Added Jun 17, 2010
When July came around last year I began debating what I would make for Halloween. Then I came across Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ stills and I knew I had found my muse. The Queen of Hearts dress is modeled after his version here, and here.
For the Queen of Hearts dress, I tried to exact every small detail. (Notice the pintucked upper bodice:) Of course, there were a number of things I could not find. The gold and red paisley overskirt material wasn’t available at any store I visited. So I bought the gold striped material instead and bustled it with black and red striped gold buttons. Bustles just look better anyway.
Lily was surprisingly cooperative about all the makeup. I think she has this little girl obsession with it. Plus when I told her that I was going to make a heart shape on her lips she became excited and ran to the mirror before I could even finish.
If you want to know how I made Lily’s makeup, here is a REALLY perfect tutorial. Kandee, a makeup artist in LA explains how to make various costume makeup tutorials as well as basic everyday makeup tutorials. Very handy.
The jewelry detailing on the upper bodice was all done by hand. I mean with pliers and metal cutters. I can’t tell you how many details went into this dress. There might just be a hundred buttons. And did I mention I didn’t use a single pattern.
It literally took weeks to finish. Of course I didn’t work on it everyday but from the first day I started to the last day (being today) weeks have passed. Seeing it on the mannequin was so rewarding. And making the patterns was so much easier with it. I didn’t have to ask Lily to take her shirt off once.
Molly’s little Alice costume was a little easier to make:) But simply ADORABLE none-the-less. I did use a pattern for the upper bodice. But the sleeves, skirt collar and apron sleeves are my own.
I brought a black ribbon to go in her hair but forgot to bring a scissors to cut it. So that was a bust.
We brought so many props that just never got used and it was such a shame. Brian had a black umbrella. Lily had a scepter. I brought a red paint can and painted brush for Molly.
The croquet set I brought down from my mother’s attic. That alone should be worth something because it was in the back where the light doesn’t shine and nothing has been touched for decades.
Her house is literally crawling with centipedes so I didn’t even want to know what was waiting to crawl onto my hands when I put my fingers around the top. Once I got it down the stairs and into the light, things didn’t look half bad. We’ve had it since I was born, probably longer, so it’s from the 70s. While I wiped it down my mother told me a sad story about how she always hoped to use it for parties.
I’m glad we took a lot of pictures of Lily and Molly in these dresses because it will break my heart to give them away. I’m hoping the winner will be able to put them to good use.
Molly was so difficult to shoot. We went after I picked Lily up from Kindergarten so by the time I got her makeup on and the car packed the sunlight was quickly fading so I had to set my shutter speed low.
In retrospect I should have used a different lens with a wider aperture or bumped my ISO to 400 but in the heat of the moment everything flies out the window. Photographing children is SOO HARD! Molly does not sit still. Not if you beg, plead or bargain with her. She runs around and screams and looks like a blur on the lens.
The queen’s wig was purchased at chasing fireflies and is made for a child’s head so it fit Lily to a T! I was lucky to find it, though I wish it had been a little cheaper. It’s almost worth entering for that alone:)
What I really like about the queen’s dress is that you can wear a long sleeves v-neck shirt underneath and pants. So on cold Trick or Treat nights you don’t have to worry about compromising the look of the costume.
In case you missed it, a red pettiskirt is also included. This can be worn underneath the queen of hearts skirt to puff it out but it can ALSO be worn by itself as a pettiskirt. It’s the same one featured here.
Lily was excited to submit one of these photos for the Sprouterrific Halloween Costume Contest. I think it was partially responsible for her motivation to do the photos. Not five minutes after I sat down to my computer to upload the photos from the camera did she ask if I sent a photo yet. Here’s hoping she wins something:) I forgot to send a homemade card on her birthday so I need to do some make up work.
Oh, I didn’t really say too much about Molly’s costume. Well, I added little rounded pockets on the apron. The first time we put the finished costume on her was at the shooting location. Our initial reactions were ‘awwww’. If I had the extra time I would have made a pettiskirt for underneath her skirt as well. If you win and have an extra one I would recommend using it. I think it would add that extra pinch of cuteness.
Since the Queen of hearts is known for her short temper, I would have also made a card costume for myself so that Lily would have someone to abuse in the photos, if I would have had enough time.
As it turned out Brian had to be that willing participant. But as you can see, it was Lily’s favorite part of the shoot.
Both Lily and Molly enjoyed chasing him through the hedge maze and around the amphitheater.
We were really lucky to score a semi decent day this late in October. It was still warm enough to wear short sleeves. The sun came out once or twice and most importantly, IT DID NOT RAIN. It is supposed to rain through the rest of the week so I knew if I was going to post these pics it would have to be soon!
I’m trying to think of new set designs for my indoor (makeshift) studio. Not only is it warmer but it’s a lot easier to control the babies downstairs.
This will probably be one of my last outdoor photo shoots until April. One of the things I hate about living on the east coast is the weather. Give me a hot and humid over frozen and blustery any day, though neither really appeal to me. Days like today, when the temperatures are in the 60s to 70s are just what I love.
My mother was born and raised in Hawaii then moved to California after she was married. Why they moved to Pennsylvania I’ll never know.
Another prop I wish I could have found were flamingos. But how many times do you see stuffed flamingos? I used to work at Hersheypark as a teenager. I once worked at this game called ‘Rising Waters’. Whenever people played it sang the main reframe of Kenny Loggins’ “I’m Alright”. After 100 games it was enough to drive you to tears. But the prize for winning? A FLAMINGO! I bet they still have them there now.
I kind of thought Lily’s hair looked like it would also work for an ‘Annie’ costume.
So there it is, I hope you liked this set. And please, check back for more Grosgrain goodness next Halloween season.
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