Red Queen-To-Bea Part 1

Lets play a game of ‘Fortunately/Unfortunately’
Fortunately: It’s Halloween. Unfortunately: Its Halloween. Fortunately: It is totally acceptable to dress up. Unfortunately: Apparently you are restricted to devils, witches or cats if you are of the female variety. I don’t much like Halloween, I am like a cat, and dislike being cold and/or wet. But I do love costume design! It’s just so much fun, to try and come up with an outfit that represents a character. Last year, I made a Peggy Carter cosplay. This year – I’m doing the Red Queen! I was given a red ball dress a few years ago, strapless and floorlength made out of blood red satin the like of which I have never sewn before, with the instruction to ‘do something with’, so many thanks to that person, I decided to make a beautiful Red Queen (or the Queen of Hearts) costume! I bought some black satin to go with the white I already had, so this costume totalled at about £4!


The Bodice
I initially wanted to do a strapless, sleeveless dress, but as I kept re-drafting my design, I kept adding in shoulders, and eventually, sleeves made their way in as well. But I still started with a strapless bodice from which to build up on.

I have also determined that trying to draft your own pattern, without a bodyform, is hard so I ended up using the front pieces from my Simplicity 1606. I made a muslin first though, the red fabric allowance was tight enough as it was without accidental mistakes!


I wanted to do a ‘lace up’ style bodice, so I cut the centre piece from white satin, the two side pieces from my beautiful red satin and then used little strips of black (cut from a waistcoat – they’re those things that are put into clothing so you can hang them up?) that I handstictched in place before sewing the bodice together. I had a length of red ribbon handy to thread through once the dress was on.


The liner I ended up just pining a piece of fabric to my t-shirt so I could put the darts in the right place, it was a palava! So a basic dress form is number one on my Christmas list!

The Back
I am not going to lie, I cheated. As I’ve already said, my red fabric is from a blood red, floor length, strapless balldress which had a concealed zip in the back. So I decided to save myself some time, and a lot of effort, by just cutting along the side seams so I had the front of the dress, and the back. The back I then cut to about knee length because I hadn’t decided what length I wanted so was covering all lengths. And voila, I had a pre-prepared back piece with a concealed zip and I could move onto the more pressing issue of shoulders and sleeves.


The Skirt
Next I drafted the skirt, this was, by FAR the easiest part! I only had to do the front, so I cut a rectangle on the fold for the front piece, and a further two rectangles, not on the fold, for the two sides. I machine sewed all three of them to about 4″ from the top, then added in two black satin triangles so give the skirt a little bit more body.

After I attached front to back, I cut the back to the same length as the front, turned it up an inch the whole way round and then handstitched using a very loose stitch about an inch apart but pinpricks on the front so the fabric didn’t pucker. I’m not proud of this hemming method, but it was two hours until I needed to be at the party and I hadn’t even started the sleeves! I was in a mega rush. In all honesty, the way I’ve sewn the hem gives it a little bit of a bubble effect, so I like it, its less sharp than my usual method of hemming.


This post is going to be ridiculously long if I keep going, so I will cut out here and write a new post for the shoulders, and sleeves and the MANY problems I encountered on this project!

Tune into Part 2 for the pictures of the completed outfit as well!

Bea 🙂


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