Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Off With His Head!

Halloween's never been that big a thing in Australia. Unlike my American friends, I don't have any cherished memories of getting dressed up and going Trick or Treating. We had a Halloween party at work last year, though, so I figured it was better late than never and made myself a costume.

I originally wanted to go as Alice in Wonderland, but my friend Alice told me that she wanted to dress up, and it made more sense for her to be, well, Alice. We sat for a while and brainstormed costumes that I could make that would match her, and eventually we came up with the Queen of Hearts.

I started looking up costume ideas online, and while most of the rental costumes were quite elaborate it seemed that the basic pieces would be a red and black dress, a crown and some sort of sceptre. And hearts. Lots of hearts.

I had some good ideas for the dress and crown but I was planning on just rolling up some cardboard and cutting out a paper heart for the sceptre. I went to Lincraft with Wes and IG, though, and they were strangely insistent that I did better than that. We ended up finding a strange perspex rod and a little heart-shaped pillow Christmas ornament to stick on top of it. I decided not to buy the ornament after I realised I could make something similar, so we left the shop with the rod and some cardboard for a crown.

I hate drawing hearts. I always manage to make them look really strange and stretched out, so I wasn't feeling particularly optimistic as I drew myself half a heart for a template. I folded it over and started cutting, and to my surprise when I unfolded it it actually looked quite good.

The dress was fun. I had shortened an old black apron for Alice to wear, so I had a nice thick strip of black material left over. I sewed four hearts on to it and then hand basted the whole lot onto the bottom of a red dress I have. The crown was pretty easy, I just cut the cardboard in half in a crown shape and bent it around into a circle. Getting it to stay on my head was a bit difficult but I eventually figured out how to do it with some bobby pins.


The scepter was a little trickier. I covered one end of the rod in some black duct tape to make a handle, and sewed two of the hearts together with an opening at the bottom for the pillow. When I stuffed it it looked great, but securing it to the rod was a pain. Luckily the rod had a little hole through the top of it, so I managed (with some difficulty!) to run some thread through the hole and through the stuffing to the top of the pillow and back down again a couple of times. I had fun testing how secure it was - I'd just flick the rod and see if the heart went soaring across my room. It did a couple of times until I got it right.

All together, the costume looked pretty cool. I'm glad I did it - it ended up looking better than the Alice costume I had in mind originally! It was a good way to ease myself back into sewing, too - not too tricky, but there was still enough work involved to be interesting.