Totoro appliqué skirt – with mini freezer paper stencil tutorial

I am so excited today! I have finally finished the Totoro skirt that my daughter has been asking for. We looove both Totoro and Ponyo, such lovely movies, we end up watching them over and over, we’ll probably check out other Studio Ghibli ones too soon.

My neighbor Totoro poster

Back to the skirt! I was actually planning on doing a stitched on appliqué (would have loved to make it with super soft minky!) but then I realised that doing the little details, eyes, nose, patches on the belly, would have made it quite tricky and potentially end up with me continuously swearing at the sewing machine until finally giving up. Not a good plan.

IMG_20140116_151342

I made the skirt a couple of weeks ago, and the little lady was ever so pleased when I let her help me trace the pattern on the fabric. She seems to be quickly turning into a fabric addict like mummy, I won’t go into details about the love affair she had with some organza I bought to  make her a birthday dress – they literally became friends for a few days.

Today, while agonising again over the thought of stitching tiny things onto that skirt, I had a lightbulb moment and remembered it would have been much easier and quicker to use fabric paint and freezer paper stencils instead!

IMG_20140128_113107

With Aida being at nursery and Max having a nap, I got to work and printed out an easy image that I liked on normal paper, then traced it on the freezer paper (it’s slightly see through so easy to do), remember to keep the waxy side down!

Then starts a very tedious job: cutting the shapes out. I use a paper craft knife but if your design is not full of little details you could have a go at just using normal scissors. Remember to keep any bits you might need – for example, I had to keep eyes, nose, mouth and the big belly part. Done? Great, stick it to your chosen fabric by putting it on waxy side down (in contact with the fabric) then passing a hot iron on it.

IMG_20140128_115308

The hard part is over now! All  you need is some fabric paint (I used Dylon Fabric Paint in metallic silver), dab it only gently, ideally with a foam brush, making sure not to overwet the paper thus making it peel off. When I finish I like to wait a few minutes and then carefully peel off the paper, using tweezers to remove the little details inside – once I tried letting the paint dry completely before removing the paper and it was a bit of a disaster as it had created a film which stuck to both the fabric and paper! Learn from my mistakes.

Eek, I forgot the details in the mouth! Quick fix with a matchstick…

IMG_20140128_115825  IMG_20140128_115924

Now, patience my friend. Wait until it’s fully dry, the put a cloth on it and iron it over to set the paint. Done! That was easy, wasn’t it? I hope to get pictures of the the little girl modelling it very soon, she’s very pleased with it – and so am I.

IMG_20140128_120034

Advertisements

Minion dress attempt

I love love love sewing but I can’t do it during the day (apparently kids, needles and scissors don’t mix) and by the time evening comes I’m usually too tired to do anything.

I made a bit of an effort last night because I wanted to make a minion (from Despicable Me) dress for a friend’s little girl. I decided to modify a pillowcase dress, so first off I needed a tutorial for that! I use this one for Sew like my mum. Also, I wanted to make a little bit girly so instead of plain blue for the ‘body’ I got a fabric with a floral pattern, and the yellow is a kona cotton but I totally forgot which yellow it is.

I know my pictures are never great but they’re especially bad as they were all taken in the evening, apologies for that!

image

It was all pretty simple: I made the panels with yellow on the top and blue flowery fabric on the bottom. On one of the panels (before sewing them together), I stitched a black strip of fabric, around 2″ wide, along the length of the panel, then made two circles with felt, one grey and one white, for the eye, and a much smaller one with black cotton fabric.

 

image

 

image

I then did the rest of the dress following the tutorial. Hint: if you’re doing curved armhole as suggested by other tutorials, use bias tape. Don’t try to turn it over and over again. Trust me on this. Then of course, just as I was hemming the bottom edge and I had about 3″ to go before the dress was all finished, this happened. Then it happened again. It was getting late and I was tired, I swear the machine knew!

But, at last, the dress was done! A bit of a late night but I’m pretty pleased with it, despite a few hiccups which tend to happen when I first try out new patterns/styles anyway (does that happen just to me?). The only thing I’d change is to make it much less wide, I tried it on my 2.5 year old little girl and it was rather big, but I guess that’ll make it last longer, as a shorter dress then tunic – they’d better release a Despicable Me 3 next  year!)

image

image

Excuse the blurry pictures. She wanted to try the dress on right away (hence her head peeking in the first pic) and then decided she wanted to climb up the kitchen door. 
I’m planning to make another pillowcase dress soon for her, while at the fabric shop picking fabrics for this one she got very excited so I think it’s only fair that she gets one too!