Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year Birthday

Months ago - like, maybe December time...LittleA thought that a Chinese New Year party would make a great birthday theme. Tim and I agreed that could be fun and we started saving ideas away in computer folders. LittleA's main request was that there would be a dragon that the kids could all get under and dance with. Her hopes was that the dragon dance done by her and her friends would "Scare The Pants Off The Adults". Well that was all the motivation we needed!
To start things off we needed some lanterns for decorating the house. We saved glass jars from the recycling bin and dolled them up with red and pink tissue paper and mod-podge.
After this was completed I went to the drawing board in my "studio" and came up with some blue-prints for a kimono and dragon. Now please let me make it clear that we are well aware that much of this is not authentic for Chinese New Year...nor is some of it even Chinese - I think some of our plans leaned more towards Japanese. Please forgive our lack of authenticity - we were in it for fun!
I stumbled across a 60% off fabric sale at the local fabric shop and picked up some dragon and peacock brocade fabric - this was back in Dec and this was my jumping off point. I created my own pattern based on some shirts and dresses LittleA has as well as grabbing some inspiration from looking at photos on etsy and google image search. Here were some of the inspiring pieces (Peripheral Visions and Patch Work Kids). The one trouble was that LittleA wanted the dress to also be "spinny" - you know twirl out at the bottom when spinning. I think we ended up comprimising but we were both happy with the results.
I started with a standard pattern layout from a denim jumper she had. I used a little piece of metal with a hole in it to go around my entire drawing and add a 1/4" seam allowence.
Once the top was drawn I did much erasing and redrawing to add in the wrap portion for the top. Once this phase was complete I cut out the pieces and then traced it onto a bed sheet I purchased at the thrift shop. For $2 I had a bed sheet which I cut in half. Once piece was used for the pattern pieces for this dress and the other half I got to use to make the dragon! $2 for all that fabric - a great alternative to the muslin fabric at the fabric store. The best part is that I still have the pillowcase - so I can make a pillowcase dress later this summer. 
I created an entire dress from the turquoise bed sheet and made sure while it was all basted and pinned together that it fit LittleA ok. After making some adjustments I went and placed the template bed sheet pieces onto the wrong side of the fabric and traced around it with disapearing fabric marker.
After this I added in the lining fabric pieces. This gave the inside a nice finished look and feel.
Then it was all startng to come together. Here it is without the arms...I almost debated ending it here and letting LittleA wear it with a long sleeve shirt underneath and a little pair of stretch pants.
This is the best picture I have that I can post of LittleA wearting the dress. Yes, I know her shoes are on the wrong feet - she likes it that way better she tells me.
In an attempt to wrap this post up before it gets much longer - here are the invitations... 
I looked around and considered a variety of options but spotted these (from Plum Party) and these and knew I had to try to recreate them and make something similar. I designed them in Illustrator and used some vector clip art from the microsoft website. The Chinese lettering (Happy Birthday) was from here (not sure the accuracy) you can also see your name in Chinese on this site. Had the kids that attended the party been a little older we may have done a "write your name in Chinese" craft station.
I found the red tea length envelopes at a local Hobby Lobby. The wire is just some floral wire I had on hand. I made the take out box pocketd so that the chopstick invite piece slid right into it. 
 I found a new kind of glossy paper at the office supply store. It was a glossy brochure paper (as oppsoed to the expensive glossy photo papers). The whole pack was about $14 and I think it had 300-500 sheets. So I am sure you will see more of this paper in upcoming projects. It was a pain to load sheet by sheet into the printed - but the end results were better then just plain copy paper.
Here they are all done and ready to be tucked into the mail.
Join me for Part II of this post where I post about the dragon, the goodie-bags, cake / dessert, and decorations.

1 comment:

Gift of Green said...

I tweeted your blog - I need all of my thousands of followers (well, minus a decimal place or three) to see your craftiness!