Fiber Craft · How-To

Taking Winifred to Fred, Fabulously

As I had mentioned in Bodices & Babies, my friend approached me one summer about helping him put together a cosplay costume, specifically of Winifred from the movie Hocus Pocus. He and two close coworkers were planning on dressing up as Winifred and her two sisters for the Halloween Festival in Salem, MA.

First things first, I had to get an idea of what was Winifred’s “signature look” in the first place. No, I didn’t watch the entire movie, but I might as well have – there are very few good stills or photos of her full costume, so I ended up watching the same 10 minutes of the movie many, many times. Once I had a good idea of what we were aiming for, my friend and I sat down to plan it out.

We are organized!

We modified her costume to be more flattering to a male form: colonial style shirt and breeches in purple; corset/vest/tunic combo (corvetunic? Corvestic?) in several colors; the piece d’resistance, the cloak, with wide, mult-layered sleeves in various shades of green. He had found patterns to start from, for which I was grateful. I *could* do the cloak from scratch, maybe, but never on this short of a timeline.

Given the Corvestic and Cloak were being made from patterns that would need some serious editing, I took those home to work out how that would need to happen. My friend took on making the shirt and pants since those patterns didn’t require any customization besides some changes in closures and the standard fitting adjustments.

The patterns we used – I like our versions better but that’s just me.

Once I got home, I spread out the bodice pattern that would be the basis of the corvestic. I would have to make a muslin of the bodice at minimum – it had a zillion boning channels in addition to being shaped for a female torso. My friend is also very, very athletic, so I didn’t want him to be uncomfortable . The tunic aspect of this costume piece was going to take the form of the panels from the trench coat pattern attached to the bottom of the corset-vest, without the side or back seams being sewn – imagine four panels coming off the four quadrants of the vest.

Eh, you get the gist.

To do this, I compared the corset bodice pattern to the trenchcoat pattern. I was in luck! The waistlines were not significantly different in shape or length for the sizes I would need. Per my usual rule, I had taken my friend’s measurements and chosen sizes for the largest of the measurements – you can always take fabric in, but adding to it is a PITA at best, impossible at worst. I learned this the hard way.

The cloak was looking to be much easier. We were using the trench coat pattern with only three modifications; two simple, one less so. Shortening the pattern to ¾ length instead of full and nixing the lapels were pretty straightforward. To adjust the hem length, I hold up the paper pattern to my friend (in his glorious heeled boots) and mark where the hem needs to be, adjust for seam allowance, cut pattern down. DONE. To remove lapels, I just draw a more or less straight line from the bottom of the V where the lapel portion met the coat portion to the waistline mark. I didn’t need to adjust further because the line I used as my guide already included the seam allowance.

The sleeves would need to be changed from standard fitted to long, tapered jobs, with an open seam along the top line of the arm. Buuuuuuut I would worry about that later because I loathe sleeves. (Now you know why I was working on them as the Last Thing. Boo sleeves!)

By mid-August, I had my ducks in a row. I wrote out the steps needed to complete the costume with the corresponding dates to make sure we would finish. My due date was September 25, but my daughter showed up a full 9 days after her due date. Plus my friend would be leaving for a series of business trips then Salem on September 24.

Apparently I write “papier” when I’m thinking – my high school German teacher would be so proud.

I made up our schedule. The timing was perfect. What possibly could go awry?

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