Sunday, July 31, 2011

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Thalia auditioned for Wizard of Oz with hopes of being cast as the Wicked Witch. The director said she might need her for a singing role (since Thalia can actually sing, yet the Wicked Witch does not), but when the cast was announced she got the part!

Thalia sort of hoped she could have her own personal witch costume. The director noted that the witch costumes are crazily expensive, so if we wanted to be in charge of getting our own, she was fine with it. That way we could keep it when the show's over.

So I discussed what the costume should look like with the director. Simplicity 4136 is the official movie knockoff. But we both liked the idea of a skirt and top combo so she could wear the skirt at Miss Gultch and then simply slip on a different top as the Wicked Witch. She wanted a high neck, buttons down the front, and more of a pointed bottom to the bodice -- more like Elphaba in Wicked. Also, puff-top sleeves "like Anne wanted in Anne of Green Gables". The fabric would be some sort of dull black bottom weight.

So I picked up a copy of Simplicity 4136 at the handily-timed sale Hancock Fabrics had on Simplicity patterns ($1.99 each). And got to work.

First step -- cut out skirt and probably just add a waist band. Except, wow, there is ONE skirt pattern piece for all sizes (envelope has sizes 6-12 in it) and all views. And that piece as gobs of fabric around the waist. That's great for Glinda and probably okay for lightweight gingham-wearing Dorothy, but it's waaaaay too much fabric for a witch skirt in a bottom weight (possibly a cheapy costume satin would work, but that's not what we'd decided on). Thalia is using the largest size, size 12, which fits her 26.5 inch waist -- I can't imagine how that would work for a tiny little size 6 with a 23 inch waist -- they'd be swamped in fabric.

You cut out 3 iterations of the skirt piece, each of which is about 37 inches across the waist, as I recall .... I decided to whack it down to 3 times Thalia's waist size plus ease of 1 inch plus seam allowances by making the waist pattern 26.5 inches (the size of her waist) plus the extra I needed for seams plus ease. The bottom edge of the skirt is 48 inches across. Really, you could just draw a trapezoid on the fabric and not bother with the pattern. Here I'm working on it on folded fabric

with my little helper.

"I love this color!"

Now that the waist was 3 times Thalia's, I could use box pleats to draw the fabric in nice and neatly, since box pleats have a 3x ratio from beginning width to finished width. Also, I could fudge them around a little since I did massive amounts of rounding as I did the math for my finished width. I didn't press them into knife pleats -- just sewed them along the upper seam line sans any sort of pressing

added a 7" zipper to the back, then stuck on a simple rectangular waist band. Large trouser hook in the back to close the waistband, a hem, et voila

A skirt that be worn by either Miss Gultch

or a witch. (We're experimenting with hats trying to figure out what might work. The shirt is from the men's section of the Goodwill, purchased for a play a couple of years ago.)

For the bodice I used the Feis Dress pattern I was messing around with last year. I'd made the princess seam version into a drop waist with a V front, and made it it's own separate entity with a separating back zipper. (The director okayed using zippers in all the costumes.)

I deepened the armscye a bit to accommodate the Simplicity sleeve; Feis Dress has an extremely fitted armscye, and Simplicity's is HUGE. I stuck more towards the fitted, since I think it works better in this type of top. And used the Simplicity collar, which I had to make longer to fit around the Feis Dress neckline. And, finally, loosened the entire thing a bit since she isn't in an Irish Dance competition so it doesn't need to fit like a glove.

Front, pre-buttons:


The sleeves ended up way too short, probably partially because the Feis Dress shoulders aren't so baggy (dumpy) as the Simplicity shoulders, so I added a cuff.

Then, that special coating of black fur

"Why they want a dorky dog in this show when they could have a quality character like me, I don't know. But it saves me the work of showing up and having to deal with my adoring public."

Just add black boots, black gloves, and green skin:

Still to come: temporary black hair dye. I hope it rinses out better than the red "temporary" dye she used for Peppermint Patty, which is still in her hair all these months later.

And in the meantime, I'm moving on to white fabric:


Ami said...

You're really very talented, you know that, right?

Trish said...

We can't wait to see the play!!
The costume looks great. You are amazing!

KPCL Girl said...

Gosh. If we lived closer, we could share patterns...