Wow! Halloween just flew past. So much for my 7 days of Halloween crafts! I’m still new to this blogging thing and it’s pretty easy to get behind – I get the feeling I need to prepare for holidays several months in advance. Not so easy with a busy schedule. I really admire all the bloggers who are actually on top of things. Well, I really admire anyone who is really on top of things. But I digress. Even though I didn’t meet all my halloween goals, I still want to share the final Ava/Anna dress with you.
Ok, I didn’t get the pictures I was hoping for – you know, on me, with the crinoline and the fifties hair and makeup. Partially because my 50s hair fell flat after about 5 minutes. My husband says the problem was I didn’t use Aquanet. Maybe he was right.
So this is the dress with the gold trim. It doesn’t look as bad in the pictures, but it is stiff and awkward on. It kind of sells the anna look but it is just a little over the top. I like the idea of the gold but it just didn’t quite work. Maybe it would have been better as piping.
You can see there is a little bit of bubbling/wrinkling around the point of the sweetheart neckline, but it isn’t terrible. The closeup also shows a little better how the binding rolls out instead of laying flat.
I decided to replace the gold binding with a matching blue, and fold it under so it wouldn’t be as noticeable. I hoped this would make the dress look a bit less like a costume and make it more wearable as an everyday dress. I think it helped a little, but not very much. As far as I can tell it just made the dress look a little less Anna and a bit more like Ariel’s blue dress. Oh well. I think the main problem is actually the different skirt and bodice fabrics. It makes the bodice look too much like – well – a bodice, and not part of a dress.
The dress also needs a bit of definition around the waist – the transition from blue to black feels very sudden and a bit awkward. I’ve been wearing it with a belt, which helps a little.
The neckline definitely lays more flat with the folded under binding. It was a pain to replace the binding though because that poly chiffon frays terribly! It took way longer than I expected.
The cape, on the other hand, was super fast and easy. It’s based on a Butterick retro pattern, B5032, which seems to be out of print now.
I just modified it slightly by curving the front edge. I also shortened the collar and added stiff interfacing so that it stands instead of falling. It’s made out of a pink fine-wale corduroy and it is surprisingly warm. I would wear it all the time, but I’m not sure hot pink goes with much. Or whether or not you can wear half-capes with jeans and a t-shirt. Maybe I can start a trend.
I even found a hear-shaped clasp, like the one on Anna’s cloak in the movie.
The cloak is lined in a nice pink quilting cotton. I didn’t interface the cloak part, since I wasn’t making buttonholes, and it is nice and soft.
Pattern: Victory Patterns’ Ava Dress and Butterick B5032 for cape
Cost: Most of the fabric was bought on sale or at a warehouse, so about $15 for the dress and $15-20 more for the cape. I already had the thread and it was a few dollars extra for the bias tape and clasp.
Time to complete: This went together pretty fast. I don’t track my hours very well, but I would say about 10 hours for the dress, not including re-binding the neck and armscye which was another 2 hours. The cape came together quite quickly, less than 4 hours. I think if I made the dress again it would come together even more quickly, since I now know how to place an invisible zipper and have made a grudging peace with the sweetheart neckline.
Fabric Used: The dress: some sort of polyester crepe for the skirt, a shiny cotton blend for the bodice, and poly chiffon for the yoke. I will definitely consider a sturdier fabric for the yoke if I make another Ava dress! I think it will make the sweetheart seam a lot easier. For the cape, a cotton narrow-wale corduroy and quilting cotton.
Pattern changes: I lengthened the dress bodice to extend to my natural waistline. As printed, it was a high empire waist. I also made some fitting adjustments at the neckline and side bodice, as discussed. I also used an invisible zipFor the cape, I rounded out the front edge and modified the collar to be a standing collar.
Likes/Dislikes: Overall I really like the Ava dress. I have some issues with how this dress came out, but it mostly came down to fabric choices. The styling is adorable and very flattering. It definitely meets the need it was designed for, though. It’s very Disney. The pattern goes together easily and I did not notice any significant issues with how the pieces fit together. The sizing was pretty accurate and didn’t include an absurd amount of ease like some commercial patterns. The instructions were easy to follow in general but I did get pretty lost around the sweetheart neckline. My advice is to stay-stitch both pieces and then hand sew the center point, especially if working with slippery fabrics. I might also recommend folding the bias tape completely under instead of binding the neckline/armscye edges, but that’s a little bit of a personal preference.
Make it again? You betcha! I have had plans to make the Ava dress at tunic length in a chambray polka dot for a long time. Now I’m definitely going to do it. Probably. (But not because I don’t love this dress, just because I’m better at planning than action.)