Recently, I received a last minute invitation to one of those murder mystery parties. I was expected to come as Alice in Wonderland. I had about four days to put the costume together. This is my story.
I knew that the costume itself was actually pretty straightforward – blue dress, white apron, black mary-janes. So I went to several thrift shops looking for the raw materials, fully expecting to have to modify them at least somewhat.
I suspect that this will be a good tutorial in sort of “making do.” There were lots of parts of putting this together that were completely accidental. And I needed to stay very very open to how the costume would come together. I compromised on almost every step – but I still think I ended up with an okay result.
I was looking for a dress with a) a full skirt, b) a peter pan collar, and c) in a light blue color. This is the best that I came up with on such super short notice:
The color isn’t SO dark that it won’t work – although it’s darker than I’d like. And I thought that I could maybe turn the double-breasted front into a button up thing? Or put a zipper (or even Velcro) up the front. If I pretend that there is yet another button, the very top of the lapels sort of make a collar. Anyway, it’s the best that I could find.
Then I went looking for something to fill the skirt out a bit. I was actually looking for a crinoline, or a skirt (or dress) with a built-in crinoline that I could rip apart and add to this dress. What I actually found was a white dress with a full skirt that, even though it didn’t have tulle inside, was quite full and poofy. Much more so than it seems in this picture. It was also small enough to be completely obscured beneath the blue dress., if I sort of tucked in the collar. It’s an extra small or some ridiculous size, but it’s a wrap dress, and all I want it for is the skirt.
You’ll note that this is only just barely sort of what I was really looking for – a crinoline. But it gave me the right end result – a poofy skirt. And it actually worked out better than that. In the end, I let the last inch or two of this dress show beneath the blue and it looked great.
Finally, I needed an apron. And I was really stumped on this. I looked for aprons, but none of them were very good. Not frilly enough at all. Too utilitarian. I knew that, in an apron, what I was really looking for was a wide, flat, white front part, with narrow or strappy sleeves. I thought I could even use a white belt to cinch it, if need be. I found a nightgown that was sorta-kinda-not-really-but-maybe what I wanted?