Month: February 2014

The story of my Purim costume: Assembley

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Once the pieces were cut out the assembly went pretty quickly. I followed the directions, mostly.  Okay, they were more like guidelines for when I needed to peek. This was, luckily, a straight forward assembly.

I pinned all the pieces together (I mean ALL the pieces, bodice pieces, midriff pieces, skirt pieces – I am so happy I have that many pins).

I first sewed the top bodice pieces together:

Next, I pressed the seams of the lining open. If your outer fabric is a fabric you can iron, then press the seams open too. Mine is a crushed velvet, so I did not press the seams. Do not iron any type of velvet! Pressing the seams open makes them lay nicely when you are finished. 

Once the bodice pieces are sewn together to make the bodice and bodice lining, sew together the shoulder straps. Mine are of my contrasting fabric.

Be sure to clip the curves of the straps before turning them right side out. This will insure that the fabric lays correctly. Press the straps flat. Be sure to set the iron to the correct setting for each fabric. Take it from me, if set to high, you can accidentally melt your fabric.

Once the straps are done, I pinned them to the bodice, like you see below. After sewing them to the fabric I attached the lining and voila! Bodice top.

Next, I sewed the midriff pieces. Same process as the bodice. Remember to press all your seams.

I do not have any pictures of sewing the skirt together, I got excited and just kept plugging away. Here is the assembled dress. I still need to put in the zipper.

I have been playing with the draping of the cape and I think that I have it where I want to attach it.

Follow up with me to see the finished project!

Happy Sewing!



Purim for Beginners

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Check out this post from the Coffee Shop Rabbi for the basic on Purim

Coffee Shop Rabbi

English: Esther Denouncing Haman, by Ernest No... Esther Denouncing Haman, by Ernest Normand, c. 1915 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are new to synagogue, Purim is either a treat or a shock, maybe both. It’s a holiday based in the Biblical book of Esther, which is such a wild, farcical document that it very nearly didn’t get included in the Bible. Here’s what you need to know:

1. WHEN? Purim falls on 14 Adar. In a leap year, it falls on 14 Adar II. There may be something called Shushan Purim on your Jewish calendar, but you only need to worry about it if you live in a walled city such as Jerusalem. For conversion to the secular calendar, check a Jewish calendar.

2. THE STORY For the whole megillah [scroll] read the Book of Esther in the Bible. The short version: The Jewish community in Persia is nearly annihilated when King Ahasuerus’s chief…

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The story of my Purim Costume: Prep

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I started by cutting out my pattern pieces:

Bodice lining, bodice fabric & contrast pieces, skirt pieces. Overall it ended up being 9 pattern pieces from 2 different patterns.

I worked as a leisurely pace today (read as I did little actual work). I cut out the pattern pieces and the bodice lining as well as the contrast pieces. All I have left to cut out tomorrow is the red crushed velvet – so the skirt pieces and the rest of the bodice.

Here are some pictures from today’s progress:

Sneak Peek

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The story of my Purim costume: 2014

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My husband’s opening conversation with me back in November of 2010 was to invite me to a Steampunk Purim party that he was hosting. Having no idea what Steampunk or Purim were, I did a bunch of research. Steampunk was easy to find, and I quickly fell in love with the idea of the costuming, having a love of the Victorian Era. As to Purim, I’ll be honest, even growing up with Jewish friends, I had never heard of it! I honestly thought that he might be making it up. Luckily for me, I had a friend who lived in the apartment below mine, he was a son of a rabbi.

He filled me in on Purim. First of all, yes, it was a real holiday. Purim is the Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire where a plot had been formed to destroy them. The story is recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther. And it is celebrated like a Jewish Halloween.

To quote Wikipedia:

According to the Book of Esther, Haman, royal vizier to King Ahasuerus (presumed to be Xeres I of Persia), planned to kill all the Jews in the empire, but his plans were foiled by Mordecai (Mor-di-khai) and his adopted daughter Esther who had risen to become Queen of Persia. The day of deliverance became a day of feasting and rejoicing.

Based on the conclusions of the Scroll of Esther (Esther 9:22): “[…] that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor” Purim therefore celebrated by:

  1. Exchanging reciprocal gifts of food and drink known as mishloach manot.
  2. Donating charity to the poor known as mattanot la-evyonim.
  3. Eating a celebratory meal known as a se’udat Purim’.
  4. Public recitation, usually in synagogue, of the Scroll of Esther known as kriat ha-megillah.
  5. Reciting additions to the daily prayers and the grace after meals known as Al HaNissim.
  6. Other customs include drinking wine, wearing of masks and costumes, and public celebration.
My husband (then new boyfriend) and I at Purim 2011
Me & my husband (then a newly minted boyfriend) at Purim 2011

Having our own place now, we have been hosting as many get togethers as we can, and Purim is a fun holiday to celebrate! Come on, getting to dress up in fun costumes and eat, drink and be merry? What is better than that?

This year, I had been pondering what I wanted to do for my costume. I first wanted to make a new Steampunk outfit. One based on my favorite character in the Parasol Protectorate series written by Gail Carriger. This character is Madame Genevieve Lefoux. I ADORE this character. I designed what I think she would wear, found patterns to tweak to make it, the whole nine yards!

(Here is a link to Gail’s live journal about Madame Lefoux )

Anyway, after pricing it out, both money and time wise, to do it right, made it a VERY involved costume. So back to the drawing board for me.

This time I came away with a new inspiration. I was doing a bit of research about Purim costumes (read as: googled images of ‘Purim costumes’). I came across this picture:

One Night With The King - Esther's Wedding Gown on Chipmunk's
One Night With The King – Esther’s Wedding Gown on Chipmunk’s

You know me and princesses and pretty dresses and all things stunning, I was mesmerized! I had to make this outfit. I contacted my friend, the son of a rabbi, to make sure that dressing as Queen Esther was not in poor taste, frowned upon, sac-relig, going to get me in trouble, etc. I learned that dressing up like the characters from the story of Esther is traditional. So I was totally on track.

Chipmunk’s Corner has been great for inspiring this outfit! But it did not fall into place that quickly. I had the idea, sure, but the dress wasn’t in my head yet.

I went through my pattern drawers and came across a McCalls pattern for crowns. After searching multiple fabric stores, I was disappointed because there was no gold vinyl to be found. (I did find one, but there was no way I was paying over $80 for a yard!) So, I gave up on the actual crown idea. I did see a cute mini crown, but it is more Queen of Hearts than Queen Esther. I will have to play around with my hair to see what inspires me for a crown.

I came across an old Halloween costume pattern that has an Egypian-esk outfit. My dress idea started fleshing out from there. Not loving the bodice of the Egytpian pattern, I also pulled out a sundress pattern that I have yet to make, and decided to use that bodice with the fuller skirt option of the Egyptian pattern. Boom! I also saw the contrasting band along the bottom of one of the sundress options, and thought, if I see a brocade that matches my other fabrics I will do the band. Well kids, I found one. But first the patterns I am working with:

I just needed the fabric! My husband and I wandered through a fabric store in Lakewood, New Jersey, suggested to us by his grandmother, and I had the AH-HA moment I had been waiting for. Inspiration had FINALLY struck! We stumbled across a beautiful burgundy crushed velvet. I knew what I was doing in that moment: burgundy/red crushed velvet dress with a gold chiffony drape. Brilliant!

Purim costume Queen Esther 020
Red crushed velvet, red and gold brocade, and sparkly gold sheer

I picked up the fabric today. I have to tell you, the gold sheer is more beautiful that I thought it was in the store! And with the red … stunning! I cannot wait to wear this outfit!

Stay tuned for my progress!



Hamentashen! Holiday Felt Foods for Play Time

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A hamantash is a filled-pocket cookie or pastry in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine recognizable for its three-cornered shape. The shape is achieved by folding in the sides of a circular piece of dough, with a filling placed in the center.  They are traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim.
As you know, my husband is an Ashkenazi Jew, and Purim is the holiday that brought is together 🙂 but that is a story for another day.
Purim is the celebration of Jewish deliverance as told in the Book of Esther, and this year starts at sundown on March 15th. In honor of this awesome holiday, I started to celebrate by making a bunch of felt hamentashen cookies that will, in theory, end up as a wreath for our front door. And in a few years some will be made for my future children to play pretend with.
When making felt play food for kids be sure to use the appropriate stuffing materials, your local fabric store will be happy to assist you in picking the correct stuffing for your project.
Supplies: Felts (tan for the cookie and a color for the jelly) Stuffing material Needle and thread Scissors
Felts (tan for the cookie and a color for the jelly)
Stuffing material
Needle and thread

There is no pattern that I followed. Like with my other felt foods, I made the pattern up. Given the simplicity of the cookie itself making it out of felt seemed simple.

First, I traced a plastic lid on the tan felt then cut out 4 of the “cookie” part.

Tan Felt Cookie pieces
Tan Felt “Cookie” pieces

Next, I made a triangle pattern and traced it on of purple, red, pink and brown felt for the “jelly” centers of the cookies. I then cut out the triangles.

A few of the "jelly" centers
A few of the “jelly” centers

Now for the assembly:

Step One: Place a small fluff of stuffing on the center of the felt circle.

Cookie and stuffing
Cookie and stuffing

Step Two: Pick your “jelly” color, I went with red, and place it over your stuffing.

La so
La so

Step Three: Like with the real cookies, pinch the edges together and whip stitch around outside edge.

Step Four: Turn the cookie and stitch up the remaining two corners.

You have a completed felt hamentash.


Chag Purim Sameach!