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Queen of Hearts – Simplicity 2325

I realize it’s a bit late to go on about a Halloween costume however I spent SO much time on this one, I can’t bear not to post about it. I’m quite limited on spare time these days (I bring it on myself) so partly I’m posting about it because I’m trying to catch up on my blog posts and partly because if I ever get some crazy idea to tackle this project again, I can look back on this post for some notes.  And hopefully it’ll jog my memory as to why I don’t actually want to make it again!  Warning:  This is a rather long-ish post.

On with the details of the project.  Mini-sewer insisted she wanted to go as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.  “Not the Disney one, the one we saw at the movie theatre.”, which translates to the Tim Burton version.  Who can blame her really – the costumes were amazing!  So I pulled this picture from the internet as my inspiration and starting point:

Borrowed from Google Images.

Borrowed from Google Images.

I’ve never been one to reinvent the wheel so off I went in search of a pattern that I could manipulate into an appropriate dress.  Well, lucky me, Simplicity has the pattern for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland Queen of Hearts costume.  Plus, it came with the Alice costume as well so you know, who could resist a deal like that?  Two costumes in one!  And the bonus?  It came in children’s sizes!  Sold!


Except they were out of stock for the children’s sizes.  So I bought the smallest size they had and made the necessary adjustments, which wasn’t a lot because she can get away with wearing extra-small tops in Miss sizes so it was just a matter of shortening the length of the skirt and the sleeves.  Yeah, I know, you’d think that was the brutal part but it wasn’t.  This puppy took about 8 (even slightly more) yards of fabric and that accounts for the adjustments I made to the pattern.  If there weren’t any adjustments, it would have taken over 10 yards.  I spent much of my time at the sewing machine battling the heaps of fabric while I was trying to sew.


Have I mention the 17 pattern pieces and 40 instruction steps for the dress yet?  It was like a minor form of sewing torture.

SO many pieces to this pattern!

SO many pieces to this pattern!

I opted not to spend lots of time on the details.  After all, this was just a Halloween costume for a 10 year old that would be worn once and never looked at again by her.  How much time did I really want to spend on this costume?  Check out the list of all the additional notions for the details for Dress A:


Isn’t that amazing?!  So I traded the yards of novelty braid and whatever else for some gold and red ribbon and applique hearts instead.  Mini-sewer was happy to have sparkly gold ribbon and the hearts so it was a win-win.

So, there’s a few things that I wish I’d done differently.  If only I’d read the instructions before tackling the project and if only I’d had the time to stop and think it through.  Did you notice the contrast fabric on the front that is a white floral on the pattern cover?  Well that piece is an overlay on the actual dress and after completing the dress, I really can’t figure out why.

The amount of gathers & the 2 layers of fabric made a whole lot of skirt.

The amount of gathers & the 2 layers of fabric made a whole lot of skirt.

If I could do it all over again, I would have made that piece a single layer.  The double-layer added a lot of bulk and was a nightmare to work with when sewing on the appliqued hearts (I gave up after 1 because I ran out of time).  So I would have cut away the amount of the overlay pieces from the dress pieces and then joined the overlay pieces of fabric with the dress to make it a part of the overall dress.  (It’s late & I’m not sure that last part made any sense at all so apologies if it doesn’t.)

Now, let’s talk about the collar.  Personally, I think the collar practically makes the costume.  The pattern calls for a medium-weight fusible interfacing for it and since I avoid using fusible, I opted for the sew-in.  I was concerned at the time the medium-weight would break down rather quickly and that beautiful bold collar that stood up so nicely would wind up losing its mojo at some point.  And sure enough, it did.  By the time Mini-sewer got back from school, that collar was lying as limp as a wilting flower.  *sigh*  I had a “I knew I should have!” moment because I had thought about using a much stiffer alternative but in my urgency to finish the project (and I admit to being super sick of seeing black and red by the time I got to the collar) I brushed off my concern and went on with using the medium-weight.  Here’s the collar before the costume was worn:

A happy collar.

A happy collar.

And here’s the collar after:


Sad, really.

As I mentioned earlier, I opted to forgo the braid and chains and whatever else the pattern called for in order to simplify the costume.  I was originally just going to go with the hearts but it seemed a little boring so found some gold and red ribbon to go with it.  I used Heat & Bond to attach the narrow gold ribbon to the wider red ribbon, which was a huge success because it took very little time to do, and then I just stitched the red ribbon to the dress.


Did I mention there’s exactly 80 appliqued hearts on the dress?  No?  Well there is.  80!

Front View

I found a picture of a heart on the internet that I like, printed out a few copies.  I then ironed the fabric to the Heat & Bond and used my rotary cutter to cut all 80 of them out.


I had every intention to finish them by going around each of them with the applique stitch on my machine to sew around the edges but I ran out of time.  But it worked out okay because they held up really well.  Far better than the collar did.  If I decide to give the costume any more attention, I’ll redo the collar and applique-stitch around the hearts.  Probably that’s never going to happen though.  Just sayin’.

In all honesty, it would be a great costume to use in a play or for someone who is really, really into Halloween.  Since I’m not a big fan of Halloween, my heart wasn’t really in the project and before I was even halfway through, I couldn’t wait to be finished so I could move onto something else.  Nothing good ever comes from that.

Side View

Since I opted for cheap cotton/polyester broadcloth and omitted most of the details, the project only came to about $55.  Which may seem like a lot for a costume that will most likely only ever be worn once but whatever.  It is what it is.  And Mr SA and I looked around the stores to see if we could find a Q of H costume for any less and the only ones we could find were for woman and that due to the lack of fabric were inappropriate for a 10 year old to wear. (Seriously, what is up with that?!  I don’t recall ever seeing the Q of H wearing a dress with dropped shoulders, a low-cut top and a super-mini mini skirt but alas, I digress.)

Back View

When I look back on the time I put into it, I almost want to shed a small tear.  I lost track of how many hours it took me to make it – definitely close to 30 would be my best guess.  But it gave me great joy and satisfaction to see how happy Mini-sewer was to wear it to school on Halloween day so it was all worth it.

Now, back to some selfish sewing!

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