In 2015, I decided I wanted to do a halloween costume for work. It had to be cute, fun, and in halloween colors, that much I was sure of. I wanted to love it but I didn’t know where I wanted to do.
There was an idea I loved and wanted to start with: The Mad Hatter. A beautiful conception of madness, perfect for Halloween. I wanted to have a fun, big fluffy skirt. I chose awesome halloween fabrics(shown below) that I bought at a discounted price (score!). My original idea included a wide belt and also had thin upper layer on the skirt, with lace on the the neckline and on the skirt hem. I also really wanted a petticoat.
I had a simplicity pattern for a dress that was a basic A-line with pleats and 3/4 sleeves, that I chose to use as my base. The pattern size went up to a 22″ so I used that for the skirt to gather it and have as much fullness as possible. I traced the sleeves on to wrapping paper and then cut open the pattern. I didn’t fan the sleeves, but added fullness to both the armhole and the sleeve opening. I was planning on keeping the neck opening the same as the pattern and using the same darts.
It took me a while to decide what I wanted with the petticoat, I didn’t know if I wanted it to be a real petticoat, or a simple one of strips tied to a ribbon. I really love petticoats and have watched them made in person. They are amazing. But the problem was time and the fabric I was able to get a hold of. Petticoats aren’t cheap, so I went with the one tied to a ribbon. I believe I spent 10 bucks on it. I went for sale fabrics and watched my budget (though I do have a habit of collecting fabrics haha.)
I made the mistake of waiting till the last minute to get black tulle and I didn’t have enough. The only stuff that I could find was black sticky glitter tulle (I don’t recommend. It sticks to itself and takes away some of the fluffiness it should have). Glitter EVERYWHERE. haha. But for halloween as a mad hatter, I felt that that was be completely appropriate. I folded long strips of tulle in half and then folded it over the ribbon and pulled it through the loop nice and tight. I personally liked this method best. The ribbon I chose was soft, consistent, and strong.
For the sleeves I found this cute white fabric with pumpkins and black swirls and bats, for the body, orange fabric with glitter (that doesn’t come off so easily haha), and for the skirt, black fabric with spiderwebs all over. The shiny polyester fabric was going to be the upper layer on the skirt but I decided to not use it and ended up not using it.
For the hat, I followed some tutorials online and made my own pattern after figuring out what kind of shape I needed. I used felt and lots and lots of glue. Unfortunately, I had made it too heavy. I ended up attaching a ribbon to the underneath and using that as a band to hold it on.
I made some mistakes along the way that cost me. I didn’t realize that the pattern didn’t fit me as well as it should so the neckline ended up being imbalanced. I had already attached the zipper and skirt as the only model was myself. I should have checked it using muslin, but since I had already made the base of the dress before, I assumed I could do it. The problem was, I had made the dress too big the first time. making the top the size I should have originally, changed it and I didn’t make sure that it would still work.
I thought I could work with it, maybe add the lace but upside up like in the original drawing. But it was worse after I added the sleeves. I love boat necklines, it just wasn’t coming together because the pattern was off. I cut some out and got it to lay flatter, but you could still see my bra straps and that was a no. I thought about adding tiny darts, but ended up gathering it with a basting stitch and hiding it with the lace. It did the “job.” I’m still not 100% happy with it, I won’t say I am. I wish I had at least made a block and fit the top before doing anything, but I do like how it came together.
I wasn’t able to make the belt, instead took a soft, black scarf and used it as such. it added to the “mad” effect I was going for. It wasn’t short enough to wear my knee-high boots so I settled for my ankle boots and mismatched socks again full filling the idea.
(I apologize for no finished photo, I didn’t take that one haha gotta find it. Will add on when I do)