Do you know any better feeling than putting on an evil queen’s skin? This year for Halloween, I decided to create an 18c inspired Queen of Hearts costume, including dress, corset, crown and high collar. Wanna know how I did it in only 10 days? People, let’s suit up for the occasion !
Playing the evil card
Why would you settle on Alice when you can play bad girl in a red dress? I found the perfect deep, crimson red fabric to transform into a proper Queen of hearts.
As usual, here comes the final result, we will see about the making process right after…
How to create the dress
It might be pretentious of me, but I generally find Queen of Hearts costume ugly. They are “too much” and generally worn with an ugly make up. Even Tim Burton’s version wasn’t really to my taste.
With this creation, I wanted to show the beauty of the fabric by adding as little decorations as possible while still being recognisable as the character.
I mixed a 18c general shape with 16c(ish) sleeves and high collar.
I started with 4 or 5 yards of Shantung. You will use about 1 to 2 yard for the bust and the rest for the large skirt.
Attention, attention, people.
beware : this dress will be VERY fitted. If you plan on wearing it more than once and to wash it between two wears (which you know, would be a good idea) you need to:
WASH YOUR FABRIC FIRST.
Meaning, before you sew the fabric.
I didn’t. I only steam ironed it and it wasn’t enough. So here I am now, with a dress that’s so tight I can barely put it on unless I cut a rib or two to fit in.
I cannot tell you how angry with myself I am. Don’t make that mistake…
This is where you will spend the most time as it needs to be super fitted to look nice. The idea is to create a thin waist even if yours isn’t. You achieve that both by fitting the top and flaring the dress.
On the Marie Antoinette dress, I noticed straps were not fitting in the best way. Instead of cutting it in two pieces, I attached both pattern pieces and cut it as a long unique bust piece.
Like last time, I added boning at the back, to give it more structure
Despite having tested the pattern, some adjustments were needed. I repeat : MUST BE VERY SKIN TIGHT!
The front of the dress is the real technical point. It needs to be tight with no “ripple” effect on the fabric.
The trick I used is to create a temporary bone channel with pins to adjust the bone placement. You need to fit it with your stays on as it will change your body shape (more advices on that in that article).
You can use the zipper foot to sew as close to the bone as possible.
Little mistake on my part : using a white hook and eye strip instead of a black one. It showed a little in the gap despite my best effort to get the dress to close perfectly. Next time I’ll dye it red or something.
For this dress, I used nail polish on the metal parts as red camouflage. But it could have been better.
Of course, those sleeves reminds you more of the 80’s than of Georgian times. But since I have become addicted to the show Glow, that worked for me.
With fantasy costumes, you can allow yourself to stray from Historical Accuracy I believe.
The final touch was the golden heart cut from a remnant found in my stash. That did not helped me decide on throwing away more stuff to get more space I am telling you !
I left raw edges on purpose, like a torn away heart.
The skirt – petticoat
You sew the back. The front panel get attached by a ribbon. A bit slit on both sides make it possible to put the dress on.
Here is a timelapse for you to better understand:
To create the skirt, you need 2 giant rectangular panels. You then create regular pleats to fit your waist (you can use the fork technique, it’s quicker). This is the result you should have:
You then create a belt for the front part:
On the rear part, you sew the skirt panel to the back with a strong back stitch (by hand, unlike the picture seems to imply).
This part of the dress will often get pulled by the weight of the skirt so don’t hesitate to double your thread.
Finish with a side seam, a hem and voilà !
I added a couple of cards directly on the dress… not all of them were still on there for the shooting (I wore the dress in a club before). But certainly a fun detail to have on!
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Final touch on my Halloween costume… It's that crutial moment when I hesitate a lot : is this too much ? Does it really need the extra detailing? ?? J'en suis aux dernières retouches de mon costume d'Halloween. C'est toujours un moment où je peux rester bloquée 10min devant la robe à hésiter : est-ce que je rajoute ci ou ça ou bien c'est too much ? #halloweencostume #halloweencostume #red #reddress #costuming #seamstress #seamstressofinstagram #instasew #instacouture #couture
It is quite simple to make:
- 1 plastic bottle (from which you a full circle)
- 1 deck of cards. Take as many as you fancy to cover the base. Cut them in a heart shaped way.
- 1 bias strip glued on, to have a nice finish
- 1 headband to glue it on once finished
The make up
Simple, with a few golden accent as contouring. The little hearts were glued using clear nail polish.
Cost : about 80$
- 4,5 yards of shantung 17$/yard
- 1 deck of cards 2,5$
- 1 JP Ryan pattern Robe à l’anglaise 17$
- 1 matching thread 3,5$
- 1,5 yard of coton interfacing 3$/yard
Time needed : 1 season of Glow
I completely forgot to take pictures of the collar making process. But I loosely followed instructions from that tutorial.
So, do you wish you could be the Queen of Hearts too now?
Oh and, I am starting a habit to post more sewing steps on IG, so if you want to see creation happening as I make them, head there !