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!

Astrid Hofferson from How to Train Your Dragon

The only way I can describe this is “Princess Astrid.” Really.

I love How to Train Your Dragon, so for Not So Scary in 2015 I decided to make a costume inspired by her. Her full outfit was going to be impractical, especially for Florida (faux fur! Leather! weaponry!) so I designed a one piece dress reminiscent of Astrid using my trusty Simplicity 1873 as a base.

The bodice is made of a red brocade that I bought online. Sadly it is far too shiny in person and I wasn’t happy with it at all. I also wasn’t happy with the faux lacing- the neckline sits too high and the waistline sits too low, making me seem lumpy and uneven. The sleeves were fairly simple though; I used cream cotton from my stash and stitched on brown ribbon to look like the lacing of her arm guards.

The skirt was a brown cotton that I originally purchased for my Vanellope Von Schweetz cosplay (although I found a much better fabric later). I used a wide burlap ribbon to cover the waist and stitched stripes of narrow burlap ribbon onto the skirt to look like the fur and leather panels. I tracked down skull buttons on Ali Express that literally arrived at the last possible second.

The headband was a length of brown twill belting with elastic stitched to the center, and I wore navy Walmart leggings and my Rocketdog boots. Super classy, eh?

Here’s where I really messed up, though. Because…I’m a procrastinator. A really dreadful procrastinator. I waited until the day of Not So Scary to get started on my project. And I slept in too. And also I was working on my friend’s Belle costume, which I hadn’t completed either. I am literally THE WORST. I cried. Often. And I wasn’t happy with the final products of either cosplay. But oh well. We still made it to Be Our Guest on time (so Bri got to eat at the castle while dressed as Belle) and we still had a great time at the party. Will I wear my Astrid dress again? Not without significant changes. But at least we had a good time!

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

Cinderella’s Rags

Why are these rags so pretty? I’ve always wondered that, even as a kid. Maybe it’s the color combination- the warm golden brown, the chocolate brown, the robin’s egg blue. There’s just something appealing about it.

I decided to make my Cinderella rags cosplay for Not So Scary in 2014. What pattern did I use? If you guessed my trusty Simplicity 1873, you are correct! It’s just the best fit and flare pattern there is. I used all cottons, mostly because I couldn’t find any linens that were the right color. If I ever go back and remake this dress, I’ll use a wider range in fabric textures. The skirt was cut as a half circle and I added pockets- really deep pockets, because if I’ve learned anything from my Not So Scary trips it’s that I NEED POCKETS. I mean, I had my car keys, my phone, and my umbrella in that bitch.

The first time I tried on the bodice, it was too small. This is why I always pin the zipper and test the bodice before I add sleeves or the skirt! Luckily I had enough fabric left to add gores at the sides, and that was all I needed.

The apron was a hemmed rectangle of white cotton pleated onto a waistband (super simple) and I wore black ballet flats from Target and a royal blue ribbon in my hair. My hair was surprisingly easy. I curled my bangs back from my forehead with a 1” curling iron and pinned the perfectly formed curl into place; the rest of my hair was curled, teased, and tied into a low ponytail. I was also very pleased with my makeup (although I can’t remember what products I used!)

I also made a Fairy Godmother costume for my friend Song using the same pattern. The dress was a plain blue, but the short cloak was self drafted. If I remember correctly, the cape part was cut in one circular piece; the cape and hood were both lined in pink and I added the big maroon ties in the front to make the bow.

I wore the Cinderella costume again for Akaicon 2015; I wanted a simple and comfortable cosplay for Sunday so I pulled this one out of retirement. This time I added my beloved Malco Modes petticoat, white gave just enough softness and fullness. My friend Kimberly also took some gorgeous photos of the costume, and my sister lent me her Cinderella mice toys (from a playset I bought her for her sixth birthday!)

Also I got to meet Jason Mardsen in this dress and I got super shy and he was literally the nicest and his chin scruff touched my shoulder when he hugged me and it was the best okay bye.

Dapper Day Rapunzel from Tangled

This dress was a long, long long time in the making. It starts when I was in college, and I was tasked with making a dozen colonial-era costumes in the span of two and a half weeks (Comment below if you want to hear that story!) I drew inspiration from a lot of places, including Sofia Coppola’s dreamy Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst. The costumes in that movie are absolutely stunning, and I especially fell in love with the soft pastel gowns worn during the Petit Trianon scenes. I ended up making this beautiful white gown lined in soft pink, with a pink satin sash. I was totally in love, and honestly I wanted to make one for myself.

So when I was planning my spring Dapper Day outift, I really wanted to make something like that dress, but with a Disney twist. I decided to base my outfit off of both the chemise a la reine and Rapunzel!

 

I used my favorite fit and flare dress pattern, Simplicity 1873, for the bodice, but cut both the back and neckline in deep scoops. I also added a waistband, to give the bodice a more definited shape. The sleeves were pulled from…well, I’m honestly not sure. Another pattern. Both the sleeves and the neckline were trimmed with pleated white ruffles.

I made the dress out of white muslin (because cheap!) but the bodice and the full circle skirt were both lined in a light lavender cotton, partially because, well, the white dress was see through, and also because the lavender gave just enough of a hint of a Rapunzel color through the thin muslin. As a final touch, I used a double-faced satin ribbon in the perfect lavender-pink shade as a sash and made thread loops to hold it in place. (Comment below if you want a tutorial on how to make those!)

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I also made a flower-trimmed headband using a cream colored headband from Joann’s and a bunch of silk flowers. They were only hot glued into place, but they held up really well and I didn’t lose a blossom during the long humid day.

My shoes were a pair of pink and cream oxford flats from Modcloth and I wore them with a pair of white lacey socks from the kid’s section of Target. What can I say? They worked really well. I also wore a necklace with a little gold comb on it, also from Modcloth.

I wore my Malco Modes petticoat underneath the dress and carried around a cream colored purse from Forever 21, and it was a magical day. I mean, I did get stared at in the parking lot, and it’s REALLY HARD TO DRIVE IN A PETTICOAT, but I had a beautiful time and took a lot of pictures. And also met Rapunzel. I got to tell her that my dress had pockets and she thought that was great. So all in all, a success! I really need to wear this dress again. Maybe the next time I go grocery shopping.