Friday, October 5, 2012

Maggie's Hermione Granger Costume

        I was wondering if you could make me a costume for the Halloween  party/haunted house. I want to be Hermione Granger. In the fourth Harry Potter movie/book there is a scene called the Yule-Ball scene. I was wondering if you could make me a dress like the one Hermione wore. I attached a picture below. I was also wondering if you could make me a Hogwarts School outfit. I have a white shirt, black leggings and a striped  tie.  But I was wondering if you could make me the dress/skirt thing that they wore to school.  All you have to do is cut a hole in a gigantic square.
P.S. I am 53 inches tall.I want the dress to go down past my feet.  Train is optional.   Maggie 

(See attached Hermione Granger pictures.)

Hermione's Yule Ball gown
Hermione's School Outfit



        That was the email I received last week-end from my 9 year old grand-daughter.  And I always am willing to help out, especially with a sewing project.  So, I thought, what are my options?  I checked e-bay first to see if there were any costumes already created for Hermione Granger.  Sure... I found that exact pink ball dress...  for $100.  That wasn't happening here.  There were no school outfits like the sample picture - only black cape-like costumes.  I can do better than that.  Next I checked the used kids clothing for any pieces that could be remade into one of these outfits.  I found a few possibilities that I stuck on my watch list.
Next, I took a quick drive over to the local Salvation Army store to check on their options.  Almost immediately I found a black v-neck cardigan, size 8.  Perfect. The school outfit it will be; and so much easier than the pink dress.  It was half-price day at the "Sally-Arm" so I paid my $1.50 and left with a smile. 
Once back in my sewing room, I rifled through my kid patterns.  I found a pattern that came originally from my Mother-in-Law (60's or 70's) with a gored skirt.  Perfect and easy - well, easy, except for my brain fart - more about that later.  Black double-knit fabric (also from my Mother-in-Law's stash) will work up perfectly.

This pattern is from the 1960's or 70's.
I went through my bag of old ties and picked out a few for Maggie to choose from.  Then it was picking trim to match the ties.  (All these supplies were originally from my Mother-in-Law's stash. Yippee - I love to re-use old stuff.) I sent off an email to Maggie with pictures of different ties and trim for her to choose from. She picked the blue striped tie with the blue lace trim.  Great!

Now to finish creating the costume.  I took out the 2 skirt pattern pieces.  One was labeled front and back panel; the other was labeled side panel. I cut 2 pieces of each, and proceeded to sew the skirt.  It was basic and easy construction, so I never did read the directions.  Also my 3 quilting friends were sewing at my house, so of course there was lots of conversation and distractions. (Wed. is our "Sew Therapy" session.)  I held the skirt up several times as I worked and stated, "It sure seems small for size 8." I even changed the seams to 1/4" instead of the 5/8" I knew was standard in these old patterns.  But Maggie is a very thin girl, so I forged on.  When it was time to put in the elastic, Maggie's waist measurement was an inch or so larger than the skirt waist.  Even this did not stop me.  It wasn't until the entire skirt was finished - hem and all, that I decided that something just wasn't right.  I opened up the directions, and it smacked me in the face immediately - This was a 6 gore skirt - not 4 gores. I needed 4 side gores - not 2!  Aaaagh!  Like I said earlier - a brain fart.  I have no other way to explain it.  I threw the skirt in the corner, and announced I would try again another day.  My thought at that time was to start completely anew.  However, my friends came to my rescue.  They took turns ripping out all the seams.  This was no easy task because it was very easy to put holes in the fabric. 

6-gored double-knit skirt with elastic waist
The next day I cut 2 more side gores, and re-sewed the whole skirt in less than 45 minutes.  It was a simple skirt after all - just maybe not as simple as I can be sometimes.

I hand basted the trim to the bottom and cuffs of the sweater, and the costume was done.  All Maggie has to do is add a white shirt.  It's been packaged and mailed, and I'll ask her to send me a picture of her in costume as soon as she can.

Total cost:  $1.50 for the sweater plus $5.35 for postage.  Getting to be involved in my Grand-daughter's life: Priceless!

Hermione Granger's School Outfit

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Quilt Again Rebirth

It's been almost a year since my last post.  Why?  I'm not sure. I didn't stop quilting, sewing, creating.  I simply stopped posting.  No longer do I feel that my retirement from teaching school kids is new; no longer does it seem that I have lots of time; my life seems to amply fill my time no matter what my activity. 

"Retirement" has turned into lots of "Grandma" time. Lillie my youngest grand-daughter (9 months) spends every Tuesday and Thursday with me while Mom and Dad are at work.  She demands all my time and attention on those days, but I'm enjoying her tremendously.  After all, how many more times in my lifetime will I get to nurture and nuzzle a baby. She's a sweet-heart, and it is easy to appreciate how quickly babies grow and change when you are not the over-worked, under-rested parent. My other grandchildren drop in now and again whenever their parents need a baby-sitter.  The oldest is in 6th grade and is growing up way too fast. Soon enough they will all be too busy to spend much time with "grandma", so I try to enjoy them whenever I get the chance. 

Wednesday is my day with "Sew Therapy" friends. Three of my best friends show up at my house for coffee, encouragement, socializing, and a bit of quilting.  When it comes to their sewing projects, I serve the role of mentor or guide.  I don't usually get much of my own sewing done on these days, but it feels like teaching, and that's also very enjoyable for me.

Monday is my dedicated "Sewing Day." Friday through Sunday make up my husband's weekend days.  It's our days for getting out and about with whatever we want.  If he gets sucked into his TV sports, then quilt projects call to me.  There are also church projects - I'm organist for the East Otto Methodist Church, and once a month I cook and serve a community dinner with 1 other partner. Early Bird Swim class makes sure I get out of bed at 6 A.M.  Add in a little gardening and blueberry backyard business for the summer, and I'm starting to see where my time is spent.

I guess I'm trying to explain to myself why I let this blog go silent so long.  But no more.  I'm making it a goal. I want to chronicle this stage of my life. It's a wonderful time for me. I'm enjoying myself immensely.  I've completed many fabric art projects in the last year, and I want to journal my progress as I learn new techniques and try new ideas.  Going forward, my goal is to post at least once per week.  Sunday or Monday will be my assigned posting day at least until I get this blog back into my routine.  I blog mostly for myself, but I sure do like readers - especially readers who will leave me a comment or two.  If you are one of those readers, I thank you.

So on to my projects:  One project that I'm especially pleased with was a Craftsy course learning project. is an Internet site that offers online classes in all sorts of arts and crafts including quilting. I took the Beyond Machine Quilting to improve my free-motion quilting.  And it really did.  Here's my finished project all done with free-motion quilting on my home sewing machine.

I wish you could see this in person.  The pictures hardly do it justice.

I learned so much from this class. And now I'm so much braver and competent with my free motion work.  I also discovered a fantastic online site at  This website provides hundreds of free designs for free motion work, and even little videos to help you learn each design.  Check it out.  You'll be amazed. 

Til next time... and I promise it won't be next year.....  CDudley