Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

All Dressed Up With Someplace to Go

It's Carnaval time in France again. It's a little like Halloween for them, except for the fact that they don't knock on anyone's doors begging for candy. Instead, there is a parade and people throw it at them. Here in France, Halloween is taken as a time strictly for dressing up as ghosts, goblins, witches and other ghoulish characters. So, it's a happy day when we get to work on making other, more colorful costumes. I'm a little stuck in Princessland, though. When asked what she wanted to be this year, Lambchop #1 naturally said, "Princess." I'd love for her to select some other costume someday, but what can we do? She's a girl. And, she's five. 'Nuff said, I believe.

Today, she came home from school and reminded me that Carnaval celebrations at her school are Friday. This Friday. I really don't want to go to the store for more fabric, so I dove into my small but respectable fabric stash. It would appear that I have enough leftover pink fabric from the last princess dress I made (two-and-a-half years ago), if I'm careful about how I use it. That, combined with some fun black tulle to make a tutu like thing for underneath should make a cool, original princess dress. She seemed pretty pleased with the design, which you can see in the above photo. The bottom layer of the skirt is the black tulle. The second and largest layer is light pink satin. The top layer that looks a bit like upside-down petals is this pinkish-gray, shimmery see-through stuff (sorry I can't recall the correct name for this type of fabric). It was used for sleeve flounces on her last princess dress. Then, hopefully I'll have just enough for a bodice in that same light pink satin with little see-through sleeves.

I've never really designed something so complicated before, so I'm a little nervous about it. I was thinking I could use the pattern for the last princess dress as a guideline, but no can do. It turned out to no longer be her size. It only goes up to size 5, and despite being her age, that is far from being her size. That would be why I started in with the jewelry first. I figured that was easy enough. To be honest, I actually hadn't thought to make jewelry, but while digging through my sewing notions box, I came across my jewelry making supplies. It's far from exhaustive, and I don't even know for sure what much of it is used for. I decided I'd give it a shot anyway. First, I took out some of the memory wire bracelet coils. I just went to work slipping tiny purple beads on it (Actually, Lambchop #1 went to work on that, but that didn't last long - again, she's five. What are you gonna do?). I used up all the beads that didn't end up hidden somewhere on the kitchen floor and decided to call it quits. That's when I was left wondering if I could actually cut the memory wire with the wire cutters I already have instead of the "memory wire cutters" suggested on the packaging. I threw caution to the wind and figured it was all a ploy to get people to buy their brand of wire cutters. I was right. Lesson learned. Never (or at least, rarely) believe what they try to tell you on those things. All in all, it made a very simple bracelet, and Lambchop #1 is very pleased with it.

Now onto the headgear (no not those creepy braces things people strap themselves into for a good night's sleep - a crown). Of course, any self-respecting princess wouldn't be caught dead without a crown. I mean, people, please. A princess needs her jewelry. Or, at least that's what Lambchop #1 led me to believe. She quickly suggested the cheapo paper crowns that come with King's cakes here. I got all ambitious after she went to bed though, and came up with this beauty. I'll be the first to admit it's not perfect. Not even close, actually. I don't work all that well with wire yet, but I am quite happy with the end result, and I know she's going to love it. It'll certainly last longer than the paper version, so I'd say it was well worth the hour or so it took to make it.

Ummmm, and let's all try to pretend it's perched atop the head of a five-year-old instead of the graying hair of a thirty-ummm-something-year-old. You can do that, can't you? We're in Princessland, after all, right? A little pretending won't hurt anyone. Yeah, now that I look at this picture again, I'm reconsidering the original thought I had of photographing the crown on a black background. I'll do that if and when I get around to it some time. For now, you get to watch the middle-aged mother of three play dress-up.