Princess Play Dress #1: Elena of Avalor

Our family is going to Disneyworld this fall, and my daughter is (of course) really excited about it. Not just the rides and attractions, but the prospect of meeting Disney princesses. When we first booked the tickets, in a fit of recklessness I promised to make her some princess dresses to wear to the park, so here we are. These aren’t going to be full costume-quality dresses– rather, they’re going to be soft and comfortable knit dresses she can play all day in, with some nods to the princess style.

Her very favorite princess right now is Elena of Avalor, so it was a given that one of her dresses would be Elena’s.


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Vanessa/Ursula Costume, Part II: Circular Ruffles

There are two issues to tackle when it comes to the ruffles on the wedding dress: the color and the shape.

The problem with the color is that due to the changing sunset lighting in the relevant movie scene, the ruffles actually change color as time goes on. They start off looking almost like a rum pink/beige color, but then fade into a purplish-gray as the sun sets.

ursula movie pink Ursula movie purple

Given that the lighting starts off rather orange to begin with, it’s tough to tell what the original color was supposed to be. I guessed lavender of some kind, to go with Ursula’s original purple skin and tentacle undersides, but I can’t be sure. Unfortunately, dusty rose/lavender with gray undertones isn’t one of the “standard” colors you find fabric in, and it couldn’t be too shiny or too thin or it would clash with the matte brocade of the dress.

The second issue is construction. Clearly, it would be easiest to just gather long strips of fabric or ribbon, but it seems clear from the movie that these are circular ruffles, which drape nicely but take up a lot more fabric and are seriously annoying to hem due to the curved edge. I thought about using purchased trim, but perhaps unsurprisingly I couldn’t find any wide purplish-pinkish-gray ruffled trim anywhere (or even any white ruffled trim of the correct width that I could dye). So, handmade it is.

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The Play Kitchen, or How I Learned to Hate Spray Paint

duktig1I blame this project entirely on Pinterest. I was browsing through the “Kids” section when I saw some really adorable pictures of play kitchens people had made for their children by repainting nightstands and attaching faucets and/or burners to the tops. Seriously, these things were cute. And hey, I loved cooking, so surely my 2-year-old would want to be like Mommy, and would need her own play kitchen! Heck, having a play kitchen would probably keep her from trying to use the real stove– making her one was practically a safety precaution!

play kitchen example

I immediately started plotting where to find some nightstands of my own, but the local Goodwill was pretty short on furniture and there was a mysterious dearth of garage sales in my area, so I had to look for another option. Plunging back into Pinterest, I found examples of people modifying existing play kitchens (which, as a whole, are pretty cheesy looking in their original plastic glory).

play kitchen plastic

Always preferring to do superficial modification rather than major construction, I started looking for a decent base to start with, and that’s where IKEA came in. Ah, IKEA, a store where the layout doesn’t just encourage impulse buying, it actively tries to snatch your purse before letting you find the exit. IKEA had a basic play kitchen that was just crying out for a makeover, and for once, the fact that it came completely disassembled would be a plus, as it would facilitate repainting.

Duktig before

Honestly, a kitchen doesn’t get more basic and utilitarian than the IKEA one. And sure, my daughter would probably have just as much playing with it, but I wouldn’t have nearly as much fun looking at it every day. Continue reading