Halloween Costume, Mama Imelda, CHECK! | Week 35 | #52wonderfilledweeks

Eight weeks...EIGHT WEEKS from today we will be hosting our first "kid" birthday party! Eep! Followed by our first Day of the Dead/Wonder's Bday party.  We are so excited but know that there is plenty to do.  P's basically a Halloween baby and we've dressed up pretty much since she arrived.  Growing up we (my family and Super's) went all out for Halloween...no store bought costumes, handmade, and the details mattered.  We all had a blast figuring out what we wanted to be.  My sister and I even set up a scary scene with shadows and a white sheet one year in our front room.  We just loved the fun of everything, and then in 1999 my sister was killed in a freak car accident and I put all my Halloween stuff away...for 14 years...and then P arrived.  She came 14 years to the day that my sister had her accident and it was like I could sort of breath again.  It's given us the go ahead to celebrate our once loved holiday, free from guilt.  So we dressed P as Princess Aurora in the hospital and then there was the year she was a skeleton (both of these outfits were bought).

But then she asked to be a dragon one year and I thought, sure I can do that...

Last year she wanted to be Moana and made the rest of us dress up with her and I just about killed myself making each of our costumes, FROM SCRATCH.  I learned a lot...but the biggest lesson was to start early!

This year we are actually having a party since P is turning 5 and she asked (all the way back in January) if she could have a Coco themed party.  She wanted to be Mama Imelda and started assigning us to the other characters.  We've changed our assignments a few times now but the kids are set and this week I made Mama Imelda from start to finish.  Since she uses these costumes for dress up once Halloween is over I really try and make a quality garment.  She STILL dresses up as Moana...so this is like a birthday gift as well as her Halloween costume.  I won't show you everything we have planned for the big occasion but over the next 8 weeks you'll probably see plenty of Coco and Day of the Dead themed projects! Just a warning.

So for Mama Imelda I used the Made for Mermaids, Holly, for the dress.  I have made two of these before and something always goes wrong when I make these, though I know no one would know just looking at them so I guess that's good.  I only had to make a few changes to the dress to made it work for what we needed.

First we had to pick the right fabric.  For those that are not familiar, here's a peek at Imelda:

I did some preliminary searching and then let P have the final say.  She choose a great fabric from JoAnn's and it was ridiculously on sale.  I think I ended up paying about $12 for the purple fabric.

And when we were at the store I found this fabric which was perfect for the "leather" apron Mama Imelda wears.

The pattern has an option for a flutter cap or sleeves, I just used both instead of one or the other so I didn't need to adapt anything there. I did remember from the other times I have made this pattern that doing all the gathering (and there is a ton!!!) was a real pain so I took some time to research how to set up my serger to gather for me. LIFESAVER. I will never use the bobbin thread method again...seriously...if you own a serger do yourself a favor and figure the settings out for your machine.

I DID have to add the front bodice ruffle, I figured about 2" by the same width as the skirt and I would be fine.  Worked like a charm.  I gathered the piece and basted it on before I continued with the general pattern instructions.

I found this Jacquard ribbon on Etsy and it was perfect for the ribbon accent Mama Imelda sports.  The only down side was that I didn't have enough to do the middle band on the dress. I knew I wanted to accent the square neck of the dress and I since I knew there was a half inch seam allowance I marked all along the shoulders in about three quarters of an inch.  

Then I pinned the ribbon along the shoulders and sewed in place.  I decided to do the shoulders first and then lay the front bodice and back bodice pieces over them because their ribbon edges would be caught in the shoulder seam, leaving a relatively clean inside seam.

Once the bodice and shoulder were embellished I tackled the ends of the sleeves.  I wanted to attach the ribbon before I finished the sleeves, again, so that the ribbon ends would be caught in the seam.  I folded my sleeve hem up just under three quarters of an inch since my ribbon was half inch. 

I opened up the seam I had just ironed and sewed my ribbon along the crease but only along the bottom edge of the ribbon.  I want to finish attaching my sleeves before I finish hemming and planned on sewing the top edge of the ribbon to finish the sleeve hem.

Once I sewed them down I attached the sleeves (and flutter sleeve) to the garment per the directions.  What was neat is that I could see the line from where I had sewn down the ribbon to the bodice and I could make sure that I wasn't accidentally sewing over it.

With the sleeves attached I sewed up the sides of the dress and continued to finish the sleeves.  I folded back the memory hem.

And then folded the top edge under about an additional quarter inch.  

With the sleeves folded and ironed I top-stitched the top of the ribbon catching the folded hem all in one step.  I followed the pattern for cutting, gathering and attaching the bottom ruffle.

I used the Made for Mermaids, FREE APRON pattern as my starting point for Imelda's apron.  Since I wasn't using a bodice piece I decided to eliminate the extra seam at the top of the sash, and cut the pieces twice as tall. 

 I did want to enclose the top of the apron in the sash and thought the pieced sash would look better and give me a visual "center" to the apron.

I used the measurements on the pattern and then headed off in my own direction.

Imelda's apron is curved and very stylized.  I used my french curve to round off the bottom of the apron while I had it folded.

I serged the edges to help with fraying and I love the tip that M4M gives about serging edges and using the serged seam to show you where/how to fold it up.  Because this is not lined I folded the edge up twice.  It was a real pain around the corners, I used a lot of steam in my iron and sewed very slowly.

I folded the ends of the sash right sides together and sewed the short ends and then turned and sewed about an inch down the long side on each end.  This makes a really sharp corner and eliminated me having to fold a seam allowance on the edges.

I clipped my corners before turning inside out, folding the sash in half the whole length and then ironing a half inch seam allowance along the length of the sash.

With everything pinned and ironed I centered my main apron piece on the sash and inserted it in the seam allowance and sewed around the whole sash twice! 

Next up was the apron pocket.  I cut a slightly smaller rectangle and used my french curve again for the rounded bottom.  Imelda's apron pocket has some seam details but when I sewed a top-stitch down the center you couldn't see it at all.  So I sewed a small seam down the center.

Then I ironed the seam over and top-stitched it.  It really made that detail pop.  

I then jumped on my computer to find the perfect fond for the "R" on the apron.  R = Rivera, their families last name.

I cut out the "R"on freezer paper using my Cameo 3 and then trimmed the stencil down a quarter inch.

I used the trimmed edge to get the right placement and ironed down my stencil.

Once in place I used a brown Sharpie to color in the stencil.  I wanted the "R" to be there but not in your face.  

I love peeling off stencils.

It came out exactly the way I had hoped!

With my pocket all stenciled I folded along the serged edges, ironed, pinned in place and top-stitched.

 One of the last things I needed to do was add a button or snap to the back. Something happened when I was making this and the interfacing I did iron into the bodice was not anywhere near where the snap should actually go so I took an old WonderJo Designs tag that was on twill tape and cut some small pieces to use as a stabilizer.

Everything was going great until I wasn't paying attention and poked a hole right thru my dress.  I could have cried.  A lot of bad words were said.  But then P came over and said.  "It's okay Mama, accidents happen!" so I Fray checked the snot out of it and carried on!

I made Imelda's choker from some jewels we picked up at JoAnn's, a button and some lingerie elastic I had.

I really can't believe how cute this all came out.  Bubba's costume won't be nearly as intensive but I am looking forward to seeing our family costume this year.  In the meantime I think P approves of my work.


  1. P has good taste. I have the same fabric in pink that I used as backing on a quilt.


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