Now it’s time to say goodbye…

Some years ago, my mom and I took a trip to Walt Disney World. While standing in front of Minnie Mouse’s house, in awe even at the age of 19, I said, “Someday I’m going to live there.” My mom offhandedly replied, “Okay,” and I repeated, with insistence, “No, I love that house. Someday I’m going to live there.”

Minnie Mouse's House in Toontown

Years later, after graduating from college and following a multitude of dreams, I don’t actually LIVE in Minnie Mouse’s house – after all, it’s still Minnie’s house – but I do find myself visiting Magic Kingdom Park quite often. More often than I ever could have imagined back when I was 19.

Minnie Mouse's House in Toontown

Today was the last day of operation for Mickey’s Toontown Fair, where Minnie Mouse’s house resides. Toontown is closing to make way for many exciting changes as a part of the Fantasyland Expansion. I’m giddy about the future of Magic Kingdom, but I can’t help but feel a pang in my heart and my stomach knowing that I’ll no longer be able to take a stroll through Minnie’s house.


And believe it or not, Minnie Mouse has a sewing machine. As if she weren’t already my idol!

Minnie Mouse's House in Toontown

Helping Minnie Mouse with a quilt at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in 2010 (dressed as Boo from Monsters, Inc.)


Disney VoluntEARS Create a “Beary” Christmas for Children in Need

I love this article! Yet another way to put creative sewing skills (and fabric scraps) to good use for the community around the holidays.

Disney VoluntEARS Create a “Beary” Christmas for Children in Need

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Dec. 17, 2010 – A teddy bear is special gift. In an instant, it can become a child’s best friend. Partnering with the Salvation Army of Central Florida, Disney VoluntEARS dressed more than 2,000 bears during this year’s Dress-A-Bear program.

Walt Disney World cast members have been participating in the Dress-A-Bear program for the past 14 years.  Janice Jones, Walt Disney World Costumer and Workroom Manager, has coordinated Creative Costuming’s Dress-A-Bear efforts since the program’s beginning.

“It’s a creative outlet for cast members and it provides something special for children,” said Jones.

Many of the bears receive one-of-a-kind outfits, handmade with great care by cast members on their own personal time. Using scraps of fabric and creativity, VoluntEARS craft cuddly ensembles from firemen to princesses. Buzz Lightyear, Rapunzel and the Mad Hatter were fashionable this year.  All of these efforts are done in hopes of connecting with a child in need.

“To be able to share our talents with children, and to make one of kind unique clothes, is a labor of love,” said Elizabeth Lau, Creative Costuming Workroom Manager.

The special bears, along with 393 filled stockings, will be distributed by the Salvation Army of Central Florida to local children who are in need of holiday gifts.


Magical sewing skills!

Disney’s newest heroine, Rapunzel, from the phenomenal film Tangled knows how to sew!

Okay, so sewing wasn’t a huge focus in the movie or anything, but I was humored to see it represented at all. Not to mention, the screenshot above is simultaneously hilarious and adorable.

My favorite Disney character, Wendy Darling, also had mad sewing skills. She actually succeeded at the seemingly impossible task of sewing a shadow back onto Peter Pan:

Giselle from Enchanted took her sewing skills to a Frauline Maria level when she magically created her whimsical blue dress out of curtains:

Apparently Cinderella had some sewing know-how, as she was seen reading a dress pattern. However, it seems that the birds and mice really did most of the work, so Cinderella’s actual skills are debatable.

Hmm, any others that I missed?

Inspirations and modifications

I get the most brilliant ideas in the most inopportune places. Having a lightbulb-over-my-head moment is so inconvenient when I’m pushing through the last few minutes of an evening run, driving 70mph on the highway or rinsing conditioner out of my hair. I have to wonder how many wonderful ideas float out of my head, never to return again simply because I don’t have a means of writing them down when they come into my life.

But it’s understandable that ideas would come to me during these times. Let’s face it – running, driving and showering are boring. What else is there to do other than think? (and sing to the RENT soundtrack… which is usually blasting in all of the above scenarios)

Luckily, one shower-sewing-inspiration a few months back was so promising that I started mapping out a plan in my head before my hair was even dry. My dear friend’s birthday was approaching and I wanted to make her something memorable. Because we share a special understanding about the magic of Disney, I used Minnie Mouse for inspiration and made a Friendship Bag using the same modified measurements I wrote about a few posts back.

A variety of black calico prints + a red/white polka dot fabric + a magical, inspirational mouse = One successful sewing project!

For an extra magical touch, I added a mouse-head applique using a really amazing product called Heat’n Bond Iron-On Adhesive. It’s available near the ironing supplies in the fabric store for around $10/roll and comes in a variety of adhesive strengths to turn any fabric into an iron-on piece. Since I planned on stitching around the border, I only needed to use the lightest strength to iron my applique in place. Non-sewers would appreciate Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold adhesive – no sewing required!

And last, I created a little coin pouch – my first experience with a zipper. I had to mix and match a few different online tutorials to create the exact quilted zipper coin pouch I had in mind, but overall it wasn’t very difficult. Zippers look more intimidating than they really are!

What I learned from this project:

  • Inspiration can strike anywhere!
  • Heat’n Bond is an amazing product for creating appliques, and may even be useful for non-sewers.
  • Zippers are not scary!

Am I the only one who gets inspired in strange places?

Pixie dusted panels

This past weekend, I traveled across the country for a friend’s wedding and stayed with my parents. Not only did I get to raid my mom’s fabric collection (consisting of scraps dating back to Halloween costumes of the 80’s past) but I also got to visit Hancock Fabrics, a fabric store that I do not have in my area back home. Being a huge fan of the movie Peter Pan, and especially anything involving my favorite character Wendy Darling, I was immediately overcome with joy when I saw this 48″ x 60″ fleece panel:

Not only was the fleece panel amazing and magical, but it was ON SALE. So, although my fellow airplane passengers didn’t realize it, the return flight was sprinkled with a little pixie dust as Peter Pan, Wendy, John, Michael and Tinker Bell rode along inside my suitcase.

So now, the big question: what will become of the magical fleece panel? I imagine it will end up as a blanket, but simply sewing a solid fleece panel to the back seems…. boring.

Any suggestions for a creative touch?

A monster of a project

I think it’s a given that anyone who sews will eventually make a Halloween costume. It was only a matter of time after I bought my sewing machine in July that I started racking my brain for Halloween costume ideas.

Since I planned to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party with a friend at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park, we really wanted to come up with a fun Disney pair that was slightly outside-the-box. A prince-and-princess just seemed too cliche for our creative personalities. After coming up with a lot of ideas, we finally decided that Mike Wazowski and Boo from the Disney-Pixar film Monsters, Inc. was the winning duo.

I started with Simplicity 7415,  a vintage pumpkin / tennis ball / baseball / ice cream scoop / pincushion / Humpty Dumpty pattern from the early 90’s. (Side note: I’m happy to report that this is the first official pattern I’ve mastered thus far. Woohoo!)

I followed the instructions for the tennis ball costume, primarily using lime green broadcloth for the body, and lined the inside with felt to add a little shape. I used white, black and kelly green broadcloth to create the eye, which is glued on and lightly handstitched around the edges. We stuffed the costume with crumpled newspapers contained in trash bags, and elastic at the neckline and the bottom of the costume kept the innerds from falling out during our trek around the Magic Kingdom.

In a dream world, I would have sewn a shirt and pants for Mike Wazowski using the same lime green broadcloth as the body – but in the end, it was just more practical to wear a pair of mint green scrubs that he already owned. My entire Boo ensemble consisted of lucky finds at Walmart – no sewing involved.

Mike Wazowski and Boo costumes

Can you believe I was lucky enough to attend the Halloween party with Nick Lachey?

Although only die-hard Disney fans recognized me as Boo, the Mike Wazowski costume was a HUGE HIT. I couldn’t believe how many “Mike Wazowski!!!” shouts we heard from afar. Little Monsters Inc. fans in strollers gazed up at Mike Wazowski with wide eyes. My friend was quick to brag about my skills to strangers, telling them that I had sewed the costume, but I was secretly glad it was dark outside so that nobody could see my imperfect stitches up close!

What I learned from this project:

  • To fulfill a creative vision, it’s sometimes necessary to shop for out-of-print patterns on the internet.
  • I used bias tape for the first time. I still can’t say I completely understand the purpose of fabric “cut on the bias,” but for the purpose of this project, it was incredibly useful to have long strips of pre-cut, folded fabric.
  • This costume was the biggest and most cumbersome project I have made to date. It was also the most time consuming, and let’s face it, a lot of the steps were repetitive and not very exciting (sew lots of solid colored panels together… zzzzzzzz). Feeling burnt out from a specific, monotonous project is probably normal. But it sure helped my sewing soul to take some days off to work on other projects, like cutting fabric for new Friendship Bags, before returning to the Halloween costume.

All in all, I love how the Mike Wazowski costume turned out, although it is a little strange to have a monster hanging in my closet!

What are you dressing up as for Halloween this year?