Mandy K Designs – Knock off & Costume Hacks Blog Tour

I’ll admit that shortly after signing up for this blog tour, I was completely uninspired. Why did I pick The Princess Party Dress?! Why?? Our house already looks like the princess aisle of Toys R Us threw up all over it. Did I really need to add to the princess-fairy-unicorn-pink-purple tornado that is our current existence? I sat my girls down and asked them what they wanted to be for Halloween. River, my 4.5 year old, “A fairy! A butterfly, princess, fairy!” Greaaaaaat! Elle, my nearly 3 year old, “Tinker Bell and a Neverbeast” “So, Tinker Bell?” “No! A Neverbeast. Gruff. I be Gruff!!” Wow! Creative! Unexpected! Doesn’t work with a princess dress pattern. Moving on. “Danica, what do you want to be?” Brace yourselves for the princess response from the 6 year old. “A vampire. I want to be dark and scary. With teeth. And blood.” THAT, I can get behind!
Isn’t she terrifying?! Oh my goodness, Danica perfectly captured the look I was going for in these photos! Wait. Wait, wait, wait! Or…. In the words of The Doctor “Shut up! Shut up, shut up, shuttity up…up…up!” More pictures, and then we’ll carry on.
Ah! I just love them all so much! Normally doing a photo shoot with Danica is so much work. There’s a lot of “please, please smile, Danica, please.” And convincing her to do the poses that I need. Not this time. She was perfect. A natural, terrifying, little demon! As previously mentioned, I used Mandy K Designs Princess Party Dress to make this Halloween costume. If you check out the pattern link, you’ll notice a few minor changes. Let’s break it down!
hack steps
The original Princess Party Dress features a bodice and skirt with that triangle piece. Very princess worthy. Step 1, chuck the skirt curve piece away. It didn’t work with the look I wanted to capture. Step 2, toss the upper and lower front bodice pieces away too! I decided the original curved lines on the front of the bodice also weren’t working for my edgy little vampire. Just a little too princessy. I also tossed the upper and lower back bodices pieces away too. I used the back lining piece for both my main and lining fabric. Step 3, since I nixed the skirt curve, I also needed to nix it from the bodice. Fold the triangle of the front bodice piece (actually it’s the front bodice lining piece) up, so that there’s a nice straight edge there. Step 4, trace the bodice so that it is one full piece. Step 5, slash it! Now there’s left and right bodice pieces, instead of the original upper and lower pieces. Step 6, add seam allowances along the slash. Don’t accidentally add them to the bottom, like I did on my right bodice piece. Step 7, cut fabric, sew, follow the pattern directions, blah, blah, blah. Step 8, admire your work! Any of that make sense?
Oh wait…. There’s more. My skirt is way fuller than the one the pattern suggests. For started, I only followed the length measurement. My width is a bit more, making the full width of my skirt a little more that 3.5 times the width of the bodice. It is A LOT of skirt to gather. Here are my gathering tips! Divide your skirt in to eighths. Run two lines of gathering stitches along each section. Yes, two. For even nicer gathers, be bold and do three. So, start with long thread tails, do a line for one eighth section, stop, leave long thread tails, go back to the start of that section, and run another line about 1/4 inch away from the first line. Do that for each of the eight sections. It’s tedious. Very, very, very tedious! But, I promise that when you go to gather the skirt to the bodice, it will be less frustrating, and the end result will be so lovely. One more suggestion. To keep all those long thread tails in check, knot them. I knot mine before I even start a line. Just tie the top and bobbin thread end together. Do a line. Snip. Tie the end that are attached to my skirt. Tie the ends left at the machine. And then I tie the two lines together. Check the above picture, you can kind of see what I mean. Or maybe it just looks like a mess of thread?? Like I said, tedious. Tedious to the point of obnoxious. But the end result is worth it. My skirt is also different, because instead of cutting one front and one back for the skirt, I cut 8 pieces, 4 fronts, 4 backs. I have a layer of the red satin that matches the bodice. That’s more of a burgundy, isn’t it? No matter. I have two layer of black netting. And then I have the black and gold overlay. Lots of width to my skirt. Lots of layers. Makes for one giant skirt! Love it!
PicMonkey Collage
She had a whole backstory for herself during these photos. Her name is Sienna, and this is the place that her mother is buried… Oooook.
That was her Dad’s photo idea. You should see the first one.
Ok. Back to blog tour business. Today is the last day of the blog tour. You can check out all the participating blogs at their links below. Head on over to Mandy K Designs website, if you’d like to make your own vampire worthy costume, or a princess dress, or a Christmas tree, or Cleopatra, or you just want to add to your pattern library in generally. Use the code MKDblogtour2015 for 30% off your purchase. The code is valid through October 11th.

Quick notes on my accessories. The cape is from Meg McElwee’s book Growing Up Sew Liberated. Instead of adding the hood, I cut the collar the width of the neck opening, by 5 or 6 inches tall. I can’t remember which and it is tucked away in the bedroom of a sleeping vampire right now, so I can’t check. I curved the short edges of this piece inward, starting 3/8 inch (seam allowance) from one long edge. I made mine out of felt, so there was no need for sewing anything right sides together and turning. Except for when I attached the collar to the cape, because I wanted that seam hidden. The collar is five layers, to help it stand up – two red, fusible felt, two black. It would have been fine without the fusible layer in the middle.
The “bat” wings are actually dragon wings from Bobbin for Appliques. There are bat wings, but I loved the look of the dragon wings the best. These were done in a 4×4 hoop. Next time, I’ll make them bigger. If you have an embroidery machine, check out Bobbin For Appliques!
Thanks for stopping by and letting me share my hack of Mandy K’s Princess Party Dress. Thank you Deb and Amanda for having me along on the blog tour. But mostly, thanks for letting me bombard you with pictures. Here’s a handful more, just because I love them all!
PicMonkey Collage4
Alright. Alright. I’m done. There’s more over on my instagram if you want to check those ones out too.


About manningthemachine

I'm Laura. Mama to four, and wife to one awesome guy. I'm ever so slightly sarcastic. Just a little bit. I like to quote movies, but since our house is managed by little people, most of those quotes come from kiddie shows. At least my husband generally gets the references. It makes me feel less awkward. I took sewing lessons starting at the age of 8, through the Kids Can Sew program. I took lessons for four or five years. Then I became a snotty teen and decided sewing was lame. I've repented of my ways, and enjoy sewing for my little ones. And sometimes other people. And almost never for myself. Oh hey. My blog name. "Manning The Machine." I think it's probably only funny if you know me in real life. And even then, maybe it is only funny to me. My last name is Manning. This is a blog about my sewing. Manning The (Sewing) Machine. Do you get it? Do you? No. That's fine. I think it's funny even if you don't.
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2 Responses to Mandy K Designs – Knock off & Costume Hacks Blog Tour

  1. I know I’ve already commented on FB, but I really love this! I’m not sure if my 5-year-old will ever leave the pink princess phase but I have high hopes for her little sister! Looks fun 🙂 Love all the pictures!


  2. Pingback: Seamingly Smitten Mommy & Me Ponchos | Manning The Machine

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