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Category Archives: Lady Tremaine

Lady Tremaine at Costume College

For the red carpet and gala dinner at Costume College last week I wore my finished Lady Tremaine costume! I mostly do historical costume, but I enjoyed doing cosplay as Cinderella’s stepmother. I started this project last year, and it was So Much Work making all the layers and pieces, and cutting out and applying all the floral appliques on the bodice, skirt, and hat, but it was worth it in the end!IMG_8853IMG_8854IMG_8856IMG_8857

(You can make your own too! At the end of this post I list all the materials and tutorials for the skirts).

I’ve made a number of posts (linked at the bottom) with construction details, but a quick recap of what this costume entails:

  • sequined bodice with black flocking appliques
  • black velvet column skirt
  • overskirt with 2 layers of green satin and 2 layers of black organza, with green flocking appliques
  • giant hat with 2 layers of sinamay and 1 layer of organza, with black flocking appliques, feathers, and birds
  • giant velvet bustle pad
  • velvet scarf
  • suede gloves
  • citrine jewelry: earrings, brooch, bracelet
  • wig



My wig was a little small for my large head, but my friend Natalie still did an amazing job styling my wig! She used a large hair rat to make a big roll in the back, then did a few pincurls.  Here’s a few shots from the hotel room.IMG_8793IMG_8799IMG_8800

The earrings and brooch are vintage, while my gloves and bracelet are new.IMG_8971


When lining up for the red carpet I ran into another Lady Tremaine!IMG_8804

I didn’t have time to put in boning, and I have terrible posture, so whenever I slouched you could see the bodice wrinkling. My improvements wish list for next time are boning, maybe some black crystals around the flowers (just like the movie version), and possibly a a larger wig.

At the end of the evening I found a shoeshine stand in the hotel to sit on. I felt like a shoe advertisement. “Lady Tremaine prefers American Duchess.” (I am wearing the black tango boots).IMG_8909

I am looking forward to wearing this again!

Ok, the final tally! I normally spend about $100 per costume, but this was a very special project, with its own special budget, and not something I would make every year. Some techniques were new to me, and there was also some trial and error, with some materials purchased but ultimately not used. So here is the list (including some Amazon affiliate links)!

Main materials ($240.14 total):

  • 8 yards green crepe back satin: $23.92 (from Fabric Wholesale Direct)*
  • 10 yards black crystal organza: $19.99 (from FWD)
  • 2 yards black micro velvet: $17.98 (from FWD)
  • 2 yards silky habutai lining: $3.58 (from FWD)
  • Shipping for above: $12.95 (from FWD)
  • 2 yards sequin fabric: $29 including shipping (from Etsy)
  • 5 yards green heat-transfer flocking: $51.80 including shipping from Imprintables Warehouse
  • 2 rolls black heat transfer flocking: $31.64 (including tax from Amazon)
  • 4 yards horsehair braid: $27.41 (from Fabric Depo, a local store)
  • Vintage Pattern Lending Library basque pattern: $15 including shipping (from a Facebook destash group)
  • Green zipper: $6.87 including shipping (from eBay; I eventually got a different one from a friend but still paid for this one)

Not used ($76.80 total):

  • 5 sheets neon green flocking: $21.95 including shipping (from Etsy)
  • 10 yards black Mistyfuse:$21.85 (from Etsy and eBay)
  • 2.2 yards green felt: $33 including shipping (from Etsy)

Hat materials ($77.56 total):

Accessories, not including shoes ($70.87 total):

FINAL COST: $465.37 (holy crap)

FINAL COST – NOT USED: $388.57 (getting better)

*Fabric Wholesale Direct very kindly gave me all the satin, organza, and velvet for free in exchange for two tutorials I wrote for the velvet skirt and the overskirt so if I subtract out what they gave me  . . .

FINAL FINAL COST: $310.15 (slightly less scary, but still not a frequent endeavor)

And 40 yards of materials!

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading this monster post! Stay tuned for posts from 4 days of Costume College!

Previous posts:



Lady Tremaine’s Bodice

Costume College is in 2 days! I finished my bodice a few days ago but today was the first time I tried on all the pieces of my Lady Tremaine outfit: bodice, underskirt, overskirt, chemise, bra, waist cincher, bum pad, stockings, shoes, gloves, hat, veil, earrings, scarf, pin, and bracelet. I hope the AC is turned on at the hotel! I’m busy packing and doing other preparations so after CoCo I will make a full post about the outfit and other details.

So sparkly! (The bodice is hand-sewn because of the sequins).image

The back closes with a separating zipper. I was worried about having hooks and eyes snag on the sequins, so a friend had the genius idea of using a jacket zipper that pulls apart! The waist has some extra room in it because the two velvet waistbands for the skirts are rather thick. (The outer skirt has 2 layers of organza and 2 layers of satin pleated into the waistband, which makes it extra bulky).image

And an in-progress shot:image

See you at Costume College!

Lady Tremaine’s Hat

Today I finished my Lady Tremaine hat!


The hat is made of two layers of sinamay with one layer of organza sandwiched inside. My friend Lynne, who made my beautiful 1840s bonnet, helped greatly with the patterning of the brim and loaned me a wooden hat block.

Behold, awkward bathroom selfies!imageimage

The hat brim is bound with bias trim I made from velveteen. The same fabric is used for a band around the bottom of the crown. I upcycled the crown from a wool felt hat I no longer wanted.image

I took some liberties when it came to the exact placement of the flowers and birds, and the type of flowers. The flowers are made from heat-transfer flocking, like the flowers on my skirt.image

The only black birds I could find in the craft store were large Halloween ravens, so I bought smaller birds and spray-painted them black using Krylon Hobby/Craft paint in gloss black.

I don’t have pictures of the process, but the general steps were:

  1. Make a cardboard pattern for the brim.
  2. Cut out 2 layers of sinamay and 1 layer organza according to the brim and pin together.
  3. Sew rayon-covered millinery wire to the edge of the brim.
  4. Bind the edge of the brim with velveteen bias.
  5. Cut and apply floral appliques.
  6. Cut out center head opening and make tabs.
  7. Sew the crown to the tabs.
  8. Add grosgrain hat band to inside crown.
  9. Add velvet band outside crown.
  10. Trim with birds and feathers.

Supply costs (including Amazon affiliate links):

Total: $77.56

It’s not exactly an inexpensive hat, but much nicer than the plain black straw hats I was considering at first, and much cheaper than the $300 Kentucky Derby hats I kept seeing when searching for large sinamay hats!

I look forward to wearing this hat with the rest of my Lady Tremaine ensemble at Costume College this year.

Lady Tremaine and Cinderella Costumes at FIDM

I haven’t been able to personally visit the current FIDM exhibit of the Oscar-nominated films, which includes costumes from Cinderella! I hoped someone would post detailed pictures of Lady Tremaine’s traveling outfit, because I have been wanting a close-up of the seams to help me with my own project.

Lucky me, wishes do come true. Many wonderful pictures have been posted at the Hollywood Movie Costume Blog, and you should definitely check them out!  Jason, the owner of the blog, has graciously allowed me to repost some of the pictures here.

All pictures below are from and belong to the Hollywood Movie Costume Blog; please do not repost without permission from Jason Morgan.

Here is a front view of the bodice. I have been looking but haven’t been able to find any front bodice seams in any of my previous research. I still do not see it here, and based on the puckering I am starting to suspect there are none.

One interesting detail I had not noticed before is the horizontal seam in the elbow of the sleeve. I presume it is to allow for some ease of movement since the sleeve is tightly fitted, however that means if you look carefully the pattern does not match.lady tremaine hat Cinderella costume

Here is a great shot of Lady Tremaine’s hat and veil; you can see it is translucent. There appears to be some padding in the shoulders of the bodice to make it stand out a bit. The elbow seam is more obvious here.Cinderella lady tremaine costume

This back view shows that the bodice opens in the back. There is one long seam down the center back, possibly closed with hooks and eyes or a hidden zipper?Cinderella movie hats

Please take a look at the Hollywood Movie Costume Blog for additional photos. I will also be updating my costume analysis page with these photos!

Lady Tremaine (Part 4)

At long last the skirt for my Lady Tremaine outfit is done! I’ll post a tutorial for the under and overskirts later, but for now here are some pictures of the two together.

First is a side view. I stuffed a pillow under the skirt for the photos, but later I will be making a small bustle pad specific for this outfit.


Here is a view showing the open front with the black velvet underskirt.IMG_6139

And a view from the back.IMG_6125

I took some liberties with the flowers. I used a lot of poppies and leafy sprigs, while Lady Tremaine’s skirt has more abstract flowers and vines.IMG_6126IMG_6127

Since the skirt is open in the front, I put the closures on the side. The skirt is pleated into a velvet waistband made from the same fabric as the underskirt, and closes above the hip with some heavy duty hooks and eyes.IMG_6144

If you’ve been following the story, getting the material for the appliques was quite the saga!

  1. Supplier #1 sent me a bright neon green flocking material, when I wanted chartreuse. I couldn’t find chartreuse flocking anywhere, so I switched to wool-blend felt.
  2. Supplier #2 had to send me felt swatches twice, after the first set got lost in the mail.
  3. After I received the swatches, Supplier #2 said they didn’t have the full amount of chartreuse felt I wanted.
  4. I felt the felt (ha!) I did get in the end didn’t cut cleanly enough for the flowers to have neat edges, so I went back to flocking.
  5. I took a gamble on Supplier #3, where I bought a roll of flocking. Despite being labeled “green,” it was a little too yellow for me, but still better than the bright neon green I got at first.

I would have preferred a color in between the two below, but the bottom is still closer to what I wanted.


I used a Silhouette machine to cut the outlines of the appliques, then used a little hook and spatula to weed out the excess material (which took a really, really long time). What is left behind is velvety flocking on one side (and attached to a plastic backing sheet), while the other side has a heat-sensitive adhesive that melts into the fabric.IMG_5977

This was probably the most terrifying project I’ve done! The iron had to be hot enough to fuse the flocking, but not so hot it would melt the organza. I had to make sure the adhesive didn’t bleed through the organza into something else underneath, so I had to protect the areas around and beneath the applique with plenty of parchment paper.

Heat-transfer flocking is best done with a large heat press, but I used an iron. I had a little bit of puckering in some areas, but I think the iron gave me more control, especially over the small detailed areas, even though it took longer!

For the bodice I will be using black heat transfer flocking, which is luckily much easier to find. However, I’ll have to experiment again with the temperature sweet spot that will fuse flocking to sequins without melting them.

Read parts 1, 2, and 3 here.

Lady Tremaine (Part 3)

I am done with the base of the green and black overskirt, and am about ready to start making and attaching the floral appliques to my Lady Tremaine traveling outfit. Last night I wore the skirt (and the velvet underskirt from Part 2) with a matching green and black witch hat and veil to the Gaskell Halloween Ball.

IMG_5847 IMG_5848

The satin portion is 2 layers of satin fabric, flat-lined for extra drape. Sandwiched in between the layers is a 6-inch wide band of horsehair crinoline sewn into the hem to give it more body. The crinoline actually cost more per yard than the fabric (and it doesn’t even show!), but it gave the hem the slight pop that I wanted. The sheer portion is 2 layers of organza, with an extra wide seam allowance at the bottom to form a black decorative band. The black and green portions were sewn separately, and then serged together at the top and pleated as one. I don’t do anything fancy; I just “eyeball” it and decide it’s even enough. =)


The waistband is velvet with heavy interfacing inside, to blend in with the velvet underskirt. The waistband closes with hooks and eyes on the side of the skirt near one hip.

I waffled back and forth between knife and cartridge pleats a few times. At first I intended to knife-pleat, since the movie skirt appears to have simple pleats. However, when I started that I realized my fabric was so bulky it was better to cartridge pleat. Then when considering cartridge-pleating 4 yards of 4 layers of fabric into a 14-inch area, I started thinking “Gee, I wish I used taffeta instead!” (Taffeta is so much thinner than the 2 layers of satin I’m using, but I decided to go with satin because I wanted a heavier drape and liquid-like flow, like the satin of Lady Tremaine’s ballgown, shown below).

Cinderella stepmother Ball gownPhoto from this blog.

In the end, I had to use knife-pleats, even though my waistband was a little bulky, because the skirt would have been much too short if I folded over the top edge to allow for cartridge-pleating.

For practical reasons my skirt is shorter than the movie version. I will be roaming around Costume College next year in this dress, and don’t want to trip because I am clumsy. Plus, trains get terribly dirty, and I can’t do a dust ruffle because it would show in the front. I am glad I made the choice to make a shorter skirt, because I was able to dance in this outfit. I loved the way the skirt swirled when I spun!


Lady Tremaine Costume (Part 2)

I’ve made some progress on the Lady Tremaine costume by finishing the black velvet underskirt. It is just a simple column skirt, so it didn’t require a pattern. (You can find basic drafting instructions here). I started sewing the green and black overskirt, but have been stalled a few times by a comedy of errors (more on that below).

Photo AI have the overskirt cut out and partially sewn. I am using 8 yards of green satin and 10 yards of black organza. I am putting two layers of organza over the satin, since one layer is too sheer.

IMG_5607Here is the crazy apple green sequined fabric I’m using for the bodice! I am almost afraid to cut into it.


I received the Vintage Pattern Lending Library basque pattern I am going to adapt for the bodice.


I threw everything on my dress form to see how the colors work together but I’m missing the supplies for the floral appliques.


I’ve had a few sewing hiccups recently that conspired to prevent progress. Some problems have been resolved, and some are ongoing.

  1. The foot pedal on my vintage sewing machine started crackling so I had to stop using it. I found and purchased a replacement, and now I no longer hear scary electric noises!
  2. My fabric wasn’t feeding correctly and the thread kept snapping, and eventually I realized the feed dogs had collapsed. I opened the machine and tightened things up the other night, and now it’s running smoothly again.
  3. I planned to use iron-on flocking for the floral appliques on the skirt. I thought it was a great way to save time, and avoid the fraying that would come from velvet. Unfortunately, the “chartreuse” flocking I ordered turned out to be a very bright and unflattering neon green, so I had to scrap that idea.
  4. I settled on using wool felt for the appliques but decided to ask for swatches this time to make sure I could find the right color. It’s been 2 weeks and I haven’t received them. The shop says they were shipped, but if so I fear they have been lost.
  5. Meanwhile, I went on the hunt for very thin black double-sided fusible interfacing by the yard to apply the wool to the sheer organza. It was easy to find single-sided, or pre-cut sheets, but not something that fit all my criteria. I finally found and ordered some, but the shop later emailed me to say they only had part of my order in stock, and asked if they could send me white instead of black! Now I will have to make a second order somewhere else and pay for shipping again.
  6. It would have been nice to avoid some of these problems by buying in person, but I am looking for very specific supplies that aren’t always available locally. Plus I work full time and have a toddler so shopping online is blessing (and just plain fun).
  7. I decided to add some body to the hem of the green layer of overskirt by adding in horsehair braid. I did find that at a nearby shop, but they had 6 inch instead of 3 inch, which cost more per yard than the satin it is going to hide inside, but the skirt won’t look right without it.

This project keeps accumulating miscellaneous expenses, but I am still quite excited and hope it will be worth it in the end!

Read my previous post with my costume analysis here.

Costume Analysis: Lady Tremaine (Cinderella’s Stepmother)

My next big project is making one of Lady Tremaine’s outfits from the live action Cinderella movie. I love the dress she wears when she first arrives. Isn’t it fabulous? I have been spending many hours to trying to figure out the details and source the materials.

Lady_Tremaine_with_her_daughtersHere’s a movie clip. Don’t you love the way the dress flows?

Her outfit consists of 3 main parts: the chartreuse green/black bodice, the black underskirt, and the green and black overskirt. The underskirt is easy enough to figure out; from the video and promotional photos you can see it is a tight black velvet column skirt with a slit in the back. The bodice and overskirt took a lot more research (aka Googling photos, rewatching the Youtube clip over and over, and buying a doll).

The narrow underskirt with a full skirt and tight bodice is a silhouette that appears in many of her outfits, such as this one, this one, this one, and this one. (The last shows that the overskirt is pleated).

The bodice looks yellow in some photos, and even some websites refer to it as yellow. However, Sandy Powell’s sketch is green, and the official doll has a green bodice.

960x540IMG_5657In the end I decided the bodice is a chartreuse that looks yellow in certain light. I found a lovely high-res still here, which made me realize that the bodice isn’t just sparkly, it is sequined! (I highly encourage you to see the full-sized photo to appreciate the details). The sequined fabric is then covered with black velvety flowers. I quickly realized that finding a flocked sequined fabric is very, very hard, unless you like cheetah print. I briefly considered using a flocked damask, but that is not at all like Lady Tremaine’s fabric. That means I have to make my own by applying appliques to sequined fabric.

The sequins are also arranged in neat rows, and each one is quite small and flat. It is easy to find the large, randomly arranged beveled sequins when shopping for sequined fabric, but maddeningly difficult to find something that doesn’t look like a Vegas showgirl costume.  Many times I would find the right color, but not the right size sequin, or the right arrangement, but not the right color. I finally had to make a special request of a shop located in India to get something close.

Cate Blanchett is the Stepmother in Disney's live-action feature CINDERELLA, directed by Kennth Branagh.

The overskirt consists of multiple layers. There is a green base fabric (which could be silk satin or taffeta) that is covered by a layer of black organza, which is decorated with beautiful chartreuse flowers. (It reminds me of a gorgeous chartreuse gaufraged velvet I found years ago at a store that is now out of business, but alas it was $100/yard). There is a black border across the bottom that I think is just the organza folded over and appearing darker, and it appears that the organza and green fabric are flat-lined together.  I can see a glimpse of some green fabric at her hem so there is possibly a green skirt beneath the green/black floral skirt, or perhaps the organza and green base fabric aren’t flat-lined together after all.

IMG_5644Since buying the perfect flocked organza or velvet burnout fabric is impossible, I will have to cut and apply the appliques myself. Madness!

I do not know what the inside of the overskirt looks like, but based on the hint of green seen in the hem I think that the inside is also green, instead of being lined with black organza. Given the yardage required, double-faced silk satin is a little out of my budget, so I am going to use 2 layers of regular satin.

The way the doll’s clothing is constructed might give some clues. There is only one layer of green satin, a layer of organza with velvet flowers, then a final layer of organza on top of that.

IMG_5658Obviously, some sacrifices in the construction had to be made for the doll, but I found it interesting that there is a top layer of organza over the flocked layer, whereas I can’t see one in the film. (Perhaps I might end up using 2 layers of organza anyway if one layer doesn’t look dark enough over the green but I’m not sure about covering the appliques unless they turn out too brightly neon).

This picture taken by Maison Mouse shows that the skirt is cut so full it wraps around the front a bit, even though the pleating or gathering ends at the sides of the hips.


In this screenshot I took of the film clip you can see the silhouette from the side. I’m not sure how much of it is due to the fullness caused by the pleating in the back, or if that is a small bum pad under the skirts, but that is something I will have to experiment with as well.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 9.06.11 PMLady Tremaine’s accessories can be seen clearly in the high-res photo linked earlier: she wears a pair of black suede gloves; a black velvet scarf; gold and citrine brooch, earrings, and bracelet; a veil; black and green high-heeled boots; and a dramatic hat. The hat is semi-transparent and decorated with birds and flowers. The hat that came with the doll is a nice reproduction!

IMG_5654Getting 100% screen accurate will be impossible, especially because of the appliques and exquisite details, but I am aiming to get a costume that is recognizable, even if I have to take some small shortcuts. This project is going to be a lot of work, but it will be a great learning experience. So far I have 22 yards of fabric, and I am not done buying!


I have found more photos of the bodice seams, courtesy of the Hollywood Movie Costume Blog!

Please see my new post to see details about the back and interesting elbow seam:

A preview here:

Cinderella lady tremaine costume

Photo courtesy of Jason Morgan of the Hollywood Movie Costume Blog.