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All Four Costumes, Completed!

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The costumes got done! Aren’t hard deadlines great?

I’m so glad to have been able to make all these costumes… the process was fun, challenging, a little annoying, and very educational. And confidence building! I have never sewn 4 outfits in a month, let alone 4 with capes! Sadly none of these frocks are part of my forever wardrobe, but I feel very strongly that this was a big win for everyone involved. And I’m so glad to be done!

The Two Snow Whites

The kids performed the play this past weekend, and I’m so proud of all of them. I think that voluntarily putting yourself out there and working in a team takes some real guts, and they deserve big credit for being energetically involved. The entire 7th and 8th grade classes signed up for drama, and everyone had a job either on stage or off or both… just knowing how inclusive and supportive the school is makes this sappy mama almost tear up. My quirkily awesome kid had a ball as a first time actress and I’m just so grateful and happy. Knowing that my sewing skills added to their enjoyment and confidence makes me feel successful too. Yay!

The Evil Queen

The Shakespearean Dwarf

Project Notes

Patterns: Snow White dresses and a modified bodice for the Shakespearean Dwarf were modified from Simplicity 2813. The Evil Queen was based on Simplicity 1045 with heavy modifications. The Evil Queen cape was my own hacked project.

Simplicity 2813


  • Snow White A costume – bodice and bodice lining of cotton duck (stash), front detail of yellow cording (thrift store), sleeves of polyester taffeta (stash) with plastic velvet appliques (stash), collar of foam sandwiched between layers of blackout lining (stash), skirt of yellow polyester tablecloth, cape of plastic velvet (stash)
  • Snow White B costume – bodice of rayon velvet (stash), front detail of yellow cording (thrift store), bodice lining of cotton duck (stash), sleeves of polyester taffeta with rayon velvet insets (stash), collar of foam sandwiched between layers of blackout lining (stash), skirt of yellow polyester tablecloth, cape of plastic velvet (stash) lined with red satin tablecloth, deconstructed costume jewelry detail on front of cape (estate sale)
  • Evil Queen costume – dress of purple polyester tablecloth, black silk turtleneck (thrift store) with modified sleeves, cape of rayon velvet (charity store) with red satin tablecloth lining, collar (not seen since it was flipped down) of foam sandwiched between layers of blackout lining with a wire support (stash), old shoe clip used for cape clasp (estate sale), belt of drapery cord (Joann’s), crown of glitter vinyl over craft foam (not shown; Joann’s)
  • Shakespearean Dwarf costume – red polyester panne velvet hat (found at thrift store), doublet and cape of burgundy polyester panne velvet (old curtain from dear friend’s stash) with front detail of woven ribbon (stash), short pants modified from 1X poly/cotton velour track pants (thrift store), red cotton undershirt with lace cuffs (thrift store and stash), neck ruff of curtain blackout interlining (not shown; stash)

Cost: Between the tablecloths from Amazon, thread, zippers and hooks from Joann’s, and all the miscellaneous bits and pieces purchased via resale, the cost came to just over $110 for all 4 costumes. This didn’t include all the stash fabric and trim used or any labor. Sewing isn’t cheap!

Phew! Now on to some tidying up in my sewing room and some selfish sewing projects for ME!

Costume Update… 2 down, 1 (maybe 2) to go!

This week has been rough. Someone I love dearly is dying too soon… choosing happiness despite the circumstances is a real challenge. But I’m still trying. I’m using some of the mental tools I learned here, and they seem to be helping to corral the sadness back into its place. There are times and places for grief… and some corners of our hearts that will always be grieving… but grieving doesn’t mean being wholly without joy. Grief and happiness can coexist even if it seems improbable… giving yourself permission is all that is required.

One thing bringing me happiness in this tricky time is that I HAVE to finish these costumes, which means that, no matter how crazy life is, I simply have to carve out time to sew. And I love sewing. So this is a forced (self-enforced, really) stress relief activity and I am grateful for that! And it’s been scientifically proven that both gratitude and altruistic service enhances happiness too, so this project really is a triple win.

Except for pressing/steaming and adding some important hooks to hold the cape in place, both Snow White dresses are done (phew!). One of the dresses had to be more authentically royal, where the other is supposed to be a costume-y costume (an actress playing Snow White vs the Real Snow White). So I made the royal costume with inset velvet sleeve details (rather than basic appliques on the actress costume), nicer velvet for the sleeves, and a velvet bodice vs a utility sort of cotton duck (from my stash) for the actress dress. The actress costume dress got a shorter, unlined cape as well, whereas the royal costume had a longer, satin lined cape. The dress below is the royal costume dress. It was not possible to hang the dress on a hanger and have the collar stand up properly, but I hope in reality the kids will remember to flip it up for the play since it will actually stand on its own in the style of Disney (thank you, interlining foam). The skirt and satin lining are both fabric from tablecloths, the collar is leftover curtain lining, and the cape velvet was from that roll that we found in the garage when we moved into the house. So I am sticking well to the budget of “do it as cheap as possible”. But I don’t think it looks as cheap as it is 😉

Snow White costume

I have not worked a lot with velvet, and this synthetic/rayon non-stretch velvet had a gorgeous nap which was a bit of a bugger to sew. But it ultimately complied with my will after I read a few instructive articles about sewing velvet:

The Evil Queen costume, currently in the works, and the (hopeful) doublet costume will both involve various velvets, so I really needed to learn how to cope with its quirks. I am feeling much more confident now, and even inspired to maybe possibly consider incorporating some velvet into a selfish sewing project if I am not completely sick of sewing by the time I finish the next two costumes (goal is to finish Evil Queen by tonight, and the doublet ASAP next week). Time will tell…

sewing room tea

Costume Update… Muslin Making is Done!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and decide to make a purchase, I may be monetarily compensated without any additional cost to you. All monies received via affiliate links will be spent on either fabric or tea, both of which fuel my blogging  

My Snow White and Evil Queen costumes are coming along… Last week, I took measurements, then completed the muslin making for each of 3 bodices and tested them out on the girls. No major tweaks needed, even the Evil Queen’s bodice with the giant collar I drafted (!!). To save my sanity, I plan to eliminate the yoke pieces by making a separate collar piece (which needs to be a white and heavily reinforced anyway, and perhaps attached to the cape). I can start cutting real fabric and making something much more exciting than marked-up scrappy beige shells. 2/3 of those marked-up scrappy beige shells can now become bodice linings (I am reminding myself that these are middle school costumes, and the insides don’t have any business being beautiful).

evil queen bodice muslin

Some of the tools I used to make the muslins include a cutting and craft board, wax tracing paper and a stiletto wheel. Two of the three dresses (and possibly a third hacked doublet for my own kid’s costume) need to come from a single tissue pattern, so I don’t want to cut into it (yet, anyway). Most of the craft boards and wax papers I use have come from estate sales (in case you are like me and love treasure hunting! oh, how I love treasure hunting!), but they are inexpensive items and can still be found easily online and at places like Joann Fabrics. My favorite needle-point stiletto wheel came from WAWAK.com, which is a great place to get sewing tools and consumable supplies like thread and zippers if you need more than a small order.

cardboard sewing and craft board wax tracing paper needle-point stiletto