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Angelina Ballerina – Happy Halloween!

October 28, 2010

So it should probably not surprise anyone that my darling daughter is all about the ballerinas. (And the fairies, and the princesses, and the sparkly, shiny PRETTY PRETTY). But she especially loves ballet, and ever since discovering the Angelina Ballerina books at the library she has been IN LOVE. Her Papa gave her two of the books last spring and she has them both memorized – it’s pretty funny; she “reads” them to Sam.

So it is hardly surprising that when Halloween rolled around, she wanted to be – you guessed it – Angelina.

I laughed, and then I cried a little (because sewing with tulle is…a REALLY BIG HASSLE) and then we went to the fabric store.

Now, Angelina looks like this:

So obviously we needed a pink ballet dress, mouse ears with a pink ribbon, a mouse tail, and ballet shoes. Oh, and a way to make her arms and legs white (and ideally warm, since you know, we live in Canada and it’s the end of October). I debated making a mouse mask but ultimately we decided that a little makeup to make some whiskers ought to cover it.

Anika and I trotted off to the fabric store and found a pattern for a ballet leotard and tutu. We found this one and figured we could make it work nicely. Then we needed to get fabric. So we found some great pink stretch fabric to make the bodice out of, and Ani chose some COMPLETELY AWESOME hot pink sequins to put around the neck (and possibly the armholes, if  I get to that. Ahem).

We were looking at the tulle and I was all set to grab the pink when I noticed my little girl looking rather…forlornly at the purple tulle.

Me: Anika….we’re doing Angelina right? She wears pink?

Ani: Yes…but sometimes Alice wears purple (sidenote: Alice is Angelina’s friend).

Me: Well that’s true, but…we aren’t making an Alice costume? So…maybe we should do pink still?

Ani: Okay. (still looking a little sad).

Me: (squashing all Type A tendencies to Do Things Accurately) Anika, do you think that sometimes Angelina *borrows* Alice’s tutu?

Ani: (completely OVERJOYED) YES!!! YES I think she does!!!!!!!

We bought the purple tulle.

So, I got to work making the ballet costume from the pattern. It wasn’t rocket science by any stretch; pretty easy to pull together. Except, if you haven’t sewn with tulle before? Brace yourself. It’s really fun! And you don’t have to finish any edges really! But also? It sticks to EVERYTHING. And little bits of it get EVERYWHERE. No matter how many times you clean your house, it will STILL BE THERE. I am completely serious about this – I literally picked Sam up to nurse him at 4am one morning and found some purple tulle stuck in his hair. He was sleeping in his crib a full two floors away from where I sewed.

I had some fun playing with this as I made it – I test drove some different zig zag widths; I figured out that it actually DOES make a pretty substantial difference to use a ballpoint needle instead of a sharp needle on the knits. (Good to know!).

The tutu was also very easy (just messy). I really liked the way they have you encase the waistband in ribbon – that’s a really nice touch and a good way to do it; it binds the top of it together very nicely. (I used pink ribbon, largely because I had it!).

So with that part out of the way, I set about the rest of the project. My original plan was to try to find some white long johns and just buy her those – she could wear them under the costume at Halloween and then she’d have them for ice skating and things this winter. Seemed to make sense. Unfortunately it backfired because the only long johns I’ve been able to find for kids are either bright colours, or covered in things like Tinkerbell or princesses. Fortunately I had a bunch of white fleece hanging around from another project so I started making her some white fleece leggings. This isn’t actually finished yet (almost) but in the meantime we can improvise with tights (better for things like costume day at school anyway!).

For the mouse ears, I improvised with some white and pink fleece, a hairband, pipecleaners, and a glue gun. Look for a tutorial on how to make animal ears in another day or two!

The tail was really some blind cutting and not much else. I chopped something roughly tail-shaped, cut a section of coat hanger with wire cutters, and covered the wire with batting and tape. I sewed the fleece into a tube and then flipped it inside out, and shoved the wire into the tail. A little trial and error showed that it’s a good idea to put a bit of a loop into the wire at the base of the tail – that gives you kind of a flat area to baste against the tights or pants and keeps the tail upright!

After that, all that was left was to sew the tail onto an old pair of white tights, glue gun a pink bow onto the hairband, and tie some ribbons around her ankles to make her regular shoes “ballet shoes”. A few whiskers and a red nose… voila! Angelina Ballerina.

The costume isn’t perfect – the armholes are a little loose, which I’m not thrilled about – but I figured I am going to want to put a long-sleeved t-shirt or turtleneck under it to go out trick or treating (dude, cold!) so the extra room might be a good thing. The ribbons on her ankles are a little sheer, but she doesn’t care – she thinks she looks awesome! I think she is absolutely adorable.

(I might be a little biased though).

(Apologies for the baby sock, dress up clothes, camping gear, and other assorted crap in the pictures – we were on a deadline to get the costume finished in time for ballet class so finishing sewing took priority over tidying! It didn’t stay like that, I promise.)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Cal - yer mom! (aka, Gran) permalink
    October 28, 2010 12:40 pm

    She looks adorable!!! Aaaand, she’ll freeze.

  2. Angela permalink
    October 28, 2010 5:06 pm

    She will freeze! But she looks fabulous!! Ah, suffering in the name of beauty – i know it well – I refused to be anything but a princess for 10 years straight;o) Go Ani! Great job, Christy!

  3. October 29, 2010 1:57 am

    It’s perfect!! So cute… that looked like a really fun project. 🙂 Loved the tulle story from the trip to the fabric store… purple trumps all. Duh. SO AWESOME. And now? I tweet. 🙂

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