For Halloween I made myself a Victorian/Edwardian-inspired mashup witch costume. I got large amounts of sari fabrics rather cheaply from a local person after they were used as party decorations, and even after distributing most of it to friends I still had a lot left over, and decided they were perfect for a bright Halloween witch. Since this was a costume I didn’t worry about combining details from various decades.
The skirt is a basic pleated two-panel skirt with seams on the sides. One seam has a pocket and the other has an invisible zipper. Since the sari is thin and I had so much of it I flat-lined it with more of the same.
The blouse and vest patterns are both from Black Snail Patterns on Etsy. They are the 1890s Late Victorian Day Blouse/Bodice and 1890s Edwardian Ladies’ Vest. Because this was meant to be a Halloween costume I took a “theatrical” approach to the construction and skipped a lot of the detailed and historically accurate instructions in the patterns such as creating facings, boning, etc. so I cannot comment on those. As usual, I did find the pattern pieces to be well-drafted and needed very little adjustment. My biggest cheat is I sewed the sleeves from the blouse pattern directly to the vest to make one garment. This saved me a lot of time, and also made the costume less warm with less layers!
Instead of making lots of buttonholes for my small gold buttons I did hidden hooks and bars down the front of the bodice and the buttons are decorative.
The belt is made from a scrap of the green sari fabric, paired with a vintage belt buckle. The buckle is actually plastic painted gold but looks pretty good from a distance!
The green pleated grosgrain trim was purchased pre-made from Amazon (affiliate link) and comes in other colors. I used the olive color this time but you may recognize that I used a baby blue version for my pink striped bustle dress!
The hat was made using my own pattern for a Professor McGonagall-inspired deerstalker witch hat, and you can find the instructions on a previous post.
I’m afraid I didn’t do a great job tracking the yardage since I had basically unlimited fabric, but I would estimate that I used 3 orange saris (since everything was 2 layers) and one green one. The saris I got were used and pre-cut and were 3-5 meters each. Thus, my rough estimates for project costs are as follows:
- 4 saris: ~$20 (yeah I got a great deal!)
- 25 yard roll of pleated grosgrain trim: $9.50 from Amazon, and I have a lot left. (The trim usually runs about $40 a roll but I’ve bought other colors through random price drops).
- Gold buttons: free from a friend
- Vintage buckle: ~$10? (I don’t remember).
- Thread, hooks and eyes, collar interfacing, lining: ~$5 (stash and scraps from other projects)
- Bodice pattern: $8.60
- Vest pattern: $7.37
- Printing costs: $5.56 plus shipping (I had my A0 patterns printed by PDFplotting.com and the shipping was bundled with other things)
Total: ~$45 for materials and ~$25 for patterns I will reuse
Some final thoughts:
This project was all polyester. The fabric was pretty enough it didn’t “matter” if it was silk and I hope this a reminder that costumes don’t need to be expensive.
Did you notice that I pleated the front of the skirt differently than I did the back? I didn’t until I put the waistband and zipper on, and I didn’t care to redo it! Here’s a reminder that maybe “mistakes” aren’t really that big of a deal and probably most people won’t notice.
I did some cheats to simplify construction. What works for you is what works for you, whether it is historically accurate, historically appropriate, historically adequate, or historically adjacent!
Thank you for reading!
My necklace is antique glass and brass from the 1930s and my shoes are from American Duchess.