Victory Patterns Ava Becomes Miss Frizzle, Part 2

Pinning curved skirt colorblocks together.

Assembling the dress is pretty straightforward. First, because I’ve colorblocked the skirt, I had to assemble my skirt panels before sewing them together. As I go, I serged the seams, since both the pink and the spiderweb print are quilting cottons, and they will tend to fray.

The directions for Ava are very easy to follow for the construction of the skirt, as you simply sew the panels together along the seams, leaving space for the zipper on the right hand seam.

For the bodice construction, you first sew the darts in the front and back bodice pieces, and then assemble the lower portion of the bodice and attach the skirt. At this point, you do a fitting to see if you need to take up the bodice. I would actually recommend doing a muslin, but if you are working directly in your fashion fabric, I would try the bodice on before you attach the skirt to see if you need to take it up. Although I chose the size 10 based on finished measurements, there was enough ease that I still needed to take an inch (!) up on either side seam of the bodice. This may be due to my fit preferences, since I prefer my clothes to fit pretty closely, but it’s something to keep in mind. I attached the skirt, lining up the seams and darts, and then inserted the zipper. 

Once the skirt was attached, it was time to attach the upper front and upper back bodice. The sweetheart neckline can be a little tough, but don’t be afraid to rip your stitches out and try again if you are not happy on the first try. It took me a couple of tries to get it right. Ava also comes with the option to add pleated trim and two kinds of sleeves. I skipped the pleated trim and the sleeves for this version, opting to finish the neckline and arm scyes with contrast bias binding. 

The spider appliques were a fun learning process for me, since I’ve never worked with heat-transfer vinyl. It was pretty basic – you simply apply the applique, sticky side down, while it’s on the transfer plastic. You put a layer of parchment paper between the iron and the applique and use a pretty hot iron with no steam. It’s about a 10 to 20 second process on every part of the applique before it will release from the plastic, and then you go over it again, using the parchment paper as a pressing cloth, to be sure the applique has adhered. My spiders had some spindly legs, so they were a little tricky, but overall I am very pleased with the results! 

Victory Patterns Ava Becomes Miss Frizzle – Part 1

It’s DragonCon season, which means it’s time to get your cosplays together before the big show!

This year, in addition to taking back some cosplays, I’m making up a 50’s Poison Ivy, and also a take on the Magic School Bus’s Miss Frizzle, specifically from “Miss Frizzle Spins a Web.”

 Keeping in mind of course, it’s going to be Labor Day in Atlanta, and I really don’t want to do long sleeves. So I decided to modify a pattern I had used before, to approximate a sleeveless Miss Frizzle.

 

Enter Victory Patterns Ava. 

I had worked with this pattern several years ago to do a 50’s style Alice In Wonderland, and I remembered the yoke design and thought it would suit the spiderweb area at the top of Miss Frizzle’s dress. The pattern also comes in three lengths, which would supply me with guidelines to make the skirt into a top webbed portion and a bottom pink portion.

First, preparing the pattern. Based on my measurements + the finished garment measurements, I chose a size 10. 

Because I am only 5’0″, I knew I’d need to take 3″ off the length of the skirt, which is generally the standard adjustment for petites. I also made the executive decision not to use any of the ruffles or sleeves at this point.

After cutting out my pattern, I shortened the skirt pieces at the lower lengthen/shorten line. Shortening pattern pieces is easy! Just take it step by step. 

  • Determine how much you want to lengthen or shorten the piece. In this case, I wanted to take 3″ off the length. 
  • Measure the length of your pattern piece and record that number. This is so you can check your work later. 
  • Now, you will do one of two things.
    • To shorten, make a line above and parallel to the lengthen/shorten line that removes the excess length from the pattern to shorten.
    • To lengthen, cut along the lengthen/shorten line and spread the pattern pieces apart until you make up the extra length desired. Place paper behind the pattern pieces and tape it down. 
  • Redraw the pattern lines to smooth out the edges of your pattern pieces. 

With that done, I moved on to making the pattern pieces I’d need to make up my colorblocked skirt. Because this dress has two lengths, I chose to cut my pattern piece alone the longer skirt length line, and then split the pattern for color blocking at the shorter skirt marking line. Doing so was simple! I laid out my pattern piece and layered over a piece of tracing paper. I used Design Vellum for this, but you can also use Swedish tracing paper or red-dot tracing material.  

Carefully trace your lines, being sure to keep the curves in place. Transfer all markings to your new pattern piece. Then, taking a seam gauge or ruler, measure out from the new edge to add seam allowance. In this case, just to keep it simple, I added 5/8″, but you could be economical and add as little as 1/4″ if you prefer. Once you’re done tracing and adding seam allowance, label your pattern piece and remove the pattern tissue. Cut out your new piece. Repeat for the second part of the color block. 

At this point, you have all your pattern pieces, so it’s time to follow the cutting layout and get to work.