This costume has been in the back of my head for a very long time.
The actual dress design is from all the way back in 2013!
Pretty much since the day I made it, I thought – wow, this would make a really cool pirate costume! But I never got around to actually completing all the accessories to turn it into a pirate costume, and take the photos.
Then last year I designed these adorable sleeves. And after I made the prototype pair and saw just how wonderfully pirate-y they look, I decided it’s time to take that photoshoot I’ve been thinking of for so long.
It also helped that when I placed my last order of pirate hat bases, there was a single hat that was randomly larger than the rest – and therefore it fit my big head, lol.
As always – jewelry by my sister – well, mostly, this time! I called her before setting up this shoot, and she had sold out of every pirate set she makes with no time to make a new one for the photoshoot. So I asked her if she could instead just bring me a few pirate charms.
This jewelry was her Christmas present to me in 2018. It originally contained gothic medieval dagger charms. But I thought, the steel roses thing would be awesome for a lady pirate too – “Rose of the Sea” or something like that. So I switched them out for the photoshoot.
Lol, we posted a photo of the jewelry on our social media, and she sold one as a custom order that same day! So it’s become a permanent part of her collection. 🙂
And this pirate set will most definitely be a permanent part of my own collection. You can purchase your own set here!
I quite love how this Alice in wonderland costume turned out!
It’s really an updated version of this design from 2018. I loved and still love the original look – but I wanted to make a couple tweaks that would reduce the time it takes me to make it – and thus make the design more affordable to all my lovely customers! ^.^
The skirt is my ever-popular “Vintage Diva” skirt – worn over this adorable petticoat that I found at a wedding wholesaler.
Normally Alice wears a headband (and last time I made one) but this time, I wanted to try something a little different, so I made a hat!
And of course, my sister made some gorgeous matching jewelry for me. I love all the little Alice in Wonderland Tea Party charms!
We took these photos at Wilcox Park (very near me in Westerly, RI.) It’s a Victorian era walking park – so there is a lot of scenery there that meshes quite well with my designs.
Haha I can’t seem to make one Alice costume without getting ideas for another! Or another two! So I thought I’d close this post by sharing a couple sketches, to give you a little preview of what I’ll most likely make next time I get a hankering for Wonderland.
The differences are very subtle as black and white sketches – but the fabrics I have in mind for them will make each one unique! The one on the left would be made from similar fabrics as the alice costume from this photoshoot, and a corset with the black accents, but also with silver buckles for a more Steampunk look. The one on the right would be more Steampunk – with bronze buckle accents, and all blue and white or ivory.
I’m unsure which one I want to make first. Which would you prefer? 🙂
This is totally silly. But I like to think of all the things I’ve made over the years as little bits of me, wandering around, spreading cheer and adding a bit of pretty to the scenery…
At Steampunk festivals, renaissance faires, pirate festivals, and more!
And when I make new things, I always daydream a bit. Who will have the pretty thing that I’m hand crafting right now? Where will they wear it? I think of how it feels when you’re out in public wearing something amazing, and someone stops you and says “OMG I love your costume!” and I smile.
But now, all those chances to prance around in costume have disappeared. I hope they’re returning soon. I hope that all the amazing vendors that support these events will weather the storm, and be able to jump back in once things open back up. But to expect that everything will return exactly to normal once this is over is – well, a bit delusional.
Pre-pandemic, I was heading in a direction that I’m not sure about now! I was going to steer away from weddings in favor of ready-to-ship costumes. And now, after having several months where brides were my only customers, I’m second guessing that decision.
I’ll be frank. I love making custom wedding dresses. I discontinued them only for practical reasons. The main one being that I haven’t been able to figure out how to earn a livable wage while making them!
Why? A couple reasons. One: I am an eternal optimist. It’s a great thing when it comes to my mood – but not so great when it comes to estimating sewing time on a new design (or even a design that I haven’t made a zillion times yet.)
Two: I am an exacting perfectionist. Lol again, it’s amazing for the quality of my work! But not so great for custom sewing. The slightest mistake (even one a customer would never notice) will be unstitched, and re-sewn. It’s even fairly common for me to throw out a custom project (or sell it in my store) and start over again to be sure the one I send to the customer is 120% perfect.
You can probably imagine that this results in amazing, gorgeous gowns, made unsustainably!
But I need to (and I want to) offer them again. I know that my over-the-top fancy dresses are what many of you love most about my designs! And when someone tells me that I’ve made their dreams come true (in making the perfect dress for their special day) it really is the BEST feeling.
So, let me announce (drumroll please):
But there are a couple caveats. The first is that I won’t be able to accept every request that comes my way. Custom gowns will be very limited – to the tune of exactly one per month! I am only one insanely perfectionistic seamstress, after all.
The second caveat is: Custom gowns will cost more than they used to. I think many of you will still find them to be awesomely affordable – I tend to design things with a high pretty-to-cost ratio!
And that’s all I can say for now! I’ve gotten rather backed up in my sewing schedule over the pandemic, so I’m currently booked thru the beginning of August. I should hopefully have more information on custom made gowns available by mid July.
If you’d like to be the first to know about custom made gown availability, please sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this page.
My Queen of Hearts coloring page is finished! I think this might be my favorite one so far!
The gown she’s wearing is DEFINITELY my favorite. It was not the one I intended to draw, though, lol! This is a design that keeps making its way into my “doodling zone” – lol the margins of the pages of my notebook while I’m working on something else!
Those V-shaped bits of fabric at her waist are a detail I WANT to make a pattern for and add to a dress jacket! But it’s precisely the sort of insanely-time-consuming project that I haven’t got the ability to do right now (which is probably precisely why I want to so badly!)
I had the dress I had intended to have her wearing sketched in… And I was pouting about it. It’s a practical design – something I already have the pattern for. It would be pretty and not too horribly time consuming to make. Lol, the exact opposite criteria that’s appreciated by my muse!
Then, in a very stereotypical artistic hissy fit, I erased it, and drew what I wanted to draw! And here it is:
This is the first in a series of Alice in Wonderland coloring pages I intend to draw! I’d say watch for a new one coming next week – but lately I’ve been sucking at being on time with these. Haha for me the time of corona is very different than for most – I hear everyone talking about all the free time on their hands, and I think “if only!”
The next coloring page will be a woodland scene with a female Mad Hatter hosting a tea party! I’ve got it all pictured in my head – and just need to get it onto paper. 🙂
The coloring page I’m sharing today is rather special (to me at least)! It shows something that’s been in my imagination for quite a while. It shows a scene I want to create in my backyard someday (when I have a yard!)
Ok – so the giant mushrooms would be impossible, unless I carved fake ones, lol! But maybe replace them with a ring of plants that are either bioluminescent (glow in the dark) or flowers that bloom at night, and we’d have my dream fairy circle spot. The spiral rocks in the circle-shaped clearing are something I could easily create. Add a standing fire pit and some seating, and we’d have both a very practical outdoor entertaining area, and the ability to remove it all for faerie ball purposes!
This is the fourth of my first four coloring pages – and so far, they’ve all been distinctly fantasy themed! Next, I have several Alice in Wonderland ideas – one for each character – that should be fun to draw.
Cut out both patterns. Take your hole punch, and punch the outer pattern. If you don’t have a hole punch, you can use sharp scissors, and twist to make a hole. For the two spots marked by the nose, poke holes, then cut with scissors so that you have two slits to mark.
Step 2: Cut out
Cut out your inner fabric. Cut out your outer fabric pattern from your pretty fabric, and mark the dots, and the lines at the top. You can use a fabric chalk pen, or even a washable marker will work for this step.
Cut out two strips of elastic, as follows, depending on which size mask you wish to make:
7″ – XS
7.5″ – S
8″ – M
8.5″ – L
9″ – XL
I find that most women wear S or M, and men wear M-XL.
Step 3: Sew nose area
Take your outer fabric, fold in half, and sew the nose seam. You’ll be sewing from marked line to marked dot in this step. This helps get the nose portion at a more exact angle.
Take your inner fabric, and fold along the top at 1/8″, twice. Pin, and sew.
Open up the nose seam, and press it flat.
Step 4: Chin Darts.
Lay your fabric pieces on top of eachother, right sides out, like so:
Fold the inner fabric so that the first chin dart touches itself, and you can just see the dot you made on the outer fabric. Fold the outer fabric along the same line in the opposite direction, and pin.
Repeat this step on the opposite side.
Sew both of these seams – lining up at the 3/8” point on your sewing machine. I did smaller selvage than the standard 5/8”, to keep the finished mask from being too bulky. When you’re done, fold the fabric back out again, and topstitch them, like this:
Step 5: Cheek Darts
Repeat Step 4, but with the cheek darts this time, folding first the inner, then the outer fabrics down so that the darts touch, and pinning them, like so:
Sew them, and again topstitch them:
Step 6: Bottom Edge
Fold at 1/4 inch twice, and then pin the bottom edge of the mask. Pin the center first, and then the outer edges. (The resulting seam will be straighter that way.)
I don’t yet have pictures of this step. I found out that my husband had to wear a mask to his job before I was finished with my first batch of masks, so I had to hurry thru this step and forgot to take photos! I will do so next time I make them. 🙂
Step 7: Top Edge
The top edge is done just like the bottom, but it’s a bit trickier. You’ll need to center the twist tie over the nose seam, and pin it in place, starting at the center. Then when you sew, you’ll need to really muscle it into place to prevent it from sliding out from under the foot while you sew. If you have a spring action guide foot for your sewing machine (it’s a foot that’s designed to sew things that are really thick on one side, and really thin on the other side) this will make it easy, but that’s kind of a specialty item! You can do this step with a regular foot by going really slowly and carefully.
(Again, no pictures. I will fix this soon!)
When you have both top and bottom complete, your finished mask will look like this:
There’s a gap between the outer and inner fabric at the nose. This is to create a pocket where you can add a filter. To create your own antibacterial filters – get a pack of skin safe antibacterial wipes. Dry them out, cut them to 4″ x 3.5″ and insert them in the pocket. The wipe will peek out just a tad over your inner fabric, which makes it easier to exchange.
Step 8: Elastic
Next step is to attach the elastic. To do this, pin it 1/4” from the edge like so:
If you have a serger, the next step is super easy! Serge both sides, attaching the elastic, and finishing the edge. Fold your serged seam in, tucking the string ends, and pin like this:
Then sew it down:
Or without a serger, you’ll pin the elastic exactly as shown above, but instead of serging, the next step is to first sew, then zigzag stitch the elastic, as shown in this sketch:
Fold the edges down twice at 1/4”, and pin, and sew.
And your mask is complete!
Aaaand finally, great news for those who aren’t interested in sewing any masks – I’m offering these for sale:
This is the story of my life: I start a sewing project, plan for how long I believe it will take me, and it takes 3-5 times longer than I expect!
So although I promised via social media to post that mask making tutorial on Sunday, it’s now Monday, and I’m exactly this far on the first batch of masks:
They aren’t quite wearable yet! And since I’m taking pictures while I’m sewing them, that means the tutorial also isn’t quite ready yet.
But I thought I’d get started by posting the pattern and some basic instructions. Real tutorial coming next week!
I made this mask pattern myself. I didn’t intend to – I figured there would be a perfectly acceptable mask pattern online. I even downloaded a couple, and was like – no this isn’t going to fit, no that’s not gonna fit. LOL, who would’ve guessed, I’m too picky to use patterns made by other people. 😛
My pattern is completely unique in that the fit portion is done with darts. There are two darts for the chin, one dark for each cheek, and a dart over the nose. If you do a wire over the nose, there is literally zero gap anywhere with this mask, which is typically the biggest safety problem with homemade masks.
And I feel I should insert the obligatory disclaimer – this is not a medical mask, and it won’t protect from coronavirus like an N95 mask does. However, if you just want something to wear to the store, this style should work absolutely perfect for you.
To troubleshoot my pattern, I made a batch of 10 of them and had my husband hand them out at work and instructed him to have people try them on, then have every member of their family try them on. The pattern I’m sharing below will fit older teenager to adult. To adjust to fit larger or smaller within those ranges, you only need to lengthen/shorten the straps.
It just so happens that my designs make the best stinking saloon girl costume… ever! 😉
But getting saloon girl photos is rather difficult. I love outdoor photo spots, and there’s nothing near me that looks Wild West! Here in New England, we’ve got a ton of amazing natural scenery. There are spots that are perfect for woodland fantasy, nearly every historical era (while we don’t have in actual historical castles, we have reproductions!), amazingly creepy Halloween spots, gorgeous gardens, and more! But deserts and that wind-and-sun-weathered ghost town look is something you don’t really find out here.
These photos are snapped at Wilcox Park in Westerly RI. There’s a cute caretaker’s cottage there with a front porch that’s painted brick red. It’s way too much lush green for a true Victorian Wild West look – but I had to work with what I had!
And the weathered boards beneath my feet and the painted Victorian-era wooden porch at least look saloon-ish. 🙂
Usually I’m wearing my sister’s jewelry – but this time, we failed to coordinate before the shoot. So I whipped up this choker necklace with some hat and crown making supplies I had lying around. It was safety pinned together behind my neck! I think I’m going to turn it into an amazing cloak fastening later this year. ^.^
And here’s my absolute favorite photo of the day – totally getting into character in this shot!
This set is going to be one of my first designs that I can offer in all sizes – including plus sizes! I started a big batch of the skirts just before everything went crazy – and I had to prioritize everything else in life. Once things slow down, I hope to be able to complete them and add them into my store. There’s also just one left from the previous batch (a size Medium) in my Etsy shop.
For this weeks coloring page, I again sat down with sketchpad, pencil, and pens and let my imagination take me where it wanted. I wound up with this Elven Lady and unicorn!
Unicorns are my sisters favorite. I told her that was what the coloring page is going to be this week and her response was “OK, where is it? Hurry up and finish it already!”
When I went to draw this, I realized – wow, it’s been at least 15 years since I’ve drawn a horse. And I was picky about the exact direction and pose of my unicorn. So I had look up about 14 horses on Google images, and use them all to figure out how to draw the horse in this exact position! I’m quite happy with how Franken-unicorn turned out. 😉
I sat down with my sketch pad with the goal of drawing an adult coloring page featuring a Steampunk fairy… but then this happened!
Lol, I’m not sure if I had Game of Thrones on the brain, or if I just wanted to do something straight from my imagination, and a little less practical.
As I was penning in this drawing, an idea of the fantasy world in the picture was forming in my head. The lady is training the baby dragon in the photo. Eventually it will grow up (the size of the ones flying in the distance) and she’ll be able to ride it. At least in my head, it’s a land where castles are built right up into the sky, and the people all ride dragons. I’d very much like to run away to this place, given what’s going on in the real world right now!
I could make the dress my Dragon Lady is wearing in the picture. (I can make almost anything, lol!) But if I did, it wouldn’t go very well with the rest of my designs – since I specialize in corset dresses. So my “Dragon Queen” gown idea will probably remain in my imagination.
Although I have to say – I would LOVE to make that belt and that shoulder piece. While I was drawing it, I was thinking about how I’d combine scale mail, and really big/amazing filigree pieces, and chandelier drops to make it – and I want to create it and watch it take shape!
Since there’s lots of people stuck at home right now, I thought it might be neat for me to draw some coloring pages. I had a ton of ideas – so I posted on Facebook to get votes on which I should do first! The three choices were: Alice in Wonderland Tea Party, Elven Queen in her castle garden, and Lady Pirate in a tall ship. As you can see, the Elven Queen idea won!
I’ve never drawn a coloring page before – and I have to say, I think this was the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever drawn. Although for a while, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish it in time! Virtual school started this week, and it’s been absolutely insane trying to keep up. Hopefully next week goes better.
The good thing is – when I do pencil sketches, and when I fill things in with pen and ink, it’s a major stress relief activity for me. And this week, I’ve needed the stress relief, lol!
The dress the elven queen is wearing in my coloring page is a re-imagined version of this gown:
I plan to make the dress from the coloring page at some point. Only the fabric will be different. I took some artistic license with the coloring page to make it more fun to fill in! Were I to replicate those designs around the edges of the gown, I’d need to either paint or embroider them on – and it would take too long, and thus make the dress cost a very impractical price. But the burnout floral velvet I plan to use to make the dress will be perfectly fancy. ^.^
If you decide to color this in, I’d absolutely LOVE to see how you finish it! And I’d love feedback on how I did – I looked up a bunch of pics online to get an idea of what adult coloring pages look like. LOL, I haven’t actually done adult coloring before (between-the-lines isn’t exactly my style in life!)
But I knew they were black and white, and I know that I love drawing with pen and ink, so I thought it was worth a go! I’ll probably draw another of these next week. If you’d like to get in on the vote for which idea I make this time, watch my Facebook page!