Homemade 1951 Alice in Wonderland Cartoon Costume for a Woman

Neurotic? No, no, no! I don’t like that word. I’d say, thorough. Yeah, let’s go with that.  When I decided that I wanted to be Alice it was not even a question that there’d be extensive underpinnings.  I’m nothing if not, well, thorough.

First, a lady needs a corset.  I make them professionally so it was a breeze, and for this one I found a really sweet white-on-white snowflake print at Joann (all the other supplies came from CorsetMaking.com). Okay now a hoop skirt. How the heck do I make one of those?  Alright, alright CorsetMaking sells hoop boning. How hard could it be? I made the top hoop about 8-10 inches larger than my hips and the next two hoops progressively larger, adjusting for shape (‘lampshade’ skirt is the worst). The hoop boning runs through bone casing that is then suspended by vertical pieces of the casing that are empty in a cage-like shape. Add a simple cotton skirt over it to hide the ridges and voila!

Yes, yes I know I could have sewn the hoop casings right to the skirt.  I wanted to have the option to reuse it in other outfits. Then I made simple knee length bloomers with a lace ruffle for underneath. The hard part was over. Now for a basic dress pattern, draft a Peter Pan collar, add a puff sleeve from another dress pattern, and done!

Instead of using solid light blue cotton for the dress, I decided to use a blue on blue heart so as to avoid the dress looking flat. Then I used a basic apron pattern and modified it to cross in the back, added a flutter sleeve, and since I NEEDED pockets I used a cute elasticized pocket from a different apron pattern.

Now for the finishing touch, the wig. Simple, right? What could I have possibly needed to do to a wig? Well, you see, Costume Superstores’ wig selection is not only limited but also low quality.  Nevertheless, I found one that was appropriate but it was limp and thinning like a puppy with mange.  I went on over to my local beauty supply store (avoid Sally’s because you can get much better deals at small mom and pop places), got some matching weft (hair on a string/track) and then just sewed it on the bare spots following the other lines of hair.  Do put the wig ON something to keep it from shrinking when you’re sewing, and style accordingly.

All in all, there were no major obstacles to overcome, and the product was a simple, pretty costume that I’m very happy with!

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