Cosplay/Halloween Japanese Lolita Dress

October is such a fun and busy month! I can never decide which I love more – the dressing up, the candies, the fall/Halloween decor, the change of colors in the scenery, or the fresh cool crisp air after a long hot summer. Every year, I say I’m going to decorate the house with all things fall and Halloween on October 1st and then things just somehow start happening… One of those things is the choosing of the costumes – see, when the kids are little you can dress them up in whatever costume you want – kind of like you’re really expressing yourself vicariously through the little people but as they get older they got their own ideas of what’s cool and what’s awesome. They want to express themselves which is totally fine by me. 

It’s really needing a tulle petticoat but let’s see if I’ll have time to make one after the soldier costume. Eek!
Madeline just turned 3 and she could care less if she was wearing a potato sack so I gave Logan some creative decision making this year for Madeline because I thought it’d be fun for a big brother to get to choose something cute for his little sister. He decided he wanted to be a princess since he had chosen to dress up as a prince. And me being the overthinker that I am, I literally did a little presentation for him showing him different styles of princely attire from the 1600s to Disney’s dashing princes. He said nope to every single one. Finally, I handed him a sewing pattern book and told him to pick something out. In less than a minute, he points out what looked like a traditional soldier uniform costume from the 1700s.

I drew several options to choose from after my research and he ended up picking out details from each picture! Frankenstein uniform haha!

“Logan, you know that’s a soldier costume and not a prince right?” To which he murmured nonchalantly with a “I like this one”. Ok, fine. Let’ just move onto the color.

We found some stretch red velvet $4 a yard – her princess dress and his prince’s jacket would use up at least 3 yards. Now I’m calculating the cost of the main fabric as well as the trims, the pants, and something for his Revolutionary soldier boots. So I’m watching and waiting like a tiger in the bushes to pounce on the beautiful red velvet when it goes on sale but sadly it didn’t and I’m pressed for time. Finally, I go to my stash closet and found this 3 or so yard of sky blue cotton fabric with rabbits, squirrels, abstract trees, and leaves….a busy little fabric that I’d bought at Aeon mall in Okinawa a few years ago. Ok, have you ever held a piece of fabric in your hands and suddenly fantastic visions just flash before your eyes? My visions said to me, “You will make a Japanese Lolita dress with puffy sleeves, layers of gathered skirts, ruching, more gathers all over and lots and lots of bows!” I got to sketching, drafting, and then sewing. I must admit, I have this habit of changing things along the way. Things look different in real life than in the sketches but I think the changes made the details in the dress pop. 

The original sketch.

I ended up shortening the under skirt and adding another band of gathers. The upper skirt got another 2” of ruching and originally I had the bows placed on the rushing in self fabric but after I had made the blue bows changed my mind and switched them with white bows. The blue bows got placed on the center front neck and on the sleeves and one made into a barrette. There was supposed to be gigantic bow to go on the front at the waist but I ended up replacing it with lots of smaller bows. 

Playing around with the neck band and the neck gathers.

I was also going to have white long fleece sleeves attached to the short puffy sleeves since it was freezing cold last year but it’s been in the 60s-70s. The weather truly is fickle or is it because I’m prepared? Lol. I ended up making both a light long sleeve t-shirt and a fleece sweater that Madeline can wear underneath based on the temperature. Bring it, Weather, I’m ready! The super good news is I’ll be posting the free printable pattern for the long sleeve t-shirt and the sweater here! So be sure to be on the lookout for that. 

Ok, I’m off to work on the Revolutionary soldier, and yes it’s cutting it so close since the Halloween festivities in town begin on the 27th. Oh well. Hopefully, I’ll be better prepared next year. Hopefully.

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