Amy March from Little Women

This dress didn’t begin life as Amy March. It just kind of…happened.

Picture it: my junior year of college, 2000 and something. My English literature class was doing group projects, and mine decided to do an Oprah-type interview of Jane Austen. Who was selected to play Jane Austen? Me! But I needed a costume.

I ran to Joann’s and grabbed Butterick 6630, their regency-era pattern, and whipped it up in white muslin. I mostly followed the pattern to the letter, although the laced back was a little tricky- I ended up using little white eyes for the loops instead of messing with punching eyelets. I also added a little bit of eyelet to the sleeve cuffs and added a full lining to the skirt, also trimmed with eyelet (I’m always a slut for eyelet). I pulled my hair back in a loose knot, added a pair of black ballet slippers, and it made for a pretty decent Jane Austen costume!

Flash forward to Akaicon 2016. I was planning on attending the masquerade, but I didn’t have a ballgown cosplay completed. And I was running out of time fast (and money- the yardage for ballgowns ain’t cheap). I played around with a couple of options but ended up pulling my white Jane Austen dress out of storage and set to work with a different literary character in mind.

In the book Little Women there’s a scene in the second half where Amy, the youngest sister, is preparing to go to a ball. She ends up taking a hand-me-down white ballgown, adds tulle and some flowers, and goes to the ball without anyone suspecting that she’s wearing someone else’s old dress. In fact, it’s that scene where she runs into Laurie again and…well, I would say spoiler alert but the book was published in the 1880s. But it’s a great scene. Amy’s a great character (not in the beginning, I know, but she grows up to be awesome) and I thought the scene would the perfect setup for an (admittedly obscure) amazing cosplay for the masquerade.

It must be recorded of Amy that she deliberately prinked that night. Time and absence had done its work on both the young people. She had seen her old friend in a new light, not as ‘our boy’, but as a handsome and agreeable man, and she was conscious of a very natural desire to find favor in his sight. Amy knew her good points, and made the most of them with the taste and skill which is a fortune to a poor and pretty woman.

Tarlatan and tulle were cheap at Nice, so she enveloped herself in them on such occasions, and following the sensible English fashion of simple dress for young girls, got up charming little toilettes with fresh flowers, a few trinkets, and all manner of dainty devices, which were both inexpensive and effective. It must be confessed that the artist sometimes got possession of the woman, and indulged in antique coiffures, statuesque attitudes, and classic draperies. But, dear heart, we all have our little weaknesses, and find it easy to pardon such in the young, who satisfy our eyes with their comeliness, and keep our hearts merry with their artless vanities.

“I do want him to think I look well, and tell them so at home,” said Amy to herself, as she put on Flo’s old white silk ball dress, and covered it with a cloud of fresh illusion, out of which her white shoulders and golden head emerged with a most artistic effect. Her hair she had the sense to let alone, after gathering up the thick waves and curls into a Hebe-like knot at the back of her head.

“It’s not the fashion, but it’s becoming, and I can’t afford to make a fright of myself,” she used to say, when advised to frizzle, puff, or braid, as the latest style commanded.

Having no ornaments fine enough for this important occasion, Amy looped her fleecy skirts with rosy clusters of azalea, and framed the white shoulders in delicate green vines. Remembering the painted boots, she surveyed her white satin slippers with girlish satisfaction, and chasseed down the room, admiring her aristocratic feet all by herself.

“My new fan just matches my flowers, my gloves fit to a charm, and the real lace on Aunt’s mouchoir gives an air to my whole dress. If I only had a classical nose and mouth I should be perfectly happy,” she said, surveying herself with a critical eye and a candle in each hand.

In Amy-ish fashion, I dug around to see what I had in my costume supplies, and lo and behold, I found a set of white Ikea Lill curtains, still in their packaging. Basically I had a panel of soft, already hemmed tulle. I cut up the curtains to make a multilayered tulle skirt and added a waistband and a hook and eye and voila! The addition of the long tulle skirt made my simple muslin dress look dreamy.

It wasn’t quite complete though, so I added a blue satin ribbon sash, a blonde wig (the same one I wore for Eleven), and a flower crown from Claire’s. My boots are a beautiful pair of ivory high heeled Seychelles Romance boots that look gorgeous but HURT. I was relieved I was only wearing them for the masquerade because wow, so much pain.

I have a couple of (awkward) photos in the costume, and while no one knew who I was, I was really happy with how it turned out. The fit could have been better and it could have been a little fancier, but for a costume I only wore for two hours it worked really well!

Dapper Day Queen Elinor from Brave

Fall Dapper Day is somehow always harder to plan for. Dapper Day in the spring naturally lends itself to soft pastels and fluffy petticoats, but picking something in a fall color scheme is harder. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s just me.

I went through multiple options for my Dapper Day attire until I finally settled on Queen Elinor from Brave. I love the character and I hadn’t sewn anything in that rich green color before. I also decided to make it easier on myself by making a skirt and cape instead of a dress.

The skirt was self drafted- if I’m making a dirndl or circle skirt, you can bet I’ve drafted it myself. (Comment below if you want to see tutorials!) I made a basic circle skirt (with pockets) out of a gorgeous green taffeta I had in my stash that had been sitting around for years, waiting for the right project. The zipper came from my stash too, so I ended up not paying anything out of pocket for the skirt! I also pulled out my trusty Malco Modes skirt.

The cape was a little more complicated. I wanted to do something special with it. I bought a super basic New Look pattern for a cape and used the hood pattern piece from McCall’s 5534 (it’s out of print, but if you can find it it’s a super cute hooded bathrobe pattern). I bought a cream and green plaid and a black textured fabric, and made the cape fully reversible. I also made little ears and sewed them to the black hood. Why? So I could turn into a bear, of course! It was lightweight, easy to wear, and added just the right touch to the outfit.

I paired the skirt with a cream colored lace top from Forever 21 and a brown leather belt from…someplace. Walmart, maybe? I’ve had it since college, so who knows. The boots were bought at TJ Maxx after a long, nearly fruitless search. Really, why is it so hard to find plain brown lace up ankle boots without zippers and cuffs on them? But I found them at last and paired them with lace trimmed socks folded over the tops. My hair was straightened and I added a pearl circlet headband from Claire’s.

Dapper Day was actually scheduled to be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the fall, but beforehand I needed to go to Magic Kingdom to meet Merida (obviously). It was by far one of the best meet and greet experiences I’ve ever had. Merida was very sweet when I came up, and in order to make things easier (I get weirdly awkward and nervous when I meet characters and I have no idea why) I blurted out “Hey, Merida, I’m dressed like your mum and I can turn into a bear.”

She stopped and looked at me in confusion, and I took off my cape and started flipping it inside out. You can actually pinpoint the moment that she realized what was going on.

It was so great. She adjusted my ears for me and we posed like bears, and then she told me to make my best mum face and scold her (but she kept sticking her tongue out at me). It was a great interaction, and as I was about to leave, she stopped me and with the most sincere expression said “you’re beautiful.” I’m not going to lie, I got a little teary walking away. It was a great moment.

After a few more shenanigans at Magic Kingdom, my friend and I moved on to Studios, where clearly photoshoots had to happen, especially in front of Great Movie Ride.

All in all, it was a really successful (and comfortable!) outfit, and one of the best dapper days I’ve experienced.

Genderbent Kristoff Bjorgman

So I sewed a young Elsa cosplay instead of the ice dress or the coronation dress, right? So of course I’d make one of those next.

Nope.

I made a genderbent cosplay of Kristoff’s outfit from Frozen Fever. As one does.

So I was going to the 24 Hour Day in Magic Kingdom with my friend Carrie and we were debating about what to wear (because of course you have to dress up!) She ended up being the Sven to my Kristoff and it was the most magical thing.

I’m sure you’ll be shocked about which pattern I used- Simplicity 1873! Seriously, so versatile. So great.

I used sportswear fabric (sturdy with a bit of stretch) for both the bodice and the skirt; the skirt is a nice simple A-line. The neckline and armscyes are edged in bias tape rather than a full lining (too hot for that!) and I wore the same blouse I used for my young Elsa cosplay underneath, rather than making the collar and sleeves. The sash was a length of maroon fabric stitched together to make an extremely wide long panel long enough to tie and drape. The best part was busting out the embroidery options on my machine- I never use them, but they worked so beautifully on the bodice. I might have used too much embroidery, actually.

For 24-Hour Day, I wore a pair of black T-strap flats from Blowfish (which were amazing, but I wore them out and I can’t find a replacement pair and ergo am devastated) and my custom made Kristoff bow from Ever After Bowtique. Simple, but effective. I also stuffed my Malco Modes petticoat under there, because of course I did.

I pulled the costume out again for my first Akaicon in 2015. The basic costume stayed the same, but I styled it differently. The biggest change was wearing my pale blonde Arda wig instead of using my own hair; I added a gray knitted beret from Claire’s too. It seemed very Kristoffesque.

I also skipped the simple flats and went with the more Kristoff-appropriate option of gray tights from Target and my black Seychelles Gallium boots (also the same ones from my young Elsa cosplay).

I also eliminated the petticoat and added my eyelet-trimmed Wendy Darling bloomers instead. While I truly love my petticoats, they’re not always necessary, and this cosplay definitely looked cuter and more character-appropriate with just the circle skirt. And look how cute the bloomers are with the lace peeking out under the hem!

I haven’t pulled this one out in a long time, but maybe there’ll be another great time to cosplay as everyone’s favorite weirdo ice harvester

Little Mermaid Hair!

10/15/12

So you can’t see a lot of details of my outfit because the sun is stupid and I am a terrible photographer, but who cares because Ariel hair!

My sister’s best friend is in beauty school, so she came over to cut and color our hair. I hadn’t dyed my hair since August (and it had turned out the wrong color anyway) and it hadn’t been cut since April, so it definitely needed a little love! I am so thrilled with the color, and my students kept exclaiming over how pretty it looks.

I love this dress, but it’s one of the perils of buying thrifted clothing online- it was listed as a large when it’s a small! So I have to leave it unbuttoned. But hey, still, cute, right? Right? Oh well.

Also my knee socks were a dollar at the end-of-winter sales at Claire’s, and they’re sparkly. AWESOME.

It was a great outfit for a long, long day. My friend Meg was in town from Pennsylvania, so we went out for breakfast before I took her to the airport. And then it was my first day back at school after fall break, so my kids did NOT want to do anything and I didn’t really push it. They have a paper due tomorrow for me, and only one of them turned it in! Silly children. And then I had three-hour Narnia rehearsal, where I still had four main actors missing. And then I had Emanate. So long day, but really good!

Dress: Modcloth Little Chief Honeybee dress, thrifted
Top: Ann Taylor Loft, thrifted
Leggings: Forever 21
Socks: Claire’s
Boots: Rocketdog

Nail Polish: OPI Sweet Heart
Perfume of the Day: Bath and Body Works Dreamy Vanilla Woods

Knee Sock Love

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I love knee socks. Always have, always will. It brings back happy memories of high school, wearing my plaid uniform skirt and my beloved knee-highs. Of course, wearing them as a young adult…not quite the same, but still. I love them. And with the weird weather, it’s a nice compromise between tights (too warm for that!) and bare legs (too cold!).

This was a pretty chill day-nothing really exciting happening. Mostly everyone is just ecstatic about fall break next week. It’s seriously all I can think about….

Top: Old Navy
Skirt: Old Navy via eBay
Cardigan: American Eagle
Knee Socks: We Love Colors via eBay
Boots: Seychelles Romance
Necklace: Claire’s

Nail Polish: OPI Spiderman Just Spotted the Lizard
Perfume of the Day: Harajuku Lovers Lil Angel

Teal the Cows Come Home

9/25/12

That’s the name of my nail polish, and it’s so cute that I couldn’t resist.

This skirt reminds me of a hot air balloon. And it’s so comfy! And poofy! I love it.

I actually didn’t wear this outfit for very long today. I worked in the library and taught theatre arts (day 2 of voice acting- we talked about accents!), and then I changed into shorts and a tee shirt for rehearsal. P and I were going to move some furniture after work, but that didn’t pan out. I still looked decently cute, though! I think!

Skirt: Modcloth Aerial Ribbon Skirt via eBay
Cami: Old Navy
Cardigan: Forever 21
Shoes: Seychelles Kiss at Midnight via Ross
Headband: Claire’s

Nail Polish: OPI Teal the Cows Come Home
Perfume of the Day: Harajuku Lovers Love

Practical Educator

8/24

WHAT KIND OF FACE AM I MAKING? OH MY GOD. DERP ALERT.

Ahem.

In other news, nothing says “I am a practical educator in a private school” like wearing a denim skirt. But do you know what? I like this one. It’s a nice style, it’s comfy, it’s flattering, and my parents offered to pay for it as a gift. So…awesome.

Also, I needed an outfit to go with these purple shoes. Do you know how many outfits match this shade of purple? Not many, my friend. Not many. But they’re incredibly cute and comfy.

This was also my second attempt at wearing the Hiccup necklace, and this time it worked- I had it turned the right way!

I tried a small something different with my hair. My hair curls naturally, usually in a loose and unkempt sort of way, so I touch it up with a curling iron. I usually use a 2″ barrel; today I couldn’t find it (still don’t know how it walked away) so I dug out the 1″ one I use for performances. The smaller curls actually looked pretty dang cute! I might have to work with this one a little more.

Tee: Old Navy
Skirt: Gap
Shoes: Steve Madden via eBay
Necklace: Betsey Johnson via eBay
Headband: Claire’s

Nail Polish: OPI Katy Perry Teenage Dream
Perfume of the Day: Harajuku Lovers Baby