Wendy Darling from Peter Pan

I have loved Wendy Darling since I was a toddler- although, truth be told, I discovered her first through the Mary Martin version of Peter Pan. After that came the book, then the live action movie, then the Cathy Rigby version of Peter Pan (which I actually saw live when I was eighteen, and I bawled the whole time), and then the Disney Peter Pan. And all that being said, I adore Wendy. She’s one of my favorite literary characters of all time.

I had wanted to cosplay as Wendy for literally years, and I finally bit the bullet for Akaicon in 2016. I just knew that I wanted a very specific look- I wanted a full circle skirt, I didn’t want a back closure, I wanted puff sleeves without a cuff, and I wanted a lightweight cotton.

But of course I started with bloomers. And of course I trimmed the bloomers with eyelet, because that’s who I am as a person.

I heavily adapted the bodice of Simplicity 1873, making it a wide boatneck, eliminating the darts in favor of gathering the front of the bodice, and making it one solid piece in the back instead of a closure. I wasn’t fully happy with the fit, but it looked nice.

Luckily Simplicity 1873 had the perfect sleeve pattern. The sleeve is pleated at the hem and fully lined, so it doesn’t need a cuff or elastic. The puff sleeve is also very small and delicate like this, which I think is more Wendyish.

I cut the skirt as a full circle. If you watch the movie, you can see that there’s a lot of fullness in the skirt, and too often (even in the parks) her dress is cut as plain, slightly gathered panels. I wanted the fullness, so full circle it was.

Photo from SPN Creatives

My friend Amber made my bow, and I got an acorn kiss necklace from a site called Whosits and Whatsits!

The first time I wore the costume, I styled my own hair and…it wasn’t great. Wendy has a very specific hairstyle but I couldn’t afford a $100+ wig at the time. So it was okay, but it could have been better.

The second time I wore it was for Not So Scary with my family in 2018. This time I wore a long soft tulle skirt underneath for a little extra coverage (the cotton is so thin you could see the waistband of my bloomers!) and I incorporated my short hair extensions, affectionately nicknamed the Honey Badger.

The first time I wore black ballet flats from the kids section of Target, but for Not So Scary I wore white lacy ankle socks and my black Capezio character shoes, and once it got dark I switched the heels for black converses. So much more comfortable!

I do plan on remaking this costume. I’d like to make the bodice more fitted to suit my body type, and maybe with pearl buttons on the back. But I’ll definitely use the same sleeve pattern and the circle skirt again.

Charley’s Aunt

Apparently 2018 was the year I did shows that no one else ever does. Charley’s Aunt was written in the 1890s and was incredibly popular then; it even got turned into a musical later on. But…no one ever does it.

It’s super cute though. It’s a fun British farce about a couple of college boys who want to invite their girlfriends over so they can propose, but of course in this era they need a proper chaperone. Originally Charley’s aunt (wow, the name of the show!) was going to chaperone, but she doesn’t show up, so naturally the boys dress up their classmate as the aforementioned aunt. Comedy ensues.

I played Kitty, one of the pretty girls hoping to get engaged. I really liked this show because I got to play a cute ingenue, which I never get cast as, plus I got to use a British accent. However…the show is long. So long. Tremendously long. I think that might be the main factor why it’s rarely produced. The bulk of my scenes were in acts one and two; I spent most of act three in a ballgown sipping brandy and saying “isn’t that lovely!”

Speaking of costumes…guess who made her own costumes again?

This show is set in the 1890s, so I needed a full set of underwear. I made myself a chemise and bloomers, and wore a corset from the costume shop. Unfortunately, because I’m short, the corset was far too long for my torso, but with some creative lacing we made it work.

I wore an afternoon dress for most of the show. White muslin was very popular for wealthy women, but I lined mine in pink for a little extra something, and to make it a little less stark onstage. I used McCall’s 7071 and followed it pretty closely on the bodice, but I used the skirt pattern from Simplicity 2207 for a more simple shape. I didn’t wear extra petticoats or a bustle, but I gathered the dress a little bit more in the back to make it a little more full.

My act three dinner dress was a dream. I bit the bullet and ordered the Phantom of the Opera film pattern from eBay- long discontinued, but absolutely gorgeous and definitely worth it. It made a beautiful off the shoulder neckline. I made it as one piece instead of two, however, and cut the waist straight across instead of into a point. I also added the sleeves from Simplicity 1873. I used a pink polyester from Joann’s Casa Collection and lined it with a cream colored cotton bedsheet from Walmart.

The bustle was sewn the way it the pattern calls for, but I bustled it higher to make sure I didn’t get stepped on (spoiler alert: I still got stepped on. Frequently. The perils of being five foot nothing in a floor length ballgown.)

My favorite part was that my mom came all the way from Nashville to see me! She came to Edwin Drood in the fall, too- but she saw me in the same costumes, because I ended wearing all my Charley’s Aunt pieces for Drood. It worked out!

I’m really glad I ended up doing this show. It went over really well and I had a lot of fun with the other actors- four of us from Wedding Singer went straight from Wedding Singer to Charley’s Aunt, and that made it a really great experience to be with friends. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the chance to do this show again, but if you get the chance at least to see it, go see it!

The Wedding Singer (Again!)

Y’all. You would think I would have learned my lesson from the first time I did Wedding Singer to not costume it again. And yet…here I am.

My director for Evil Dead asked me while I was working on that show if I could costume Wedding Singer. Honestly…I wanted to be in it more than costume it this time. So of course, because it’s me, I ended up costuming and performing in the ensemble!

The great thing about costuming this time around was that I had a great shop to pull from, and I was able to borrow pieces from the first time I did the show. It also helped that this time I had a really clear vision of what I wanted. My first production of Wedding Singer really taught me that you need to know what you want before you really get into pulling and making pieces. Haphazard does not work when you have a massive cast where everyone has at least six costume changes.

201 total, actually. 201 costume changes.

I almost died.

This time I had some parts of the plot that I was really, really proud of. Like…Linda’s wedding dress. The actress already had an affinity for vintage lingerie, so she found a 1980s lace bustier (I filled in the cups to cut down on the nipple visibility; the show is only PG-13 at the absolute most) and I made her a massive poofy high-low hem tulle skirt scattered with red roses. I made her a veil topped with red roses too. I also made her a pink plaid tearaway skirt for “Let Me Come Home.”

I put all the guys in “Single” in mismatched Hawaiian shirts and honestly I was in love with it. The second I found the rack of Hawaiian shirts I was like OH GOD I NEED THESE.

Holly wore the same dress I made for the previous production, the pink swimwear dress, but without a tearaway skirt. I definitely didn’t have time for that this time around.

For “All About the Green” I did the same concept for the ensemble with everyone in matching outfits, but I dressed Glen in a blazer and a green tie that the actor already owned. Robbie’s outfit was a happy accident- I wanted it to look like Robbie was wearing the nicest clothes he owned, and one day the actor playing Robbie showed up to rehearsal wearing this great short sleeve button up with an 80s style Star Wars print. So of course I had him wear it for the show, with khaki pants and a lilac covered tie. It was a perfect contrast.

And of course, I wore a crazy combination of outfits for my own track! First up: a wedding guest/the wedding photographer in the opening number! I added puffy white off the shoulder sleeves to a dress I already owned.

Second: one of the Pop! bridesmaids. I found three identical dresses (apparently donated from a 1980s show choir, not even kidding) and hemmed them up to fit the three shortish bridesmaids so we could safely pop in and out of a bathroom stall (also not even kidding).

Third: Donatella the whiny baby talk bride. This was an absolute blast, especially since I got to wear this crazy satin wedding gown and an equally crazy veil. And then I got to punch Robbie to finish off the number before I stormed offstage wailing. Honestly a blast.

Fourth: a bar mitzvah guest. I wore this awesome drop waist velvet dress with a lace collar. I had most of my next costume underneath it to help with my next change, but I wanted some awkward kids to be guests at the bar mitzvah and it was totally worth it.

Fifth: shopping mall patron. I only wore this costume for about five minutes, but it was my favorite! I made the plaid circle skirt myself and wore my S-Mart Evil Dead shirt as a little hidden tribute (and it worked with the time period, since Evil Dead came out in 1981 and Wedding Singer is supposed to be 1986).

Sixth: a clubber! Okay, I lied, this might have been my favorite costume. I made this insane circle skirt from layers and layers of multicolored tulle. The velvet off the shoulder bodysuit was, of all things, from Target! It was a comfortable outfit to wear especially since it was such an intense dance number (did I also mention I tore my plantar fascia during a rehearsal, and did a 5k and danced through the whole run anyway? I might be a little stubborn.)

(Then we had intermission, which is when I put all my costumes away and took a breather. And luckily I was onstage a lot less in act 2.)

Seventh: Veronica the slutty secretary. A couple of us gave our office worker characters names, and I was given Veronica. And I got to do the Starbucks line in the song, which was fun.

Eighth: travel agent. I wore a black and white pinstriped skirt (which was totally *not* my old gangster costume skirt, of course not) and a royal blue blazer. This was another bit where I was onstage with a new costume for only a few minutes.

(And I don’t have a photo because I literally wore it for 30 seconds.)

Ninth: wedding guest. I brought back the pink rainbow tulle skirt! This time I wore it with a separate top made from Butterick 5695, which is the same pattern I used for Julia’s wedding dress in the first production I costumed. Comment below if you’d like to see an in depth post about my crazy rainbow skirt!

Phew! Nine costume changes, just for me!

Performing wise, I love this show. I love it so much. It’s high energy from start to finish, the characters are lovable, it’s hilarious, and the audience always has a positive reaction. And every ensemble track keeps you busy. I haven’t danced this much in a show in a very long time, and I loved it.

Will I ever costume this show again? Absolutely not. Twice is more than enough. Will I audition for it again? Absolutely! Now that I’ve done an ensemble track I don’t know if I’ll do that again, but I’ll definitely audition for Holly or Julia and see how it goes.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

No one ever does Edwin Drood. No one. So this was amazing, because not only was this theater finally doing Drood, but the director was super passionate about it, which made it even better.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is based on Charles Dickens’ last novel, so it truly is a mystery- he died before he completed the book and left no outline or notes, so no one truly knows who he planned to reveal as the murderer. So the musical opens as an immersive play-within-a-play, with all the actors running around the “Music Hall Royale” in preparation for their first production of Drood. The actors are introduced as their various characters, and the musical continues with plenty of winking and nodding and fourth wall breaking. And then, of course, we reach the point in Act 2 when Charles Dickens died and the whole show comes to a screeching halt. The entire fourth wall is gone, and the audience votes on their choice of detective, murderer, and a pair of lovers. The whole second act and finale of the show changes based on who the audience selects- so everyone has to be ready at a moment’s notice to follow the changes, not to mention the crazy amount of audience interaction.

I was cast as Florence, the “head chorine” of the Music Hall Royale. The director gave us a really challenging audition that involved a difficult cold read and improvisation, all with a British accent, and he told me he was really impressed with my audition and gave me a lot of material to do with the show. We started the show at house open with all of us interacting and improvising with the audience, and he had me as the first one to come out. He also put together a little bit together for me and the Music Hall stage manager to do for the intermission; the theater does a 50-50 style raffle so I got to be the one to draw the number and give the money to the winner.

And within the show I had lots to do to do. I was constantly dancing and running back and forth, and this was a very vocally challenging show too. There’s bits of strong character vocals, and also some very pure legit stuff. I got to sing part of the Moonfall Quartet, which is absolutely gorgeous but really difficult!


And I even sang a G5 at the end of “British Subject,” the only soprano who sang that note.

And did I mention I did it all in a corset? We even rehearsed in corsets. Luckily, I did Charley’s Aunt just a month or two before the rehearsal process started for Drood, so I was used to it, but high kicking in an aisle is quite another situation!

I even got to wear my Charley’s Aunt costume again! I had my beautiful pink ballgown again, and I made a little bustle skirt to wear over my white muslin afternoon dress. I’m glad those pieces got some more wear.

All in all, Drood is an absolutely amazing show and I really recommend auditioning for it or going to see it if the (rare) chance arrives. It’s a great stretch of skills for an actor and a really enjoyable and interactive experience for an audience member!

Eleven Cosplay from Stranger Things

Listen, Stranger Things debuted in the summer of 2016 and I was ON THAT BANDWAGON as soon as it happened. I literally sat in my car after Seussical rehearsal for twenty minutes because I had been watching the last episode during breaks and I needed to see how it ended. Needless to say, I wanted to cosplay as Eleven for Akaicon that year.

I decided to buy most of my pieces and alter them. The pink dress from from Poshmark- a really great app for secondhand clothes- and I took it for a better fit and hemmed it, since the original dress was a high-low hem. I also used some white fabric from my stash to make a peter pan collar.

The oversized windbreaker was about $4 on eBay and the striped kneesocks came from Amazon. It was super hard to find just the right green and yellow striped socks, and of course they now sell the correct socks in Target in a whole line of Stranger Things licensed products. Oh, well. The tan high tops also came from Poshmark and were brand new, never been worn.

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The wig was a little bit of a struggle. My sister let me borrow an old blond wig, but it was extremely long and I had to pin it up with bobby pins. Eventually she told me it didn’t matter and I could cut it, so I gave myself a haircut in the hotel bathroom and it was so much easier to deal with!

I also got a great little photoshoot with a friend of mine, Gerard from SPN Creatives, who does really great cosplay shoots. And I took some photos with my friend Jessica, who has an amazing Joyce cosplay (she really looks like Winona Ryder!)

Eleven has become one of my go-to closet costumes, and Shane said he’ll be Mike the next time I do it. He even got a calculator watch!

(Photo Credits to Gerard from SPN Creatives)

Dapper Day Fall 2017

I’ve participated in almost every single Dapper Day since it was started, ranging from “let me throw on this cute dress and call it a day” to “let me hand sew my dress and craft my accessories and wear fancy shoes.” This fall’s Dapper Day was kind of in the middle. Now that it’s a two day event, I skipped the first Magic Kingdom day and attended the second day at Epcot.

I wore the dress I made to perform in Kiss Me Kate, which was adapted from Simplicity 1459. It’s a very comfortable dress, although it had been boxed up with the rest of my costumes since the show closed so it was a little wrinkled. Oops! I also wore my Malco Modes chiffon petticoat as well, but I think it’s starting to deflate. Anyone have recommendations for re-fluffing a chiffon petticoat, or where to find a new one?

My shoes were on clearance in the kids’ section of Target and were only $6. The Cat and Jack brand at Target is fantastic- I fit in their shoes and they’re so very cute. I didn’t go with any other accessories really, other than my Alex and Ani bracelets and my Ariel hairbow from Hot Topic. It wasn’t really an Ariel disneybound per se, but the colors of the dress and the colors of the bow matched enough that I went with it.

I’m planning to do a more elaborate ensemble for spring Dapper Day next year…I just need to get started! You might have noticed one particular recurring theme in my sewing posts- I procrastinate. I procrastinate like crazy. I always leave projects until the very last minute, and that has come back to bite me in the butt more than a few times.

I’ve already picked out my big Dapper Day outfit for next spring, and as long as there aren’t any bumps in the road in the next six months, I’ll be Disneybounding as Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, with my boyfriend as Gilbert Blythe. It’s the dream, you guys.

(Source: anneofgreengables.com)

I know, I know- Anne isn’t a Disney character. But that’s all right. The plan is to make a sweet and simple dress, with puffed sleeves of course! I’ll add black boots and lace trimmed socks, and I’ll freshly dye my hair back to red right before. I’m also going to get a slate, put it on a purse, and write “carrots” on it.

Here’s hoping that I get it all done! Are you already planning your Dapper Day attire? Tell me your ideas in the comments!

Costuming the Wedding Singer

Before I costumed The Wedding Singer…I actually hadn’t listened to any of the songs from the show. Oops. I had seen the Adam Sandler movie, ages ago, but I had some research to do for the production.

Wedding Singer is a super cute, super lively musical about a (duh) wedding singer and a waitress who fall in love, even though he’s not over his ex who left him at the altar and she’s engaged to a (really awful) CEO. It’s an incredibly high energy show from start to finish, and it’s set in the 1980s, so clearly that makes it a lot of fun.

I just didn’t have any idea how challenging this show would be to costume! Here are just a few of the problems I ran into:

-a huge cast! There were about 25 people that needed costumes. Not only that, but each lead had an understudy, plus all of the ensemble members had multiple costume changes.

-multiple specialty costumes! I needed three blue blazers, plus four wedding gowns, plus four sets of bridesmaids. It was super intense.

-minimal budget and no wardrobe to pull from! This production was done through the Stage cast club, which is for Disney cast members, so we didn’t have a specific theater that belongs strictly to us. The show was actually performed in the Ballroom of the Americas in the Contemporary resort. So you can see how it was an interesting set up from the beginning.

I pulled as much as I could from Goodwill and from the actors’ wardrobes, but I did end up making a lot of specialty pieces.

One of the actors actually found the iconic blue blazers online! They weren’t exactly, uh, the best craftsmanship, but it was easier to alter these guys than sew blazers from scratch. The director also found the piano ties on eBay. George’s top was a ladies’ blouse from Goodwill and I added copious amounts of ruffles.

IMG_1506 (1)Robbie also had some pretty sweet parachute pants “that his grandma bought for [him].” They were actually tracksuit pants with extra zippers attached.

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The ensemble for “All About the Green” needed to be identical, so there were about ten navy dirndl skirts. Yikes. Luckily, one of the cast members, Madison, was an absolute angel and helped me with a lot of projects, including this one.

The impersonators posed a definite challenge- Mr. T, Billy Idol, Cyndi Lauper, Imelda Marcos, and Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Nancy’s dress and cardigan was already in her closet; Ronald and Imelda got their outfits from Goodwill with some alterations. Mr. T and Billy Idol pieced their costumes themselves (with some extra fringe stitched carefully to Billy’s vest). Cyndi was the biggest challenge. I pulled a cute Betsey Johnson dress from my closet, added some multicolored tulle left from Holly’s skirt (you’ll see in a second), and we added a lot of accessories. A lot. Unfortunately the zipper popped during tech week! We had to replace it at the last minute. But it worked!

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Linda, Robbie’s ex-fiancee, also got a great pleated skirt. I made it without a pattern and it worked out really well, especially with the leather jacket.

There were also four wedding dresses used in the show! One was donated to the production- a truly massive 80s satin nightmare. I also donated a wedding dress from my own closet for the bride in the opening number; the crinoline was cut out to make it easier to dance in, and I added a set of massive puff sleeves.

The bodice of Linda’s dress was sewn from an out of print McCall’s pattern, 5580. It’s a simple bustier pattern that I made from muslin with a lace overlay. The skirt was also muslin with a lace overlay, and then a truly bonkers high-low hem tulle skirt. It moved so well during Linda’s act one number, and with combat boots and a silver belt it was perfect. (And that wig…just look at that glorious wig.)

Julia’s wedding gown was a super important project for me. She’s the female lead and the object of Robbie’s affections, so it was important that her wedding gown was as simple, sweet, and lovely as she is. My friend Molly played the role with the perfect balance of sweetness and quirkiness and it was so fun making her a gown. I used an actual 80s formalwear pattern that I found on eBay, Butterick 5965, but I made the skirt long and full. The dress was lined in muslin (no budget to be had!) with a layer of satin over it, and then a layer of very soft tulle over it. It actually wasn’t even tulle- technically it was mosquito netting. But it draped beautifully and it looked so soft and dreamy. The dress itself is very simple, but I made sure it fit her well, and I added a rhinestone trim (also from the 1980s- it was actually vintage!) so that Robbie’s question about “is that bedazzling?” made sense. She wore it with a veil from my closet and a petticoat, but there wasn’t a train to make it easier to dance in.

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(you can also see the super cute bridesmaids’ skirts that Madison whipped up!)

Holly, Julia’s cousin, had one of the most challenging costumes. For most of the show, she wore an IMMENSE poofy skirt. It was made of three layers of pink organza, with multiple layers of tulle circle skirts in a rainbow of colors. It was so time intensive to make, but isn’t the final result great?

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But guess what! That isn’t even the final result! Under that skirt, Holly is wearing a mini dress made of pink swimwear material! See, at the end of act one, Holly pulls a Flashdance and does the whole pull-the-chain-and-the-water-comes-down bit. She needed a dress that could get wet and be completely dry by the next performance. So you see that fancy tulle circle skirt? Yeah, it’s actually a tearaway! It fastened with two extremely sturdy magnetic snaps at the waist so she could pop it off, and underneath was a pink minidress made from McCall’s 5580. If I could do it again, I would make my own bias tape from black spandex rather than using the woven premade tape, but it still worked out and she looked great. (“Like a fairy godmother…only slutty.”)

IMG_1505 Wedding Singer is a complicated show to costume even without the constraints I had, but overall it was a great show- definitely one of the most high energy and dedicated casts I’ve worked with! I’m glad I had the chance to make them look good onstage. And I can’t wait to costume the show again this spring!