Friday, February 8, 2019

My Harry Potter Witch Costume!

When my son Judah decided to be a 1st year Hogwarts student for Halloween I started thinking about how fun it would be to make a set of witch robes for myself. However, I didn't know if I would have the time. I initially thought I'd just make a version of the stereotypical pointy witch hat but I loved the finished hat so much I decided I really needed to find the time to make robes to go with it!

Is this how magical moms would have dealt with an unruly child?
Doubt it, but it was fun having a pretend duel. :D
Like with all the kids costumes, I didn't want to spend much on making something new. I ended up buying just one thing for this project; a large silky sheet from Goodwill, that cost a whole $3 and came with two matching pillowcases. Oh, and I did buy two cards of sparkly buttons from Wal Mart. 😁

But first, the hat! I absolutely adore how my hat came out and if I could get away with wearing it as a regular part of my everyday wardrobe I definitely would. (And honestly, nothing keeps me from this except my own irrational feeling of needing to conform, at least somewhat, to what society considers "normal". . .😩) 

I used this tutorial to create my pattern for the hat. While a witch hat isn't difficult, it's always nice to have something to go off of for a first attempt! This style hat has a full circle for the brim, with the inner circumference equaling the circumference of your head. The top portion is a cone shape, with the bottom of the cone equaling your head circumference. Seam allowances all have to be added, of course! 

For the outer portion of the hat as well as the underside of the brim I used the same black wool I used for my cloak. I didn't have any interfacing so I interlined the brim and cone with a layer of cotton canvas and a soft layer of pink wool flannel. This gives the hat some structure and softness. I did end up sewing some wire into the outer edge of the brim so I could shape it. It was fairly floppy otherwise! The cone is lined with some cotton scrap material, and I added a black taffeta band around the inside of the crown to hide the lining from view when the hat is worn.

I didn't plan to trim the hat but I had one little scrap of taffeta left over and it was just exactly the right length to twist around the crown. I secured it in place with a few stitches. It looked a bit stark, so when I remembered I had a piece of black silk gauze left from my 1860's bonnet veil I pulled it out and decided it was just what the hat needed. Using the tutorial from The American Duchess Guide I stitched the bit of gauze on to make a swirly, poofy mass. With a little brim shaping the hat was done!

Now it was time to create a pretty witch robe. For this, I decided to try to go with something that is similar to the style and colors I wear in everyday life. I basically asked myself, "who would I be, if I was me in the Harry Potter world?" and went from there. I was not going to try to make any specific outfit depicted in either the book or movies but to go for a generic witch costume. A witch mom, if you will. 😁 

So when I found the sheet and pillowcase set at Goodwill I knew that I had exactly what I needed for my robe. There was plenty of material in the queen size sheet and each pillow case contained more than enough material for the sleeves. (In fact, in the end I did not even have to use the pillowcases! So now they are being used as, yes, pillowcases.) 

The sheet fabric is super lightweight and I needed to add something more drapey and heavy to give it the right flowy look. I pulled another old sheet from my stash (I keep a bunch on hand to make mock ups) and used that for lining. I wanted something prettier to line the sleeves and hood with since that would be seen so I got out a tablecloth my mom gave me and loved how the texture and color of it worked with the main fabric. 

I had a few ideas for the actual cut of the robe. I sketched out some designs and waffled between a glorified choir-robe design and a sleeker, more elvishy tunic. What would a witch mom have worn? Would a robe be like an outer garment or more like a dress? What do you wear beneath a robe? Will it look weird having a hood since I'm going to be wearing a hat? How does it close? How long should a robe be? 

I tried to remember all I had read about robes in the books. The movie versions not so much, since, of course, movie costumes are someone elses interpretation of the original descriptions. I decided that it would be truest to the books to have a long, loose, sweeping robe. Robes are described often as being colorful or eccentric; something that definitely stands out in a Muggle world! My sheet and it's colors and pattern took care of that aspect for me, ha. I didn't want any trailing hems (moms need to be practical, after all) or long sleeves that made using my hands difficult but I did make the robe to go to just above the ground and the sleeves, while pulled up and practical in the front, are long and dramatic at the back. 

I was going to use the same pattern for my robe as I did for Judah's, at least to start with, but then thought a robe fitted through the shoulders and upper chest may look better, more adult and feminine, than the loose and boxy robe worn by students. I pulled out my Scroop Otari Hoodie pattern  and traced off the size above the one I normally wear. From the armpits down, I angled out the side seams, lengthening them to hit my desired measurement. I used the awesome pointed hood included in the pattern and added length and width to the bottom of the sleeve pattern to make mine. 

It sewed up very quickly. To keep the layers from shifting I hand topstitched around the edges. Then, I  had to figure out how to close the robe. I wanted a pretty clasp of some kind but no where around here has anything like that and I had no time to order anything in. I found some sparkly buttons at Wal Mart so sewed two of them to the fastening point at the front, and added a hidden hook and eye on the underside to actually close the robe. The other two buttons were the perfect addition to the sleeves. For another fun, eccentric touch I made a super long skinny scarf from some awesome old curtain panels I've been keeping for the past at least 10 years. Since my robe style necessitated wearing something beneath, I pulled out my Christmas dress from last year, a pretty, simple, tunic style green silk dress with gold and brown embroidery on the sleeves and neckline. It was a great match for the robe! Last, I made a quick necklace with a large pendant I had had for a while and never used. I threaded some blue elastic through it and sewed a hook and eye to the ends to fasten. Now my costume was complete!

On the day of our first Halloween outing I wore my blue Arenite pants underneath, some sparkly gold ballet flats and brought along my 18th century mitts to wear (it was chilly!) I loved wearing this costume and look forward to wearing it again, even if it is only for future Halloweens!