Glittery Gothic Dress, Photos

I’ve been really bad about photographing costumes this year, but I promised myself that I would get at least two of my flower dresses photographed before fall passed and I succeeded!

Today I’m posting pictures of my Glittery Gothic dress in action! This is a Halloween themed photoset but I wanted to post a day early because some people actually leave the house on Halloween. Also, knowing me I would end up forgetting to post them on the day of and really kick myself for it later.

Ever since I made this costume i’ve wanted to  photograph it with a very dark backdrop. My goal was a deer caught in headlights/moonlight feel. I didn’t want anything too fancy that would take away from the dress. 

I actually tried to do this with my Anju costume last year and it failed horribly. I tried to get the effect with a broken tripod and cheap speedlight which for some weird reason, didn’t work. This year I used two desk lamps and a trip pod that actually stood still, which (big surprise) worked a lot better!

My dad was a big help with these photos, he stood on a mark while I pointed the lights and focused the camera. Then I set the camera timer and we switched places. It took a lot of standing around in the cold to get these, but in the end we were successful!

If you aren’t familiar with this costume I have two blog posts about how I made it, and a video that shows how I made the crown!

|Making the Skirt |Making the Bodice| Making the Crowns|







I hope you enjoy the holiday! Or if you don’t celebrate, I hope you have a nice weekend!

Making a Glittery Gothic Dress, Part One

A few months ago I shared some pretty controversial news about my hatred towards Summer. Surprisingly I received a lot of positive feedback from likeminded people, which is why i’m feeling brave enough to make another statement. This time about a beloved holiday: Halloween

I don’t like it. At all.

Honestly my favorite thing about October 31st is that the craze l ends and I can stop hearing about it and seeing posts related to it. That probably sounds really bad. Like i’m some sort of halloween grinch. Sorry.

I enjoyed it when I was much younger, but I grew out of it before I was in my teens. I used to think it was pretty silly and didn’t understand why it was even considered a holiday, and I still feel that way. But it seems I’m the only one since every year people are bursting with Halloween spirit as soon as October comes along.

I know I should like it, someone passionate about costumes should appreciate a “holiday” centered around them.  However I love costumes so much that I wear them whenever I feel like it, I don’t confine my costume ideas and wear time into a single day.

All that being said – you guys know I have a huge weakness when it comes to seasonal decor. Even though I dislike halloween, and orange is my least favorite color, and gore makes me want to puke, I found myself in the Halloween section of Michaels on a fateful Monday night.

And I left with $70 of halloween, and weirdly, christmas decorations with a project in mind.

Paired with a trip to Joanns and the weirdly tempting pile of crappy polyester that is the Spirit halloween collection and the project was confirmed. I already showed my haul for this project in my progress report last month, so go browse that if you want to see the raw materials before I tore them apart for this project!

My original idea looked like this. I wanted it to be similar to my other flower dresses but with an edgy twist.


 I wanted the bodice to be shaped like bat wings, which was a neat idea in theory but didn’t end up looking that great. Since I have a pretty small chest there wasn’t enough room to get the shapes the way I wanted.

But I figured it would be okay and moved forward with the idea.


I actually added all the boning and hemmed the edges before realizing it just wasn’t working. It looked like something you could buy from a Halloween store and the shapes were more spidery than batty.


So I trashed that. As in literally threw it in the trash and started over. Instead I took it in a different, simpler direction. I decided to make a vaguely 18th century stays reminiscent bodice that would give a conical shape and tie at the shoulders and up back.

The pattern looked like this.


I managed to reuse all the boning from my failed bodice, so that was good. The boning channels were made from one inch wide strips of cotton broadcloth that had the edges folded over.


I cut my bodice base from the same broadcloth, then marked the boning channels and “hem line” where the edge will be folded over.


All the boning channels were sewn in place and boning was added.


I was happy with it but it looked really cheap, which isn’t surprising since broadcloth is less than $3 a yard. To fancy it up a bit I took some black mesh and stitched it on as an overlay. This was purchased from the spirit fabric line at Joanns a few years ago, it has spiderwebs and bats stitched into the mesh, it’s really cute!


After that was sewn in place I rolled all the edges over and sewed them down.


Warning: if you have a fear of glitter I would suggest skipping this part

Then it was time for the fun part, embellishing! I saved some glittery bats, leaves, and spiders for this along with the orange and silver christmas decorations. Unlike my previous flower dresses, there aren’t any flowers in the bodice.


I was really torn about how this looked, but it’s grown on me over time! I think it’s really strange and pretty.


I removed any glue strings and added the tulle overlay. I was surprised to find that it looked very sheer. I was hoping it would subdue the decorations a bit and make everything a bit less intense, but that didn’t happen!

The tulle does still have a purpose though, it keeps glitter from escaping.


The edges of the tulle were rolled over and stitched down. Then I added silver grommets to the shoulders.

These days I usually hand embroider eyelets but I thought the contrast of the silver grommets would look better in this particular garment.


I cut strips of my batty mesh material and used those as ties at the shoulder.

To finish off the garment I sewed black bias tape around the interior to cover any ugly edges.


Then I added grommets to the back and it was done! It didn’t turn out the way I had planned but I think it’s cute, sparkly, and tacky without looking cheap. So it meets all my goals for this project.


Here is the bodice worn, this is a few steps further along after it had been sewed to the skirt and I added a sash.

It fits really nicely and I like how the neckline turned out!

Photo on 10-1-14 at 12.54 PM

Next week i’ll talk about making the skirt and assembling it all together. I also have some historical projects coming up this month, if you are getting sick of fashiony stuff just wait around a bit longer!

Thanks for reading!

Making a Gothic Butterfly Crown

Do you ever wake up with an overwhelming urge to make a gothic butterfly crown or is that just me? Because last week that was the exact thought I had upon waking, and I was determined to do it.

I have mixed feelings about the finished crown, I think it’s neat but I know it could have turned out better. This project is really different from what I normally make, it involved a lot of experimenting so it’s a miracle the end result is even wearable! I think if I were to remake this it would turn out much better, so the issue wasn’t with the method, it’s with the execution.

I filmed the process of making this, so if you want to see how I did it in live action you can watch the video below or click here! If you are interested in actually learning how to make this crown I would suggest you keep reading, since far more information is provided in this post than in the video.

(playable videos do not show up in most emails)

I’m still trying to figure out how to ensure the lighting, angle, and focus of the camera remains the same throughout each clip. The camera I use to take progress photos is the one I use to film, so every time I need to take a picture I have to disrupt the video. I’m also using only natural light and it’s not very dependable. Hopefully I’ll improve on both of these things in the future.

Anyway! I wanted this to be drastically different from my last butterfly crown so I had to get creative. I decided using a darker color scheme, less butterflies, and arches would do a good job of making it unique.I didn’t draw out a sketch or anything, but I knew what I wanted it to look like in my head which was good enough!

I started by measuring my head, then added almost two inches to account for a wig or elaborate hair style. Later on i’ll be making a headband which will match that measurement exactly.

I wanted to mount six wire arches onto that headband, which meant they each needed to be 3.5″ at the base. I played around with a ruler and french curve until I had an arch shape I liked, then cut it out of thick paper…which in this case was a snickerdoodle box.

Then I used tin snips to cut floral wire into pieces that were long enough to make into arches. I bent each piece of wire around the paper arch base until they held the shape I wanted.


Despite my best efforts I couldn’t get them all to be smooth and perfect. If I could go back I would spend way more time trying to get them as close as I could, because in the finished piece the wiggly wire is what bothers me the most!

After they were all archified(?) I painted them black. Once they were painted I used the tin snips to trim the ends so they were all the right size.


I cut a piece of ribbon that was twenty one inches long with a bit of space at each end. I marked spots every three and a half inches, then glued down each arch with heaps of hot glue.

This was set aside for a bit, the glue needs a while to harden and you have to make the headband to mount them on.


I decided to make my headband out of quarter inch wide plastic fabric covered boning. This will serve as a base for everything and was cut to the measurement I decided on earlier (twenty one inches).

On it’s own that would look pretty ugly, so I cut a strip of velvet to serve as a slip cover. The strip was almost three inches wide and twenty two inches long.


Each edge of the velvet was hemmed. I did this by hand with a running stitch because I was too lazy to make a black bobbin for my sewing machine.

Then I slip stitched the boning to the velvet, about an eighth of an inch away from the edge. I did this very quickly and poorly but that’s okay, it won’t be visible later on.


Remember the strip of ribbon with all the arches attached? That gets glued down directly to the boning. I had to use lot’s of glue because these two things don’t like sticking to each other!


The lower edge of velvet got folded up so it touches the top and hides any ugly bits! I used a slip stitch to sew the two edges together.

Hot glue will not work for this step, sewing it will give you the best results. If you are unable you could try fabric glue and use binder clips to keep everything together until it dries.


When I was sewing I also stitched the two ends together to create a circlet. At this point you have a functional crown with fancy arches – super exciting! Mine was in a really odd shape, so later on I used heat to bend it into something more circular.


I had a selection of beads already out which I was using for embellishing a bodice, but worked fabulously for this crown as well. I also had some cross pendants (from the beading section of Joanns) which I painted black.


I used a heavy duty black thread and strung beads from the base of the arch, to the middle, to the base on the opposite side. Then I went in and attached the crosses to the center of the arch.


I was originally going to embellish the base of the crown but felt it would look messy. Instead I used orange beads, fake pearls, and rhinestones to create little bits that dangled from where each arch meets.

DSC_8412 Then I glued butterflies over the join point for each arch, and added a few on the tops of the arches. I used large Ashland nature center feather butterflies for this step, they come in a few different colors and can be purchased at  Michaels.

The finished crown looks like this:



And when worn it’s like so! I experimented a lot with makeup for these photos and I don’t think it worked out to well, but I do like how the crown and bodice look.




Thanks for reading!