Tag Archives: costume

alice dress

Alice dress

Every year, the theatre department has a big dinner and party at the end of the year to celebrate the graduating seniors. There is food, entertainment, and lots of speeches–and a theme. Last year was Harry Potter, the year before was Space. This year, the theme was “Down the Rabbit Hole.”

Being named Alice, I have always sort of identified with the Alice books. When I was ten or eleven, my mother made me a fantastic Alice-in-Wonderland dress for Halloween, out of a sheet she had dyed blue herself. I wore it constantly until I developed too much of a bust to squeeze into the bodice anymore. So the senior dinner seemed the perfect opportunity to recreate my favorite childhood dress.

Alice dress

While in London, I went to Goldhawk Road, searching for the perfect fabric. Buying something solid blue seemed too boring, but I found three meters of this beautiful cotton lawn, and it was perfect.

Alice dress

For the bodice, I used McCall’s 5927, a somewhat bland pattern that happened to be in my stash. After much deliberating on what size to cut, I finally settled on a size 4, C cup–which fit better out of the envelope than anything I had ever made before. I shortened the darts by 1/2″, lowered the armhole by 1/4″, and graded out to a size 8 at the waist. It fits more or less perfectly, though there is a little bit of gaping at the back neck, and the waist could be a smidgeon smaller (a matter of personal preference, I like very little ease at the waist). I also deepened the neckline in front, not because it didn’t fit, but because I really don’t care for such a high neckline.

Alice dress

Alice dress (back)

I stole the puffed sleeves from an old 70s pattern I had lying around, and the skirt is simply twice the width of the fabric, gathered. The entire dress is lined, for decency’s sake, in the only white fabric I had lying around–a poly-cotton sheet. Breathability, therefore, is low.

Alice dress (inside-out)

I took great care with the finish of the dress. All the bodice seams are enclosed, and the lining is hand-stitched to the armholes and the skirt.

Alice dress (stitching detail)

I edge-stitched around the neckline…

Alice dress (neckline

Hand-picked the zipper…

Alice dress (zipper)
(Oops, loose thread there.)

And hand-sewed the hem.

Alice dress (hem)

It is really the nicest-finished dress I have ever made, and one of the best-fitting as well. The only trouble is that it is a little too adorable. Better suited to 10-year-old Alice than 20-year-old Alice…

I might remove the sleeves, and possibly lower the neckline a bit more, which would make it more of a quirky sundress, and less of an Alice-in-Wonderland costume. Alternatively, I could take it all apart and salvage the gorgeous fabric, but that seems like a sad waste of many hours. Or maybe I don’t care that it’s a dress a little girl could wear with equal composure… Thoughts? Suggestions?

Alice dress
(I just saw my neighbor looking at me from over the fence, and got all self-conscious.)

a sunny day and a colorful dress

Although I was initially overjoyed to be reunited with my extensive wardrobe after winter break, I have quickly fallen back into the habit of wearing a few key items over and over again, and letting the others stagnate. This is partly due to laziness, partly due to weather, partly due to “saving” dresses for the right occasion (which is completely imaginary and does not exist in my life). In short, there are many reasons, and none of them are very good. But Saturday dawned sunny and warm and positively springy, and I had no obligations more taxing than a stroll around campus and some physics homework, the perfect opportunity for a new dress.

floral dress

It’s not actually new, but it has languished in my closet for what–six months? a year? and this is the first time I have worn it. It was given to me by my friend Jessica, the source of most of my vintage clothes. I think it’s from the 70s, but what do I know? It’s polyester, simultaneously both slightly fuzzy and slightly shiny, and quite warm, which is a plus since it’s not really spring yet however balmy it feels.

My roommate Sierra (who took these pictures) lent me a big pale-green flower pendant. It’s mother-of-pearl-y and amazing and goes very well with the dress’s crazy oversized pattern.

I wore it with white tights and my poor beat-up black mary-janes. I love these shoes to death but I’ve had them for nearly three years and they have been sorely abused in that time. The Lewis & Clark cobblestones do no favors for shoes, and nor does the rain…

floral dress

These photos are taken partly just to capture the beautiful Imbolc light quality before it completely disappears behind three more months of rain. Also, I live on the loveliest campus I ever have seen, which is the closest I come to having school pride or whatever.