically:

  • PINK!

Fair enough, I figured that would be easy enough to accommodate.

I had recently been flipping through my George Barbier art book, and Lily had been oohing and aaahing over some of the Rococo style dresses:

I started showing her paintings of 18th century women to gauge her reaction. It turns out she was in love! Especially with, even though it seems cliché, pictures of Marie Antoinette.

Lily insisted that she wanted to meet her. I had to explain the best I could to a toddler just why she couldn’t.

With that all said and done – I knew I was going to make her an 18th century gown. But which one? I went through a lot of fashion plates of all sorts of fantastical 18th century gowns — but at some point I whittled it down to a Robe a la Francaise. There’s just something romantic and excessive about a watteau back dress that really appeals to me. But also on a practical sense – it meant less fitting and tailoring on a wiggly 3.5 year old.

I already knew which fabric I had planned on using. It was a lovely pink, floral Pottery Barn bed sheet that I had picked up from the local thrift store. While it’s obviously not completely period authentic – there was just something about the floral pattern that fit in well with existing Robe a la Francaise examples:

Victoria and Albert Museum

First thing first, though – how on earth was I going to get Lily to stand still for tailoring?!? That’s where Rainbow Lily comes into play! I realized early on that I should probably make a duct tape dress form of Lily to use for the bulk of the construction. So off we went to Home Depot and their duct tape display. I let Lily pick out her colors (in the hopes it might be easier to convince her to let me wrap her up) and with the bribe (I’m shameless!) of a cake pop and a few episodes of My Little Pony, Lily consented to me wrapping her up:

With the exception of sewing vintage 50’s clothing – I’ve never done historical costuming before, but from the blogs I follow, I knew that the best thing to start with first as to make the paniers — as they would form the base shape of the gown. Originally I was just going to do padded cushions, but on a trip to Home Depot I found some plastic piping in the plumbing section that looked like it would work perfectly for boning for actual paniers. Additionally, after reading through The Dreamstress’s excellent Panier-Along – I realized that it would probably be easier and give the most correct shape if I just made them correctly from the get-go.

Using another thrifted bed sheet – (this one was a white, figured cotton), I whipped up the cutest looking, itty bitty paniers ever! I have to say, they were EASY. No doubt, thanks to the excellent tutorial.

Next up, I made am 18th century inspired stay (corset). While I top stitched to give the illusion of boning channels,  I didn’t actually put boning in them. Because of Lily’s straight torso, I also made a pair of crescent shaped waist pads and stitched them directly to the stays to prevent her skirts from sliding off.

Next up, I really should have made the petticoat (I will get to why later), but instead, I started work on the Robe a la Francaise first. I spent a considerable amount of time researching how to make one — and finally decided upon using this as the pattern:


I imported it into Photoshop – took Lily’s shoulder to floor measurements, then increased the size of the image to match. It took three toiles and two resizes until I was happy with the fit.

I got a bit nervous about cutting the actual fabric – but it was now or never! So chop chop!

Once I had that done, the robe, surprisingly, came together quite fast. I think because I was making an itty bitty one with one piece of fabric with no need of seams to be sewn, it went considerably faster than expected.

Around this point, I realized that I wouldn’t have enough of the floral fabric to make a matching underskirt like I initially planned. I had just barely enough left for sleeves, flounces robings and the stomacher. I recalled that at the same time that I purchased the floral bed sheet – I also picked up a pink and white striped Ralph Lauren sheet thinking at the time that the two sheets would make a cute dress together. I just didn’t realize it would be an 18th century dress!

Next up was the sleeves and flounces. They all went together quite fast, and it was also the first time I could see the combination of the pom pom gimp and fashion fabric pull together. I have to admit, I started getting quite excited!  Also, can you tell this was around the time my husband surprised me with a snazzy new phone with a super fancy camera?

Setting the sleeves was a royal pain in the posterior. Adult sleeves, sure, no worries – but itty bitty sleeves. Yikes! It’s less sewing, but far more fussy and fiddly to handle.  However, I set them and also tacked the rest of the robe down onto the lining. And I could finally do a fitting on Lily (who had refused to try anything on up until this point).

Why yes, this is my daughter who insists on being a princess….

After the fitting, I decided to hem the robe. This was a mistake on my behalf – I really should have waited until after making the petticoat and underskirt – but hey, we learn from mistakes, right? Hemming was proving a little difficult until I realized I could set a broom handle up on my kitchen chairs, and the robe would be at Lily’s exact height!

After hemming, I decided to start on part of the robe trimming. I used the striped fabric as a contrast and the pom-pom gimp trim.  After that, I worked on the underskirt, then the petticoat (which was a thrifted blue bed sheet):

When I had Lily try the entire thing on for a final fitting, this is where hemming the robe early became an issue — the volume of the blue petticoat actually lifted the hem of the robe up a little. Luckily, I had already planned on having Lily wear this a la Polonaise instead to prevent tripping — I realize that when I make one for myself I need to be conscious of this specific issue. I also noticed that I had to reposition the sleeve flounces. While they looked correct on Rainbow Lily – the static nature of Rainbow Lily’s arms made it difficult to see they were not positioned right.

At last! I could move onto all the fun stuff! Trimmings and bows!

For the stomacher, I initially planed on just three bows – but that was just simply not enough. Even Lily insisted on more.

Lily’s totally period (in)correct shoes. American Duchess doesn’t make tiny shoes, so we had to improvise. I also didn’t want to spend big bucks on shoes Lily would wear just once or twice before she grew out of them, so red glitter shoes it was! I had shoe clip bases, so I whipped up some bows to add on to make them match:

And, I started finalizing the trimmings:

I also made a period correct chemise (slip) — but no photos of that because I am embarrassed to admit that as easy as it was to make, I was so tired, sewing at night – that I sewed one side on incorrectly! And because I was so exhausted – I said “AH!!!! Bugger this! I’m not fixing it!” It was wearable — the part that would be visible was correct…and I’ll make her a nicer one in the near future!

Oh!  I also made her Trick or Treat bucket to match!

I took many other photographs of the construction –if you would like to view them, please feel free to visit my Facebook album:

The nitty gritty details:


Time it took to sew: 8 days of around 8 to 9 hours a day: 72 hrs (give or take)


Thrifted Supplies:

  • one pink floral Pottery Barn 100% cotton bed sheet (for the Robe a la Francaise & underskirt trimmings)
  • one pink and white striped Ralph Lauren 100% cotton bed sheet (for the underskirt and the Robe a la Francaise trimming)
  • one white figured 100% cotton bed sheet (for the paniers and stays)
  • one blue 100% cotton bed sheet (for the petticoat)
  • one thin white 100% cotton bed sheet (for the chemise)
  • muslin (for the toile and waist ties)


New/New Vintage Supplies:

  • 10 yards vintage blue rayon ribbon (all used)
  • 15 yards of blue pom-pom gimp (1/2 used)
  • 4 yards vintage soft pink flocked organza ribbon (all used)
  • 15 small blue ribbon flowers
  • pink & blue bias binding tape
  • vintage rayon seam binding used as drawstrings/ribbons
  • plastic piping from the plumbing section of Home Depot for boning


Resources used:

The Dreamstress
1780s Lady Anne Darcy’s Wedding Dress (robe a la Francaise)

American Duchess
I referenced a number of her 18th century tutorials from her tutorial page

Starlight Masquerade
Taupe Robe a la Francaise Dress Diary

The Fashionable Past
Draping a Sacque, otherwise known as a robe a la francaise–


April 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Lily’s Art Deco Dresser Renovation

March 4, 2013 in DIY Renovations, Life

Over many, many  months I have been slowly working on pulling Lily’s big girl bedroom together and finally, at long last, while her room isn’t complete – I did finish one piece of furniture!  Yay!

My former neighbour gave me a wonderful old art deco dresser for free that had been his mother’s as a young child. I fell in love with the gorgeous curves and details, however, while structurally it was fantastic, the veneer was extremely damaged with large stains and big chips missing.  The only way to restore it to its former glory would have been to have the veneer replaced completely.  So, I decided to paint it white for Lily’s bedroom.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the sorry state it was in before I sanded it — so the “before” photo I have is after I sanded the veneer down.  Luckily for me — it was the nice thick vintage veneer, so I didn’t have to worry about accidentally sanding through it.  After hand sanding (I don’t know about you, but I’m hopeless with an electric sander!), washing, sanding again, washing again and letting it dry, it was finally ready to paint!  Then, it sat in the back room for months and months until finally, I got around to painting it.  Ha!

Having never restored furniture before – I did an extensive amount of researching and spoke with the paint guys at the local hardware about the most suitable type of paint for this.  Armed with everything and assured by the paint guys that the primer/paint combination I had was perfect, I painted.  And painted. And painted again.  And cried. And pulled my hair.  Why?  Because no matter how many coats of paint I put on, the white kept turning to yellow!  Eek!  That was one thing I hadn’t expected.

After poking around online for yellowed white paint – I discovered I should have used an oil or shellac based primer to help prevent the yellow from coming through.  I read extremely good things about B-I-N primer, so off I went and purchased some.  After applying it, I cried again.  But this time, tears of happiness – no more yellow!  So after an additional two coats of primer and quite a few more coats of white paint, I achieved the perfect, brilliant and even white that I wanted!

The drawer pulls are a lovely floral design.  I gave Lily the option of a few different drawer pulls, and she picked these ones out:

Of course, I wasn’t satisfied with making just the outside pretty – I wanted to make the inside just as lovely.  After spending weeks browsing for just the right type of fabric, I finally stumbled across a gorgeous Japanese cotton by Lecien — a bright Spring green background with aqua polka dots and lovely pink and red roses.  It was perfect for lining the drawers — especially with the aqua matching the bedroom walls!  I also decided to paint inside the drawers the same aqua as the walls.  Having learnt my lesson from painting the outside, I did a layer of the B-I-N primer first, then two coats of aqua.

After pre-washing and drying the fabric, I cut it to fit, and mod podged them in.  The first drawer, I did a terrible job that I need to fix. Luckily I perfected my application method for the other two drawers, and they went in like a dream with nary an air bubble in sight!

It’s so pretty that it seems almost a shame to put clothing over the top!  Haha!

Lining inside the drawers wasn’t enough for me though.  Truth be told, when I finally found this fabric my first thought wasn’t drawer liners but rather wondering what applying the fabric to the outer sides of the drawers for a fun and very unexpected pop of colour would look like.  I had a very specific vision in mind, and thankfully it panned out exactly as I imagined!

And of course, I must share these two little thrift store darlings and a gorgeous embroidered linen found at an estate sale:


I do have to admit, it’s not 100% finished though.  I still need to pull out the mirror, sand the wooden base, clean, paint and then attach — but I think I’m going to leave that until the very end after I’ve finished painting the other furniture.

Lily’s Bedroom Renovation To-Do List:

  • Sand  and paint dresser white
  • Sand and paint large bookcase white
  • Sand and paint antique children’s table white
  • Find and paint matching chairs for table
  • Paint wicker swivel chair into a toadstool
  • Make loft bed
  • Paint loft bed
  • Find a dresser to convert to a dress-up closet
  • Finalize decorations