Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Anna Project, Part 1

It was inevitable. After the Elsa Project, could the Anna Project be far behind?

I spent the week planning and gathering materials. I had the basic pattern and some of the fabrics. Before I could sew I headed over to JoAnn Fabrics, where I picked up a magenta knit for the cape. The pattern doesn't call for knit but I like the way it drapes. I also chose some dark blue cotton broadcloth for the skirt. I would have preferred a knit for this, too, again because of the drape, but I didn't find any in the shade I wanted. Because the very bottom of the skirt is a different shade of blue, I figured I could use a royal blue cotton that I already had at home. The two blues will be joined by a scalloped edge, which should be interesting given how easily the broadcloth shreds. I may head back to the fabric store after all.
It's nice to have the official Simplicity pattern for a guide, but the fact remains it was drafted on an 18-inch doll with no bust. Many people would just size up from the official pattern. I wish I were one of them, but I find it easier to take a pattern that already has the doll's bust figured into it. I went through my BJD patterns to see if something that fits (or nearly fits) my doll could be converted into the appropriate costume part and came up with two options.

First is Le Pantalon! by MHD Designs. With minor adjustments it will give me both the turtleneck top that forms the bodice of Anna's dress and the vest that goes over it. This pattern was drafted on an SD13 size doll and my FM60 Mirwen is closer to an SD10, so I will have to tweak the top to reduce the length and width. Anna's vest needs a solid front and fasteners in the back--the exact opposite of the vest in this pattern. This is actually an easy fix. All it needs is to place the front pattern piece on the fold, eliminating the seam allowance and extending the lower edge to a point. The back gets the opposite treatment, placing the pattern piece so as to be able to cut all around it, being sure to add a seam allowance at the center back.
For the skirt I am using Gracefaerie's #10 Takeshita-dori. This is one of the all-purpose patterns I use over and over again in various permutations. The pattern makes two outfits: an Elegant Gothic Lolita dress and a skirt-and-blouse combination. Again, because the pattern was drafted to fit 60cm BJDs and Mirwen is about 5cm shy of that, I will have to tweak it. In this case I will need to merge the yoke and skirt pieces, because Anna's dress skirt does not have a yoke, nor is it as wide as the skirt this pattern makes. I'll have to sew a muslin first to make sure this fix works!

The only BJD cape pattern in my stash is MSD size. As it lacks the capelet I will use the Simplicity pattern instead and enlarge it. It's a fairly basic garment, so hopefully will cause few problems.

One thing that has kept me from beginning to sew is the question of how to handle the embroidery. There is a fair amount of it, both on the front of the vest and all around the bottom of the skirt. I see three ways to handle this: embroidery, applique, or fabric paint. The pattern itself calls for applique. My problem with that is my edges never look neat unless I'm dealing with a straight edge that can be folded under. Of course, most of the lines in these designs are curved. As for fabric paint, I haven't used it in so long that my paints dried out in their bottles and I had to throw them away. I could buy new paint and cut stencils. The question is, do I want to? And what did I do with that brush, anyway?
That leaves embroidery. During the week I looked all through the house for the instruction sheet that accompanied a crewel embroidery project I completed years ago. Just when I concluded I'd have to buy a book, the sheet turned up in a box on the floor near my sewing machine--close to hand, where I should have looked first. I can do this, but exactly how time consuming will this project be? And how much embroidery floss will I need?  Thank goodness it's only two colors. (There is a third, but I think I can find enough leftover floss for three French knots.)  It sounds like I've convinced myself. Embroidery it is.

All I need now is some trim for the bottom of the vest (I have some gold ribbon that may work) and for the cape. Anna's braided wig and a pair of black boots are winging their way from Hong Kong as I write this and should arrive this week. And after serving as my fit model for Elsa throughout the making of that costume, Mirwen will finally see her own Frozen costume come to life.

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