I'd been mulling over the idea of Mari's costume for her birthday for almost as long as we had been planning the party, which was a long time. Things didn't start to form in my brain until Halloween when Grosgrain posted her Halloween ideas. One of which happened to be The Red Queen. Then the inspirational juices started flowing. I sketched out a plan and used a few JoAnn's coupons and took advantage of the costume fabric on sale for Halloween.
I think I went a bit overboard because not only did I get dupioni silk, but I also went crazy with the heaviest weight of broadcloth that they had. I was lamenting that I didn't buy more trimming accessories, but that's ok. Mari is still little and having all of the extra would just be a distraction, not to mention a safety hazard, potentially if there were small bits she could choke on.
First up, a full skirt. I knew I wanted several panels. Recently, Mari was gifted Disney's Giselle's dress from her cousin. She loved it. I used the skirt as the sample, so right off the bat, the dress was NOT going to be like the sketch. I planned to make tiny bustles out of the gold portion and add a drape of some sort.
Next up was the bodice. I still wanted to do the pintucks, but I've never done them. After viewing a couple of videos on Youtube that were mostly focused on machines with a pintuck foot, I happened upon Burdastyle's Pintuck tutorial. It made sense enough, even though I knew I executed it poorly. I used Make It and Love It's puffy sleeve technique. I wanted longer sleeves with some puff to it. The first ones I made ended up not being wide enough for Mari. Then, she's been sick, so I haven't exactly gotten to test this one out, so I just might be making new sleeves. ha ha ha! Anyway, I was a lover of puffy sleeves when I was younger and my grandmother taught me to add a bit of tull to the top gather to make the puff be even puffier. I tried her little trick and thank God I did because they would've been flatter than I would have liked. It still didn't have the pizazz I wanted, so I added a tiny bit of trim to the sides and I think I pulled the gold with it. For the record, I made a couple of pattern pieces from an existing dress that Mari loves. The front panel is one piece where I just attached the pintucked fabric piece. The back is made up of two panels and instead of adding a zipper, I just added velcro, since this is going to be a dress up costume afterall.
Next, was to add a drape. I had it in my head that I wanted to do a bit of knot smocking because I like that it gives an elegant and regal look. Instead of keeping with the red, black, and gold, I used navy for a pop of color, that and I had some lovely sheer fabric that would work well as a drape of some sorts. I just gathered some fabric, hand sewed five loops and went down three inches in the line. For the next row, I just went in between each knot. I used red ribbon to keep the color scheme together. Here is what the final panel looked like.
Next, I attached it to the skirt, then it was time to attach the skirt to the bodice. Since this is the Queen of Hearts, she needed hearts, so I cut out 4 hearts and added them to the red panel in the skirt that was showing. It was very rudimentary and I'm considering getting some more trim, maybe lace, to make it look nicer. Not sure. Also, she will be wearing her very full pettiskirt underneath, so I'm REALLY glad the skirt is extra wide.
Here you can see the hearts that I attached and the tiny bustle/gathers I made on the gold. Now that I look closer, I want to add a couple more.
Here you can see the drape that I added with the red knots.
And here is a full shot of it, complete with the pettiskirt under it. See how full the dress is? I hope she loves it!
I still have to do the hem and maybe add a few more embellishments, but that's about it. Should I add some more hearts? Does it need lace? Is it good enough, especially for dress up? Aaaaaack! I know I'm obsessing over it and the biggest critic has yet to try it on or even see it. I like it and think it is pretty darn good for a first effort major costume with no real pattern that I just threw together. I learned a lot from this project and I can't wait to try to make another big one.
Hope she feels well enough tomorrow for a photo shoot because well, her party is in a month and I need to get the invites together. More party details to come.