Dragonfly Designs by Alisa



Film Costumes

1830s Yellow Dress

This one is mostly done, but not quite. I’m making a blue sash to go over the shoulder, because this dress has a particular purpose. It’s going to be on the cover of my upcoming steampunk book series: The Journals of Miss Winnifred Sebastian-Veals. Set in 1839, it follows the adventures of a group of intrepid women, the Society of Queen’s Own Monster Hunters, as they travel to exotic places in service to Queen Victoria.  The first in the series, A Manifestation of Monstrosities, will be published in December.

I bought the yellow satin in the fabric district of Los Angeles last year, when I was visiting my dream dress, the also yellow “Canary Dress” from Crimson Peak.

This one turned out to be good practice for that one – if I ever get the time to devote to making it. For instance, I can’t find the right color of greenish-yellow anywhere…but I learned that if you need to flat line a yellow satin dress, and you only have black fabric, lining yellow with black actually gives it a greenish tint, and adds a whole lot of depth and texture. Totally doing that when I make the Crimson Peak dress!

If you’re interested, I am posting the first half or so of the new book series on my Goodreads page. It’s still a bit rough, as I haven’t finished the editing yet, but I’ll keep posting new chapters until the book actually comes out in print. You can find those chapters here:

Since the dress itself is mostly finished, I am turning my attention to the various props that will also be a part of this cover, and of the covers to come. A mermaid mask from Venice. A rag doll with the head of the Egyptian god Anubis. A skull. A birdcage. A mechanical heart.

Boggart Snape Progress

Except for buttons, and finishing the bottom of the skirt, I’ve got the suit finished and ready to distress, stripe with fabric paint, and sew on spiders. Ignore the color; my camera didn’t capture the color AT ALL accurately. It’s actually a dark mossy green. Fabric sample shown in the previous post.

Cute little pockets are cute.

The back is a basic as you can get.

Next up, I get to begin all the fun stuff – the accessories!

Reference pics and fabric choice 12/4/15

I just love this costume. And I love it even more after I saw it in person, with all the funny details.

Reference shots from the Warner Bros Studio Tour:

The cat boa has mice in their mouths!

Spiders, spiders everywhere. I hate spiders. I still love this costume.

The problem with the Warner Bros Tour though, is the lighting. They are all dramatic, which means that a costume like this one, that is actually quite a dark green, is turned rather…grayish lavender.  The actual coloring is more like this:

This fabric is friggin’ impossible to find. OF COURSE.  But I did find a plain green with a similar texture.

I’m going to darken it, and add the streaky look by hand brushing on black fabric paint.

Emerald City ComicCon & Star Wars Exhibit

My friend was also feeling the Can’t-Quite-Get-A-Costume-Together blues too, so in the end we hit up the thrift store and I dressed as a MiB agent, and she went as the undercover alien tourist I was keeping an eye on.

I didn’t take more than a couple of pictures while I was there, because honestly, at a packed and crowded con like ECCC, it’s just too much trouble.  But you can see” target=”_blank”>pictures by the professionals here.

It was fun, but I really prefer smaller, more intimate cons.  The celebrity guests were a definite perk, though!  Alex Kingston, Anthony Daniels, and Clark Gregg were my favorites.  OMG Clark Gregg!   :) And Alex Kingston!

The next day, we went to the Star Wars Costume Exhibition at the EMP Museum.  Guys, I think my mojo is coming back!  After seeing all the gorgeous costumes, I want to start making some of my own again.  I had planned to take all of this year off, but who knows?  Maybe I might do a little something after all…

You can see all the pictures I took here.

We also took in the rest of the costuming stuff at the EMP.  Bowie’s Labyrinth costume, a couple from GoT, Princess Bride, and various others.  You can see them all here.


Cardiff Doctor Who Experience

It’s fantastic, guys. If you’re a fan, and you’re ever in the UK, I highly recommend a trip here. I did a small write up about it on my other blog, here:

It was particularly great for a costumer, because none of the costumes were behind glass, and, while they didn’t allow you to actually touch any of them, you were free to stick your camera as close as you wanted, and in most cases, you could walk all the way around them.

All the pictures I took are here:

All the Doctors’ clothes where here, including Ten. Guys, you can’t imagine how difficult it was not to reach out and touch!!!!

And River.

And many of Clara’s costumes, including one of her Victorians.

Also Missy!

The Queen (which I was much more impressed by in person!)

And River. Who was sadly hard to photograph from the back, because of the way the lighting was.

Her dress, by the way, is a lightweight poly stretch.

My surprise favorite of the costumes, though, was the Red Dress worn by the cybermen’s queen.

It’s officially added to the list of Things I Want to Make Someday. Just look at the pretty!

One thing I found interesting about the whole Experience was how few kids where there. It was almost all adults, of all ages. I found that just cool. I love things like Doctor Who and Harry Potter that bring people of all ages together!

And there was something else I was going to tell you…but I forgot what it was…

Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour

One of the most amazing things I did was visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. It’s a vast, incredible collection of about every costume and prop used in the Harry Potter films, as well as many of the actual film sets.  If you’re in the London area, it’s a must-see.

I took around 500 pictures while I was there, and I’ve uploaded them here, if you care to have a look.

It was great to be able to see some of the costumes in person that I intend to recreate one day.  The Grey Lady (which is a for-sure!) Fabric shopping is beginning for this one already. I have samples in the mail….

And Dolores Umbridge. Hate her. Love her clothes. Love to cosplay evil gits.

Tonks.  Fellow Hufflepuff!

Snape. I’ve always wanted to do his actual movie costume, but after seeing his Boggart costume, I really, really want to do that one too.

I mean, look at this cat stole????

Ron’s Dress Robes. I don’t know why. I just love this.

I also blogged about visiting here on my other blog. Interested?” target=”_blank”> Read it here.


Captain Jack Sparrow

I finished the sewing bits of the Jack Sparrow costume.  First, here is the completed waistcoat/vest:

This was fun to do, as I made my own pattern and it all went together easily!

The back in the films is made of a different fabric, as waistcoats frequently were, but I didn’t have anything in the fabric bins that would work, so I decided to self back it.  You won’t see much of the back anyway, what with the sash and wig!

After the waistcoat, I finished the Jack Sparrow breeches:

I used a bloomer pattern that was very heavily modified!  It was a huge relief when they fit properly, as I majorly suck at sewing pants!  Also, I faked the button panel by putting a zipper underneath it.  I didn’t do the research to figure out how they actually closed their flies, but I’m pretty sure it involved some form of lacing, I really don’t want the hassle of that, since this is just for Halloween!

Then, I sewed the Jack Sparrow shirt. This is a linen/cotten blend fabric that I really like.  I should have bought more!  I don’t like straight linen much, as it needs to be worn alot in order to get that soft, worn feel.  With the cotton addition, this looks like linen, but is already soft!  So nice for shirts!  It came blindingly white, but I dyed it in black tea.  By laying tea bags randomly through layers of the fabric, and not doing much stirring, I created an uneven dye pattern – some areas are a bit blotchy, and the darkness/lightness of the dye varies quite a bit.  I still need to age and distress the entire outfit, but dyeing the shirt like this gives me a leg up in the aging process.  It already looks like it’s been worn out in sunlight and faded.

I used wooden buttons because I had few left over from another project, and they look cool.

The Captain Jack Sparrow outfit is completed and ready to wear.  Last night, I did a test run of the makeup and beard application.

I was astonished, when the makeup and beard was on, how MUCH I resemble Johnny Depp!  I never would have guessed.  Seriously, it was turning me on to look at myself in the mirror!  :D  I can’t wait to show you guys….but you’ll have to wait until after Weds, when I wear this outfit to “Disney Characters Day” at work.  I think this going to be my official Halloween costume this year as well.  I absolutely love it.  And it was so much fun applying the beard!

Yesterday and today, I put all the last details together on Captain Sparrow – including the distressing of his clothes.  Here’s a peek at his pants:

I think you’ll agree those are some nasty, dirty-looking knee breeches!  I use lots of stuff for the ‘dirt’ (including food products like smashed berries and soy sauce – anything I feel will leave a good stain), but my favorite two things are these:

The leather dye is awesome, because it comes in a bottle with a round sponge applicator top.  This makes it so perfectly easy to manipulate along the fabric, creating just the size and darkness of stain you desire.  If you just barely brush the sponge across the fabric without applying any pressure, you get a general ‘dulling’ of the fabric, as if dirt is ground into it.

The tool is actually a lemon zester.  It works brilliantly on lemons, and it works just as brilliantly on fabric.  Stretch a piece of fabric across your knee, and scrape the zester across it.  Vigorous scraping produces a perfect aged hole.  Less vigorous scraping produces a lovely worn look.  For fraying hems, hold the zester handle between your knees and stretch the fabric between your hands.  Scrape the hem enthusiastically upward along the zester, varying the pressure for different degrees of damage.

This is one of my favorite costumes ever.  So much fun; I even enjoyed the makeup process!  And, of course, people’s reactions were hilarious.  Some people weren’t quite sure whether I was a guy or a girl (until I spoke and ruined the illusion!).  The only people you can’t fool?  Little kids!  One teeny little girl looked at me and said:  “Daddy, that girl is wearing a sword!”.  Funny how that was the only noteworthy part of my costume…. :D

I have been officially informed that, in this costume, I am attractive to gay men and straight women.  Just the demographic I’m aiming for….  *snicker*

I wore this today to work; we had a “Disney Characters” fun day.  Here I am with Belle from “Beauty & the Beast”.  Can you believe she threw this together yesterday from a borrowed prom dress, the shoes from her wedding, and some tulle?

And lastly, here’s Jack with his parrot…er…chicken….

That is Ellie.  She didn’t particularly want to pose with a pirate, but she DID want to pull his chin beads off!!!


Doctor Who – Rose

Rose’s “Idiot Lantern” dress/ Femme!Ten

If I didn’t have enough geekiness going on, I’m also a huge Doctor Who fan, and I’m in the planning/buying stage of doing a repro of Rose’s dress.  There is already several entries in the “Current Projects” blog on this site, but I decided it’s time this dress had its page.  For my travails over choosing the perfect shoes, see the blog!

First, a reference shot:

Well, okay, two shots – just because David Tennant is in this one:

Okay, three, because here’s a pic of the shoes.  The infamous shoes!

An awesome dress…

I love this dress.  I may incorporate a few design elements from it into Rose’s dress, since we really can’t tell what’s going on under that bomber jacket!

In case you want to buy this dress yourself, here’s a link to the store: It comes in red!  And they have so many gorgeous things that my head just about exploded from sheer wonder and delight!

I have a pattern!

I’ll alter this a bit (raise the back a bit, leave off the buttons and give it a zipper in the back) but otherwise it’s near-perfect.

It’s a Vogue pattern, #V2960, and it’s an original 1954 design.

Shoes.  Third Pair.

I’ve bought two other pairs of possible shoes, but one was the wrong color (and really the wrong style as well), and the other was the wrong color (and my ferret chewed on one of them).

These are not “right” either, but at least they’re the correct color, and nothing’s chewed on them….yet.  Maybe I can add some little pink bows on the sides….?

Rose’s Jacket

Progress on this costume has been stopped, for several reasons.  My shoes were chewed by a ferret (and I can’t find the perfect pair anyway!), I can’t really buy pink silk for the dress until I have the shoes so I can match the color, and I can’t find a blue jacket like Rose’s anywhere.



And I may finally have found the shoes, too…really quite like these….

Who Shoes

And while we’re speaking of Dr Who shoes, I fell in love with these: 

River Song (surely the most intriguing character on Doctor Who besides the Doctor himself!) wears these fab shoes in a recent episode.You can see the shoes in action here (they come on screen at 00.40).

Can’t afford the real ones (they’re Louboutins), but I can afford these knock-offs.  Next time I have a little extra coinage, I’m totally getting them!  So pretty

Rose Jacket

I stumbled across this jacket (okay, who am I kidding? I was ransacking the internets like my life depended on it!) and I think it’s a darn good match for the Idiot’s Lantern jacket she wears.  The collar is off, but it’s the right “look” and the fit is perfect.  And the color seems spot-on.  And it was on sale for $22.  So, dear Reader, I bought it.

There was one that was an even CLOSER match (and cheaper) but it was all sold out and impossible to find.  GAH.

So I’m going to be happy with this one.  Once my shoes come, I’m going to have to start looking for matching fabric….

Rose Shoes – 6/13/10

Okay, so I found shoes I was really, really pleased with – the pink ones with the black bows pictured above.  I ordered them, waited four weeks, and then emailed the company twice with zero response. When I finally got through on the phone, I was told the shoes were no longer available, and they had canceled my order. Without TELLING me, which ticked me off big time!

So I went on a mad scrabble search through the internets for another pair, and came up empty, except for these really similar ones. The only problem with these is that they aren’t peep toes. But you know what? I’ve never been all that fond of peep toes, so I decided to buy them anyway.

They are so cute, peoples!    

I was all set to buy pink taffeta to sew Rose’s dress, but my local Jo-Ann’s had baby pink and hot pink….and I need the shade between!  I guess it’s back to the internets!  If I finish this outfit by August, I think I’ll wear it to work.  We’re having a “Blast to the Past” dress-up day, and this could be my 50s outfit.  It would be fun to see if anyone recognizes me as “Rose”.

Rose Dress 7/31/10

I’d been wondering where to wear this dress, once it was done.  Then I remembered that my workplace is having a “Blast from the Past” fun day, where everyone is supposed to dress in a different era’s clothing. Naturally, I thought, what could be better? This is a 50s dress, after all!  I just need to sew it in two weeks.

Here’s the stuff I started with:

Shoes, sequins, and satin taffeta.

After two days of sewing, here’s the basic dress:

At this point, the shirt is still not sewn to the bodice, and there’s no zipper or hem.  I pinned on some sequins and added a denim jacket (my actual jacket is too heavy to wear inside in August!).  I decided to box pleat the skirt rather than gather it as Rose’s dress is.  I like the look better, and it’s totally a 50s style.  My fabric is also thicker than Rose’s, so it works really well.

Since then, I’ve completed the dress, except for ironing.  I made the earrings as well. All that’s left is the tulle underskirt and taking in the waist of the jacket a smidge to give it the proper fitted look.  I can’t wait to wear it!  It’s so pretty!

Tomorrow I’ll pick up more tulle after church, and then I can finish this outfit, and it will be done in time for Friday!!!

Rose Dress – 8/6/10

Wore the dress today at work, and had a fabulous “Blast from the Past”!  Here’s a pic of us together:

And here are a few shot of me in my garden.

Idris – Doctor Who

Gallifrey One 2012

For more pictures of me wearing this costume, please go to my Random Blog:

All Done!  2/9/12

And just in time for Gallifrey One!  Here are the pictures – I dared the rain to take these, so there are a lot of rain spots on the bows.

I also put together a matching purse, even though Idris doesn’t carry one in the episode.  I need something to carry my camera and cell phone in!

I used scraps of the dress fabric, and embroidered a quick little floral design on the front.

So that’s it for this one.  I’ll have pics of me wearing it after Gallifrey One!

Distressed Skirts – 12/29/11

I’ve been working on distressing the orange underskirt, and I think this skirt is now officially done!

Side view:

Front view:

Close up:

I also finished the velvet hip scarf, but I don’t have pictures yet.

Skirts – 12/12/11

I have been bad, and have not taken any in-progress shots of the skirts.  But here is where I right now.  Bear in mind that this is all “brand new” and needs a whole lotta aging, coloring, and distressing still.

The orange-y striped petticoat.  I found some striped orange fabric (there’s a link to it in an earlier post) and it was a very, VERY bright orange, but the stripes were basically perfect.  I test-dyed a bunch of swatches with various RIT dye baths to try to tone it done a bit.  What ended up working was a combination of tan and black – except that when I put the actual fabric in, I ended up with too much black, and the fabric was way too dark.  I ended up using bleach to leach some of the color out, and this worked brilliantly.  In the below pic, the one of the right is the too dark swatch; the one on the left is the original color.

Here’s a pic of the colored and then bleached fabric next to a photograph of the actual dress:  The dress in the pic is actually a bit brighter than it looks here, and the stripes are more obvious.

Here’s a pic of the finished skirt.  I just gathered the waistband, cut the hem of the skirt so that it is longer in back than in the front, and sewed on two bands of ruffles.  Like I said, this still needs major distressing!

And here’s the overskirt.  I had this dark grey silky fabric, so I used that as the base for the ruffles (doing another simple gathered waistband.)  The ruffles are silk taffeta, in two different shades of shot silk.  They are not a perfect match to Idris’ colors, but those colors are really hard to find…at least at a price I can afford.

The edges of the ruffles still need to be unraveled a bit more, so I have that teal blue fringe all the way around.

With bodice.  The lace sleeves have not been painted or distressed yet, so they are all new and clean…and not the right color!

The back…notice the bit of orange underskirt ruffle peeking out!


The front of the bodice.  Bows still not sewn on – or distressed.

After I took these pics, I worked on the lace overlay to the skirt.  I still need to put in some kind of waistband, but I had a lot of fun ripping the lace up and distressing it.  Distressing is FUN…once you get over the whole “oh no I’m destroying my fabric!” sensation.  I need to write up a tutorial on how to distress fabric, and make some videos about it.

Bodice  and Sleeves – 12/3/11

I decided to make the bodice in three sewn-together layers.  First, I made a lining out of super thin, stretchy fabric in grey:

It is inside out in the above pic, because of course the “finished” side lays against my skin.  Next I flat lined the bodice fabric with blue cotton duck.  It would have been better to use a grey duck, but I didn’t have any, and I was impatient to begin.  Here’s the back, with zipper partly installed, showing the three layers:

Since the grey stretchy sleeves were sewn to the lining, I sewed the lace over-sleeves between the layers of blue duck and bodice outer fabric.

I also the sewed the lace front between those same layers.  The front bows are just pinned there – the front isn’t finished yet.

On the shoulders, I cut an extra bit of lace, distressed the heck out of it and colored it with diluted brown fabric paint, and will sew them on like cap sleeves.  Haven’t done the sewing yet…the paint is still wet!  

I may well end up adding more paint to darken all of this.  I’ll do that last – it’s easier add paint then it is to try to lighten it!

What I still need to do on the bodice:

Add bows on the front and top of sleeves.  Bind the top and bottom edges (at least where it isn’t supposed to be all ragged.)   Sew the bottom edge of the innermost lining  into the bodice.

And then the biggest part of this costume will be done!  I also did complete most of the orange petticoat, but I don’t have pictures yet.

Let me tell you, this is one costume I will be glad to have DONE.   I have done more seam-ripping (nice that it’s supposed to look ragged!) and more pinning and unpinning and pinning again.  Some costumes go together perfectly and the process of making them is a joy, and sometimes they are just contrary from the beginning!

But at least I think it’s going to turn out well, so that’s good!  🙂   Also, that lace?  After buying many, many samples (and a few yards of sight-unseen yardage) seeking for something I could live with, I decided I couldn’t live with ANY of it.  Frustration mounting, I happened to remember this lacy stuff I’d bought eons ago and had stuffed away at the back of my closet.  It’s still not perfect, but once I dyed it grey, I was much happier with it than anything I’d found anywhere else.  How weird is that?  It doesn’t have a floral motif at all, but the floral design doesn’t really show in the sleeves and bodice anyway, so that’s okay.  For the skirt, I will use a different lace that does have a floral motif – the peach Thunderlily lace (link a couple of posts below this one.)

Painting the bodice fabric – 10/28/11

I finished the muslin for the bodice, so it was time to cut and sew.  Because the fabric is slippery and slightly stretchy, I lined it with a layer of duck to keep everything secure.  I won’t be boning it, because I will wear a corset under it.  One of the major problems with many of the Idris cosplayers I’ve seen is their lack of proper undergarments.  You simply cannot get the right fit and look without a corset, or alternately, boning the bodice as if it were a corset!  Anyway, after I had the front and front sides sewn together and lined, it was time to paint.

I used blue fabric paint mixed with white, and then thinned down with water until it was almost the consistency of water.  I used a sponge to brush the paint over the entire fabric like a stain of very pale blue.  I’m going for this brownish look, so I wanted only enough blue to match the ribbons on the chest and shoulders.

After the blue wash was applied, I thinned and diluted some brown fabric paint in the same way.  I applied this first in a straight line down the seams with a brush, then feathered it out with the sponge onto the rest of the fabric, following the wavy lines in the fabric.

In the picture, it looks a bit lighter than it actually is, but I may go over it again later and make it even darker.  The blue in particular is more evident in person.  Here’s a close up:

Dyeing the Bodice Fabric – 10/26/11

One of the costumers I’ve recently discovered is MacBeemer.  She’s made the best reproduction of the Idris dress I’ve seen to date. Click her name above to be taken to her pictures and a step-by-step of how she did it.  I’m getting so much inspiration and help from this!  One thing she doesn’t discuss in detail though, is how she dyed the bodice fabric.  Since I’m virtually certain she got some of the same Australian fabric I did, I messaged her with questions, and she was kind enough to answer.  Here’s her tips for dyeing this fabric:

“Okay, I know people are dye snobs and I’m going to get pooh-poohed for this, but I use RIT dye. I love RIT. I’ll use Jacquard for silk if I’m feeling hoity-toity, but for the most part, RIT serves me just fine. I used a combo of evening blue and pearl gray with some tan/taupe to dull it down a bit. Be careful with taupe, because it’ll take the dye bath green in a hurry if you use too much.

It was still SUPER pale after two or three immersions, so that’s when I decided to paint it to even out the swirl colors. If we do have the same fabric, it’ll go REALLY dark when it’s wet, and the light/dark difference in the weave will look even more pronounced, so don’t panic. Wet the fabric down before you paint it to assure an even tone, then just use some watered down fabric paint. I think I used Jacquard’s “Neopaque” paint line for my wash, and I mixed blue, white, black and two different browns until I came up with a color I liked.

I did cut a lot of swatches out to play around with before doing the big piece of fabric, and would dye a piece, dry it with the hairdryer, and then decide what I needed to do to get a better result. Lather, rinse, repeat!”

After steamcon, I finally have time to devote time to this, so I started my own dye tests, basing them around the colors she recommended.  Eighteen swatch tests later, close up study of every Idris photograph I have, and some experimentation with fabric paint, here’s what I’m going with: test swatch #5.

First off, here’s the fabric as-is, before dyeing:

I used 1/2 RIT Tan and 1/2 RIT Pearl Grey in a small tub of hot water.  Just out of the dye and still wet, it looks like this:

This obviously too dark, but as MacBeemer warns, when dye it is much lighter.  I ironed one part of the fabric and draped it across the wet so you can see the contrast. The true color is the darker shade to the left of the photo – light was reflecting off the right side and making it seem lighter than it is!

MacBeemer went for a blue color in her dyeing, but after studying the pictures, I decided to go for the brownish-tan look.  Next, I will stain the lighter swirls a very pale blue with diluted fabric paint – this also alters the darker swirls to more of a blue.   Finally, I will paint more brown onto the edges/seams of the bodice as texture (as MacBeemer did).  Fingers crossed that it works in the real fabric as well as it did in the swatches!

Tomorrow, I’m working on the bodice muslin.  Once I have that finalized, I’ll cut out the real fabric pieces, sew them together and then start painting!

I also ordered my lace from ThunderLily.  They are an online fabric store I just discovered, but they have quick service and FREE swatches!  This lace is actually peach in color, but I experimented with my swatch and discovered if I dye it grey and then antique it a bit with brown paint, it looks quite well.  Better than any of my other possibles!

So pretty much I have all the fabric I need to do this outfit now.  I just need a good wig…

Bodice Fabric   7/25/11

I love my fellow costumers!  Thanks to the dedication and generosity of a woman who I’ve met only through this website and my facebook page, I now have a nearly *exact* match to that frustratingly impossible to find bodice fabric!

It’s quite the story, too.  The wonderful Laura P. contacted me because she’d found a costumer in Australia who had blogged about finding this perfect fabric in some small store in Sidney without an online presence.  Laura ended up making a deal with the Australian to buy two additional meters of the fabric, and mail it to her home in Florida.  I paid half the Australia to U.S. postage (which sadly ended up being more than the price of the fabric!), and when it arrived in FL, Laura divided it up, and sent my half on to me.  I got it this morning, and it’s gorgeous!  I am so happy.  I only wish Laura and I were going to the same event, so we could admire each other’s Idris costumes in person!

I also wish I could pass on what exactly this fabric is, so that any of you other Idris costumers could be helped, but the Australian said the fabric was unmarked, and she bought the last of the bolt.  Here it is:

The color is wrong, being a tan/cream, but the Australian dyed it without difficulty, so I’ll be running some dye tests soon.

New Picture

The dress is on display at the Doctor Who Experience, and so far, I’ve found this pic. It shows Idris’s dress from a new angle.


Boots – 5/21/11

I’ve bought boots I think will work very well, and at $30, they are cheap for boots.  And I’ll happily wear these in real life, so all-in-all, this is a very practical purchase!  😀

Red Queen (Alice in Wonderland)

Finished Pictures 10/22/10

I wore the costume to work today for our “Literary Characters” Fun Day.  I was surprised at how many people thought I was Queen Elizabeth I.  One lady who thought so complimented me on how accurate everything was – I assumed that meant she’d seen Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, not realizing until later in the conversation who she thought I was!  Heh.  Who knew QE I was into hearts and blue eyeshadow?    The cutest reaction was a teeny baby who stared at me with REALLY wide eyes for several long moments, then burst into a huge smile!

The boots lasted pretty well all day, although toward the end, I started shedding little doily pieces.    Oh well.  They looked good while they lasted!  The paint also cracked around the ankles, but that doesn’t look too terrible, as the boot’s original color is brown.  It sort of looks like the wrinkles well-worn leather gets, so that part isn’t too bad.  If I wear them again, I’ll probably just strip the doilies off and let them be simply gold.

Here’s the Red Queen with “Jane Roland”, a character from Naomi Novik’s wonderful series about English dragons and the Napoleonic War.  If you haven’t read that series, btw, give it a try.  It’s really, really good – and so is Sara’s costume!

Gold Boots 10/21/10

I finished these awhile ago, but am just now posting pics.  On my facebook page, I was stressing a little over how to create the Red Queen boots.  The gold spray paint was easy; I just couldn’t quite figure out an easy way to the do the black patterns.  Cathie commented that I should try decoupaging the designs on, using black-painted sections cut from paper doilies.  I would never have thought of that, but it seemed like a brilliant idea.  Thanks, Cathie! 🙂

It turned out the hardest part was finding doilies with a good design locally. Finally I found ones with a good pattern in the cake decorating section of Michaels. 

You’ll notice the patterns are not very similar to the actual Red Queen boots.  I *could* have covered the boots more densely, but when I laid it out, I actually liked the sparse look better.  And I like how the patterns are sort of gear-like, making them the perfect accessory to a steampunk outfit, should I make one that requires gold boots!

I did put a leather heart over the toe:

To make them, I cut the doilies apart into the sections I wanted, then painted them black.  When the paint had dried, I glued them to the boots using Mod Podge.  I then painted over the entire boot with several layers of Mod Podge.  I *hope* they will stand up the stress of being worn.  We’ll see whether the paint starts cracking, or the doilies peeling off!  Right now everything seems good.

Tomorrow is the Big Day when I  wear this outfit to work.  I’ve done a test run of the hair and makeup, and Things Look Good.  🙂

Finished, but for Accessories! 9/18/10

All that’s left is styling the wig, making the crown, and finishing the boots!

Corset & Boots – 9/9/10

I woke up really inspired to work on the Red Queen today!  First, I finished sewing the corset/bodice together:

Then, I added gold rick-rack trim along the edges of the gold silk, and also the black netting.  Now, it’s all fun!  I glued on the red gems, and have set it aside to dry.  If you notice, the gems I used are heart-shaped, rather than the actual squares used in on the film costume. The reason is that I can’t find square ones ANYWHERE locally, and rather than mail-order them, I decided to use oval ones instead.  And then, on my way out of the jewelry section, I found these hearts.  So perfect in concept!  I’m quite pleased with these as an acceptable substitution.

While I was doing this, I was also painting my Red Queen boots. I started with these:

They are brown pleather boots I got on clearance for $5.  I spray painted them black first, using my fab Krylon paint that bonds to plastic brilliantly!

Then, after they had dried, I put on a second layer of gold paint.

Next, I need to put on the decorative black patterns, like below:

I’m thinking perhaps if I get a stencil, in a similar pattern?  This is the only part of the process that concerns me.

Underskirt – 8/5/10

Today I cut out a zillion little heart (black hearts, gold hearts, and two layers of fusible stuff for each heart) and then fused them onto my red underskirt fabric using an iron.  Kind of fun, and it turned out well:

blouse + sleeves + done  8/4/10

Or mostly done. I still have to sew the trim on the cuff of one sleeve, but that’s easy stuff!

Note that it fits *me* better through the shoulders. This dummy has very narrow shoulders!

I’m particularly pleased with the lace I found. It has the look of the “paper cut out” lace on the original – and I only needed to order it from Asia! (Ebay is a marvelous thing!)

Next up: finishing the corset!

Gold Sleeves 7/31/10

I’ve been busy dollmaking and being a mother to six baby chickens, so I haven’t had time to sew like I’d like.  Now I’m determined, though, and I am going to be devoting some serious time to this costume!

I’ve been working on the sleeves, and I mostly have the lower parts done.  Once I figured out what I was doing, it’s been fun.  I like sewing the beads on the red ribbon!

Previously, I’d done the pin-tucking on the blouse’s front. I’ve also got the white collar mostly sewn, but I didn’t get a picture yet.

Beginning 6/13/10

I started cutting the bodice/corset for the Red Queen today. I’m using two layers of duck with boning between, and then a top layer of my pretty fabric.  So far I mostly sewed boning channels, but I did get the gold from of the bodice planned and cut out. Then, to get an idea for how it will look, I pinning on some red ribbons, black lace, and jewels. None of these (except for the gold fabric) are the actual materials I’m using. I haven’t yet purchased the black netting or the jewels I’m going to use.

I also played around with the white collar. This is the only part of the costume that scared me, because I’ve never done anything like it, and I’m not sure how. But after playing around for a bit, I think I’ve got a handle on how it needs to go together. Whew!

NEW overskirt fabric 6/9/10

Isn’t it a law of the universe?  Stop looking, and you find it?  It’s not a metallic brocade, but I like it. It matches the gold silk dupioni perfectly (better in real life than in the pic, actually).

I might try experimenting with some fabric paint, and see if I can “color” the designs inside the diamonds.   Any day now, I’m going to start cutting on this costume!

The Red Queen

I’ve been wanting to do a film dress reproduction again for quite some time now, but I keep getting distracted (usually by something steampunk).  Well, after I saw Tim Burton’s gorgeous Alice in Wonderland, I saw the dress I’m going to make: the Red Queen.  It’s gaudy, it’s over-the-top, it’s colorful, and it’s got tons of interesting things going on.  Plus, I THINK I can make it fairly cheaply.

The stockings are the first thing I bought, because I found the exact pair at Sock Dreams.

I also have a stuffed pig that actually twitches and snores.  The hardest part has been finding the fabric for the overskirt.  It does not exist, apparently, online or in any store local to me.  Finally, I found this at JoAnn Fabric for $2.50 a yard.  It’s red velvet, with gold metallic diamonds.  It’s not perfect – and I am sadly a perfectionist when it comes to this sort of thing – but it’s fine.  I can also replace it, if I stumble across the ‘real’ fabric later on – at $2.50 a yard, it’s certainly cheap enough!


The Seamstress of Avalon has the most helpful breakdown of this costume I’ve seen.

As of this moment, I have the white fabric for the collar, the red velvet for the overskirt, and some black taffeta for the shirt.  In the photographs, it appears to be a blue/black shot taffeta, but in the film it looks solid black.  After some internal debate, I decided to go with solid black because I personally like it best – and since it looks black in the film, I think I’m justified! 

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