Posts Tagged ‘costume’

Gothic Loli Dress – Dark Elegance for the Spooky Season

Today is another very special addition to our long line of Lab projects designed to push the boundaries of embroidery and the imagination of our team. This lab project is pretty special for our newest member Danielle, because everything from the embroidery to the dress to the modeling is done by Dani herself! 

Starting from the ground up with the designs, UT artist Dani took on a new project perfect for capturing not only the darker sentiments of the season but the inspirations from whole new subculture. She is the illustrator behind the darkly glam new Gothic Gala embroidery designs, and created this amazing project to show just what can be done with them. Similar to a previous October Lab where we explored the subculture of steampunk (a style has been explored often by UT stitchers) it seemed time this October to try something a little more classically gothic to suit the season. Dani is here to show off her amazing creation she designed and embroidered, and to tell us all about the Victorian-influenced style of Gothic Lolita

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“I’ve always been fascinated by the vibrant street fashion that comes out of the Harajuku district of Tokyo. It’s a fashion culture that is brimming with creativity and a certain kind of fearlessness that allows one to don giant Pikachu pajamas in public or to apply grotesque amounts of makeup or to wear the most frilly, lacy, doll-like dress you can find. There are many different subcultures that have roots in the streets of Harajuku, but the one I wish to bring to you today is Gothic Lolita.

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Gothic Lolita, sometimes abbreviated as GothLoli, is a style of the more widely recognizable Japanese fashion subculture Lolita. The original Lolita fashion is based on Victorian-era clothing, aiming for frilly blouses, cupcake-shaped petticoats, more lace than is humanly acceptable, and an air of innocence. There are many styles of Lolita, each of which have their own distinct look and take on the modern Victorian-inspired fashion. The Lolita spectrum can range from sweet pastels and stuffed animals to classic, true-to-form Victorian elegance to black upon black and dark frills that mimic the look of a nineteenth century doll.

I decided upon going the Gothic Lolita route because I felt it had the most consistency in style that would lend itself to a series of elegant gothic embroidery designs. And, with Halloween approaching, I figured I could make a kickin’ costume at the same time.

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I started with a sketch of the dress, designing some of the embroidery I knew I wanted to have featured into the sketch. It was really nice being able to design the Gothic Gala series and the dress simultaneously, as I could draw pieces to fit together in ways that I knew would be functional for this type of project.

For the Gothic Gala embroidery designs, I envisioned it with an overall gothic feel rather than an exclusively GothLoli feel that would limit the reach of the designs. Rather than drawing in the lacy, frilly elements of the dress, I kept the series more versatile without losing some of the beautiful elegance I drew from the Victorian styling of the Gothic Lolita style. I had a lot of fun piecing different parts of the series together and making them work in conjunction to one another, so that the shapes of different designs work seamlessly with one another, making the series flexible for all kinds of creations. This way, the Gothic Gala series can be used far past the realms of this subculture, perfect for any Halloween project or for that gothic project you’ve always secretly wanted.

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While incorporating the designs into the dress, I wanted the skirt to feature the cathedral and gates designs most prominently in the outer layer of the dress, forming a sort of gothic scene along the bottom as they lined up. Originally I had thought of doing an inverted bat centerpiece in the back of the dress, but then I laughed at myself and decided that I didn’t want to torment myself that much. I did end up designing the swoop of roses to line up with either side of the bat design, so the shape constructed by the two pieces complemented the shape of the dress as it opens up in the back.

Then I started the grueling process of actually making the Lolita dress. It had been several years since I had sewn anything, so I did a trial run to make sure I hadn’t forgotten how to do it. Evidently, sewing is like riding a bike, as you don’t quite forget, but you’re pretty much freaking out the whole time and you’re so very exhausted afterwards.

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There was still a lot of ripping seams and re-sewing , and I did manage to stitch several pieces of fabric together that were certainly not supposed to be stitched together. Although, the biggest hindrance to making this dress was that my cat wanted to help.

Overall, I’m really excited with how this project came out, and I’m so ready to greet Halloween in proper Gothic Lolita style!” -D

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Doesn’t this make you want to just frolic in the forest like a crafty and dark fairytale princess?

Experiments such as this help push our team of artists and designers to make better designs by remembering that these embroidery collections are meant to create projects larger than themselves. There’s nothing better to help inspire a series then by knowing it has to be something flexible and usable on a real sewing project, and these new Gothic Gala designs are sure to take you from frightful October festivities to gothic glam occasions and beyond. For some (especially those in love with offbeat subcultures), October isn’t the only time to add some bats and swirls to your life.

Still, the bright and bold autumn leaves do make a fantastic backdrop to the darker styles, and now is the perfect time of year to experiment with some darker inspirations you may not feel bold enough to try the rest of the year. As always, if you do grab the new Gothic Gala collection, be sure to share with us your dark and beautiful creations. There’s no better time to get stitching!

 
This project is part of The Lab, a UT initiative to experiment, collaborate and innovate to see just what can be done with the art of embroidery.
 
Check out our other projects by searching for the UT Lab tag.

The 20 Best UT Halloween Ideas & Inspiration

October has arrived, and it’s a popular month here at Urban Threads! We’ve loved Halloween since we started and that means there are 5 awesome years of projects, customer inspiration, Lab experiments and chic designs to get you inspired and stitching your spooky heart out. Scroll down for the top 20 BEST Halloween ideas…

Last October kicked off to a glamorous and gothic start with the Evenfall series. A collection of lace pieces that can be put together in endless ways to create magical costume creations. See the whole photoshoot and check out the collection.

Looking for some easier glam? This chic lace chandelier is a cinch to make and looks extra awesome doused in glitter. Hang a bunch to add dark romance to your next spooky gathering! Learn how to make it here.

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One of the most popular Halloween stuffies, these little Day of the Dead pincushions have been a fan fav for ages. Here’s how to make them.

One of our earliest Lab projects teamed some nature noir designs with fashion due KMK Designs for a gothic Steampunk ballgown that’s out of this world. Read about the whole project here.

Steampunk Lace Mask

Steampunk gets better with a few accessories. This mask was stitched from a lace design then brought to the next level with steampunk charms and spraypaint. See how easy it is to make here.

Sometimes the best costume ideas come by using designs in totally unexpected ways! This featured project from UT stitcher Krista turned a regular stitching wing design into a big idea. See how she made them here.

Day of the Dead Unity Candle

Halloween doesn’t just mean ghouls and goblins. Sometimes it comes with a little romance! Stitch your favorite dark design onto organza to spiff up a wedding unity candle just the way you want it. Learn how to make your candles more awesome with this tutorial. 

Lace Witch Hat

Out of time for a costume? All you need is a cool hat. Sometimes, small things can make a big impact, and this adorable lace witch hat is no exception. Stitch it out and dress it up for a custom accent that’s all you. DIY right here!

People aren’t the only ones that can benefit from a little dress up. Check out this feature on Urban Entrepreneur Cher, who runs a whole etsy store willed with dark and magical designs for dolls. Check out her amazing doll outfits and try not to wish too hard they were people sized.

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Speaking of, this one is people sized, but still a bit too darn small for me, which is a shame. Our very first Featured Project was this amazing Steampunk Alice costume. Think you can rock that dress with as much attitude as that little gal? See the whole thing and decide for yourself.

Day of the Dead Lace Mask

Dia de Los Muertos is always fun around Halloween, and it’s such an elegant way to get into the spooky side of things. This two color mask gets an easy updated with a stick and some flowers to whisk you off to masquerade majesty. Make it here.

Steamcoat detail

Go crazy using the popular steampunk trend and an upcycled a coat with all different designs using a coordinated color scheme. See the full effect on the finished coat.

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Costumes and indoor decor are a popular way to use embroidery, but don’t forget about the outdoors! Craft a spooky welcome using boas and lace to make your own custom wreath. See how easy it is.

Love tattoos but don’t want the commitment? Try them out this Halloween season with this hugely popular tutorial. See how easy it is to make them.

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Think Halloween costumes are just for kids? Get inspired by the late great Marty Gear, and see some of the amazing embroidered costumes he made over the years. You really need to read about this guy.

Monster Lights

Get creative with monster stuffies and turn them into little Halloween lights instead! Get your fright lights on with this easy tutorial.

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Have you heard about our annual costume contest? There are some really amazing entries from last years contest, like this amazing Assassin’s Creed costume. See them all here.

Feel like going all Frankenstein? Go mad and make your own Monster Factory with this set of kooky designs. Want some ideas? See what the UT team made with em!

Want to spook up the house? Craft up a bunch of these pieces and assemble them into this spooky sweet spiderweb doily. See how easy it is to make.

Finally, if in the rare chance you’re not into the mood for stitching, you can always made this adorable printable instead. It’s FREE!

Feeling inspired? Tis the season. No matter what your inclination, costume, decor, accessories and more… there’s room this weekend to try at least ONE of these ideas, right?

There’s always time for Halloween…

Urban Threads Costume Contest 2013

The embroidery machines are a-whirrin’, and a chill is in the air. October is here, and it’s time for one of our favorite contests…

The Urban Threads annual Costume Contest!

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The contest starts Tuesday, Oct. 1, and ends Nov. 1, 2013, at 11:59 p.m. Central time. Your costume can be from any time (meaning it doesn’t have to be a Halloween costume), but cannot already have been entered in a previous year’s contest.

How do you enter? Just take a photo of your awesome costume that features at least one Urban Threads embroidery design (hand or machine). Costumes may be for people or pets! You can then either email your photo to contest@urbanthreads.com, or upload it to the Urban Embroidery flickr group with the tag utcostume2013. Remember to get your photo entered before the witching hour on the day after Halloween!

We’ll choose our 10 favorites as finalists, and post those 10 to be voted on BY YOU the week after Halloween. UT stitchers will vote to see which lucky costumer wins…

A $50 Urban Threads gift certificate!

(woot!)

Looking to get inspired? Check out the amazing entries from last year.

Good luck and happy stitching! Last year was amazing, and I cannot wait to see what you cook up this time…

Featured Project – The Blue Fairy

Autumn is really starting to bloom around here, and it’s got me all excited about Halloween! Fall is my favorite season, and the array of amazing costumes it brings isone of my favorite things about it. I thought it would be perfect to kick off the costume season with a favorite costumer we’ve seen before… the amazing Urban Threadster, Azre Greis! You will probably remember her from the epic Steamwork Doll Costume, and she’s back and stitching with a vengeance. She whipped up this amazing water-themed blue fairy costume for a Ren fest she was planning to attend. She went just as crazy this time as she did last time, and the results are impressive! She joins us today to talk a little about what inspired the costume and what it was like to make…

This is an incredible costume! Talk to us a bit about what started it. Was it for an event in particular?

Thank you! Out in Texas there is a large Renaissance festival called TRF (Texas Renaissance Festival) and I really didn’t have anything good to wear out to it as the mish-mash I had worn the prior year was very disappointing. We were going to it with a friend who was renowned for her adorable fairy costume and decided we’d make costumes to go with her. I chose a water fairy because I love the water and the color blue and had blonde hair at the time so they all seemed to fit together well.

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She was very gracious and encouraged the project by asking me what kind of wings I’d like to have and made those for me along with the goggles I have on my head. TRF is typically a cold and rainy faire so the costume was made from many parts and has lots of opportunities for layering for the sake of warmth and weather compliance.

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I wanted to look like I was flowing all the time, perpetually coming up out of the water so all the fabric is very light with a lot of reflective qualities. The cape I’m wearing was actually made for by a friend vendor at another faire called Sherwood Forest who was inspired by my costume and made it just for me, even with holes for my wings to go through!

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How did you go about choosing designs? How many are on there?

I chose light designs with a lot of open space. The costume itself uses salt water animals while the cape is fresh water. Overall the costume includes about 31 embroideries.

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How long did the embroidery take?

Probably about 70 hours. I used a lot of metallic thread which always slows me down.

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How long did the whole thing take you to make? Was the costume designed by you, or was it based on a pattern?

The costume has evolved a bit over the last year or so. All told I think I put about 2 weeks of work into it. I added trims, more pearls, decorative stitching and knickknacks such as the satchel and a vial of perfume with some stones. The idea for the pants came from a genie pattern made by Simplicity, but I drastically exaggerated the drape pieces for it so that I’d get more swish when I walked.

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The top is a common blouse again from Simplicity with the rest of the sleeves cut off and a looser neck. The rest of it is just kind of slapped together from late nights and “brilliant” ideas that didn’t always work out. The two drapes on my arms were originally meant to be tight against my arm the entire way up and then in strips hanging down. I dropped that idea in favor of the loose sort of drape effect it has now for the sake of warmth.

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Did you run into any problems along the way? Any tips for people trying something like this?

Always make sure you’ve got the right stabilizer. I had to do over one of the pieces for the chest because the stabilizer I had was too lightweight and collapsed under the design. The fabric I used had a lot of stretch and needed the additional support the stabilizer granted. I also learned a lot when I did the leg pieces (organza) and used the knowledge from that to do a better job on the cape with a water soluble one side adhesive stabilizer.

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It took a really long time to properly rinse the cape so that it flowed properly, but it was worth it in the end. To anyone else doing such a thing, hang up your large project in a stand up shower, close the shower curtain and use hot water in a downward spray to get all the stabilizer out and keep it from making your ends stiff.

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How did people react to the costume and the embroidery?

The best reaction I ever got was a small boy, around 4 years old, who flew at me when we were at Sherwood. He came to a dead stop in front of me and peered, stating with great confidence, “I remember you…!” And proceeded to tell me a story about how he’d met me in the forest once the year before.

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This was impossible as the costume was new at the time, but it made me feel fantastic to know I had embodied a child’s imaginary experience and brought it to life. I’ve gotten many compliments, been mistaken for cast at two different faires (which I’d love to be one day) and it’s a fun costume to wear. It takes a lot of time to get on but it’s always worth it and it’s very comfortable to go tearing around being silly in.

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You seem to always be cooking up new costume ideas! What’s your next project going to be?

I am currently working on several new things! A Princess Toadstool from Super Mario Land (SNES), Queen Frostine from Candy Land (the board game), and Queen Zurline from The Life and Adventure of Santa Claus (a Rankin-Bass movie) as well as a new sort of barbarian costume that I plan to use a lot of Celtic or Nordic patterns you’ve got up on, I’m having trouble deciding so all the printed out pieces are pinned to the dress in various places. I’ve also done several wedding dresses using designs from Urban Threads that I hope to get some good pictures of soon once the brides have had time to settle in and pick their favourites.

I’m totally addicted to you guys!

As usual, this costume gets my gears going about this year’s Halloween costume. Slightly out of character for me, I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to be, but this certainly gets me inspired to start! What about you stitchers? Have any epic costumes in the works? Well, if it’s anything like the stunning creations from Azre Greis, be sure to drop us a line at blog@urbanthreads.com or upload your Urban Threads stuff to our flickr group so we can see what you’re stitching.

Makeup by Kristie MacLean, wings by Jenna Idaho, cape by Two Spools, and photos by Marcos Melendez. See Azre Greis’ shop here.

Featured Project – Medieval Elven Dress

It’s been a spooky and costume filled week here at Urban Threads, with our Halloween in July celebrations going on, and it seemed a great time to share this amazing embroidered costume from Urban Threadster Kaino. Kaino really wanted an excuse to whip a classic “princess dress” like many a little girl dreams of. When the Elven Court series appeared, it seemed like the time to do it!

Kaino joins us today to explain the work that went into this amazing dress from someone who has only recently learned how to sew!

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What started this project? What was the dress for?

I start this project because our association Celtic Hardt organized a Highland games contest and a medieval market, so it was a great excuse to wear a pretty dress while also advertising my work and my little home shop Kaino Art’Couture.

Plus it’s a little girl’s dream to wear a princess dress.

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How did you go about designing your dress?

I used for this dress the McCall’s costumes pattern M6376, because I’d never sewn anything like this before, and it was a big big challenge for me. The only thing I changed on the pattern was the sleeve design because it looked too simple and I wanted to repeat the black and purple colors.

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I chose for this project a purple and a black velvet, because there are my favorites colors and because it s a heavy fabrics, which have a luxurious look, but are hot, very hot in the summer! (Oh well,  it looked great)

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I also used 12 meters of little black lace on the whole dress. A friend gave me the crinoline petticoat from her wedding dress, and it gave me a simple way to have a fuller dress bottom, like a princess!

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Any challenges along the way?

Oh yes! Sewing something like this was tricky since I only started sewing in December of 2011. I made this dress in 10 days, working day and night. My husband and all my friends followed along through the steps of my work (which I posted on facebook for people to see), and that was a great support.

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Talk us through the embroidery… which designs did you use? How long did it take to embroider it all?

I had planned this project before I had any designs for it, and I saw on facebook your post for the Elven Court embroidery pack…. I fell in love and immediately purchased the pack!

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I used 3 differents designs from this pack. The Elven Court tree crest for the chest, which took about 80 mins to embroider.  The Elven Court knotwork corner I used twice in mirror at the bottom of the dress, and just the moon from the Elven Court crescent moon curve for the two handles and also, twice on the back. I used 3 different colors and even silver metallic thread for the moons, tree and knot.

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I spent one entire day embroidering the dress, but before that I tested the designs many times on some test fabrics to make sure I had made good color choices.

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How was the dress and the embroidery received?

Really really really great! Everywhere I went, both dress and embroidery designs people loved it. First on Facebook and then in real life at the medieval event. I even had some little girls saying “Mom, look a princess!”

It was amazing, and see stars in my two daughters eyes …. “Mom you look great! “

Love it :)

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Any plans for other amazing embroidered creations?

I regularly use your designs for my creations! And yes, I’m already thinking about my next big project (an Elven or faery dress), and definitely on my own wedding dress (But I have plenty of time!)

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You look so amazing and absolute thrilled in your new dress, Kaino!  You look like a real princess, and not only that, a princess who can make and embroider her own darn gown! That’s a DIY princess if I’ve ever heard of one.

I can’t wait to see what you whip up next, and what amazing stitchy creations come out of your sewing room come Halloween.

Do you want to have your project featured on StitchPunk? Drop us a line at blog@urbanthreads.com or upload your Urban Threads stuff to our flickr group!

Will The Real Sinbonnet Sue Please Stand Up?

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I’ve been saving this because it was too perfect not to post during our Halloween in July celebration/sale. Awesome Urban Threadster Chelsey dressed up perfectly as our very own Steampunk Sinbonnet Sue for the local awesome nerd convention Convergence this year (previously attended here). Seriously, the costume is dead on. How great is that?

Did we mention we have the best customers ever?

We do.

Thanks for sharing Chelsey! We ♥ you.

Featured Project – A Pair Of Wonderland Wonders

We’ve seen the fabulous work of  Judith and her daughter Freeke before, most notably on our facebook page, but when she sent us these images of two out-of-this-world Alice costumes, we knew they deserved their very own Featured Project post. After all, we’re always suckers for a new Alice project, and this time we got TWO wonderland wonders for the price of one!

Judith & her daughter are from the Netherlands, so her answers are short and sweet, but the amazing photos of these gorgeous embroidered costumes is more than enough to keep your eyes happy! Read on to learn a little about the ideas behind each Wonderland costume and the embroidery she added to them…

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What started this project? What were the costumes for?

I started the project because I saw the Wonderland designs on your page. I started searching for a reason to embroider them on something, because I liked the designs a lot! The costumes were for my daughter who was planning on wear them at am upcoming fantasy fair.

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What’s the blue Alice costume all about? What designs did you use to make it?

There was a group with who were going to do a photo shoot with, and they were discussing an Alice in Wonderland theme. That’s what started the hunt, and when I found the Wonderland embroidery designs the costume followed.

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This blue Alice costume with the rabbit ears on the hat is supposed to have the rabbit “hiding” in it. The rest is a new twist on Alice. My daughter hasn’t gotten a chance to wear it yet at the fantasy fair.

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What kinds of challenges did you face in making this costume? 

I had quite a bit of trouble making the rabbit hat. It was the first time I made a hat and I didn’t really know what materials to use!

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Tell us a little about the other Alice costume… 

The costume from this photoshoot was a ‘Black Alice’ theme because we made it around Halloween, but she wore for this photo shoot last Sunday. It ended up being sort of a wintery scene in the summer, because the Black Alice also had a hooded jacket as part of the outfit.

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What kinds of designs did you end up using on this costume?

On the apron I used a design of a raven and a chain, because it look a little boring without them. I also used the Blackthorn design pack for the Black Alice coat.

I can’t remember how long it took to embroider them, but they were easy to do. Thankfully, there weren’t many threads I needed to cut.

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How are people reacting to the costumes and all the embroidery?

I get a lot of nice replies on the embroidery designs and the costume. People are very enthusiastic about them. 

Any other fun project planned for the future?

I’m currently working on a Steampunk Geesekeeper costume for my daughters. I also would like to do a costume with the Dark Fairytales designs. I don’t know what it would be yet, but I think that they could make a very nice costume. 

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Thank you so much for sharing your amazing sewing skills Judith, and to Freeke for her awesome modeling skills. She makes a perfect Alice! I’m sure these costumes will be a hit the fantasy fair. And I know we’re all just dying to see the next costume you two dream up! I bet Halloween this year will be epic.

Do you want to have your project featured on StitchPunk? Drop us a line at blog@urbanthreads.com or upload your Urban Threads stuff to our flickr group!