"IT'S JUST A BUNCH OF HOCUS POCUS!" - WINIFRED SANDERSON, HOCUS POCUS (1993)
Lace top: Iris
I was 10 years old when Hocus Pocus came out, and I still remember going to the theater to see it and staring at the fabulous marquee of Sarah, Mary, and my personal favorite, Winifred Sanderson. I've grown up loving everything about this film, and jumped at the chance to sew up my own version of Winifred's bewitching ensemble for Wild Seeds while I wait anxiously to watch the new Hocus Pocus 2!
Photo from The Art of Disney Costuming
As with almost any project, I started with a sketch and considered which Wild Seeds patterns I could use to mash and modify for my desired look. I debated for a while about just making Winifred's robe part of my dress, but ultimately decided to make 3 separate pieces: dress, undershirt, and robe.
I had to use my imagination while planning Winifred's dress, as much of it is hidden under her robe in the movie. I did lots of "research" as well, to try to see it from different angles (watching Hocus Pocus on repeat... specifically "I Put a Spell on You"... counts as research, right?). I decided to pair some simple solid colors with the inset placket, sleeveless pointed bodice, and maxi options from the new Daphne pattern. I also added criss crossed gold ribbon to the placket to mimic the gold laces from the movie. (Using a glue stick to hold those gold ribbons in place for topstitching was a life saver!)
I used the length measurement from the Daphne maxi, and because my fabric was somewhat thin, I used the full width of the fabric for my skirt pieces. The only modification I made was to colorblock the skirt to give it the purple center seen on Winifred's dress. I cut the front skirt up the center and added a purple panel, 10" wide by the length of the skirt (you can use whatever width you like, but I suggest at least three times the width of the bodice placket, or more if your fabric is thin like mine was). I sewed the 3 front skirt pieces together with French seams for a nice clean finish, and then sewed the skirt side seams in the same manner.
Winifred's colorblocked skirt ready to be cut and sewn.
When gathering the skirt, I aligned and pinned the seams of both purple sections to ensure that the purple would flow nicely from the bodice down through the skirt.
In the movie, Winifred has so many gorgeous layers of fabric flowing from her gown, but for this project, I decided to keep it simple and just add one extra layer as an underskirt. I love a good pop of red, and since red can be seen when Winifred is dancing around, casting a spell on the parents of Salem, I decided to go for that. Plus, I knew I had a piece of thrifted red fabric in my stash, so it worked out perfectly!
My fabric happened to be just a touch shorter than the Daphne maxi length skirt, so I simply cut it in half to create my front and back skirt. I used the solid wrong side of the fabric as my main. I then gathered both my top skirt and under skirt separately and attached them to the same placket (I should have reversed these steps but sometimes I am just too impatient and have to see the effect of those gathers!).
I chose to leave the hem raw for the time being, since the dress in the movie looks to be somewhat ragged from dragging on the ground.
Finished dress with raw hem and Bluebell leggings underneath in place of Winifred's striped stockings.
On to the undershirt. This was my way of recreating the purple lace sleeves that can be seen when Winifred raises her arms. I struggled to find purple stretch lace, so I bought some in white and dyed it purple.
I used Rit liquid dye for this project.
I used my newly purple lace to sew up an Iris crop top, only modifying the ends of the sleeves. Rather than cutting the sleeve off at the wrist like the pattern piece, I extended it several inches beyond that. I clipped the sleeve seam together and slipped the sleeve onto my daughter's arm. With a removable fabric marker, I marked about 3/4" onto my daughter's middle finger, and then drew a gently curved line back to the side of her wrist. I unclipped the sleeve and folded it in half, cutting along the curved line.
After sewing the sleeve seam (using French seams for a cleaner finish), I turned the slightly curved edges of the opening in 1/4" two times and edge stitched. Then I grabbed some 1/4" elastic from my stash and wrapped it around my daughter's finger. I added in seam allowance, cut 2 pieces, and overlapped and hand-sewed the ends to create 2 loops.
One elastic loop sewn and the other ready to be sewn.
I put one elastic loop over the point at the end of each sleeve, and then folded the points under two times and sewed to secure (I did a few hand-stitches first, and then took them to my machine to reinforce). I completed the rest of the crop top construction according to the Iris tutorial, except that I again used French seams so all raw edges of the stretch lace would be hidden.
Finally, I had to tackle Winifred's trademark green velvet robe. I knew I had at least a couple yards of green stretch crushed velvet in my stash, so I decided on Heather for a simple knit bodice. That bodice would be attached to a Garance skirt and Daphne sleeves and collar, all modified to fit my vision for this outfit. I used some inexpensive knit to try out most of this plan before cutting into my limited supply of stretch velvet.
I learned during my practice run that I needed to remove some length from the cropped Heather bodice so it would sit a couple inches or so above the waist of the dress. (This was to ensure the point of the dress bodice would be visible while the robe was being worn.) And, instead of cutting the front bodice on the fold, I cut it up the center. Then I sewed the shoulder and side seams so I could try it on my daughter for reference during the rest of the process.
Trying out the nearly finished muslin version of the robe.
For the bottom of the robe, my mind immediately went to the Garance skirt to get that cool waterfall effect. Based on my daughter's waist measurement and the maximum length I wanted the robe to be, I ended up mashing a size 6 Heather circle skirt waist with a size 16 Garance skirt length (bottom layer). I cut my skirt as one piece, rather than separate front and back skirts, and then cut up the front center for the opening. I added some clear elastic to the bottom of the bodice (because that giant stretch velvet skirt was awfully heavy!), and then attached the skirt. When I tried it on her again, I observed where I wanted the skirt to be shorter and trimmed as needed from there.
Cut robe pieces laid out over our Winifred-inspired Daphne.
Next I tackled the sleeves. While I didn't completely stick to the shape of Winifred's sleeves, there were 2 elements that I was determined to include: slits for her purple lace sleeves to show through, and that unforgettable Medieval-style bell shape.
Photo from The Art of Disney Costuming.
Though drafted for wovens, I used Daphne puff sleeves for the top of my sleeves. I cut them in my daughter's size, folded them in half and cut them up the center creating 2 mirrored pieces for each sleeve.
I self-drafted the bell portion of the sleeves, and while I would do it a little differently next time, I was happy enough with how this attempt turned out. I first asked my daughter to stand up with her arms parallel to the floor so I could measure a few things:
- the distance from her upper arm to her knuckles, adding seam allowance to determine the length of the bell portion of the sleeve (you could stop at the wrist or wherever you like, I just wanted these to be extra long and dramatic)
- the distance around her upper arm, to determine how wide to make the top opening of the bell that would attach to the bottom of the puff sleeve
- the distance from her arm to approximately where I wanted the long point on the bell sleeve to end
Using this information, I drew out a rough right triangle shape with the hypotenuse/longest side gently curved near the top, and the point nearest that cut off to create a straight edge the same width as the Daphne sleeve binding (based on my daughter's upper arm measurement). This straight edge would be used to connect the top of the bell to the bottom of the puff sleeve.
Daphne puff sleeve and self-drafted bell sleeve, showing that both are cut into 2 mirrored pieces.
I then serged all the raw center edges on the puff and bell portions of each sleeve, folded each one in 3/8" two times, and edge stitched for a clean finish.
Then, laying the 2 pieces of each sleeve next to each other, right side up, I pinned at top and bottom, and for the bells, I also pinned at the center. I then zigzag stitched approximately 1" at each of the pinned areas to join the sides of the sleeves and create the slits (being careful to catch the finished edge of both sides of the sleeve in my stitches).
I then placed my sleeve pieces right sides together, pinned and sewed the longest, slightly curved seam, and hemmed the end of the sleeves. (If I'd had enough fabric, I would have tried making a facing to finish the ends of the sleeves instead.) After gathering and attaching the bottom of the puff sleeves to the top of the bells, and the top of the puff sleeves to the bodice armscyes, my girl had sleeves that were ready for some mischief!
Trying out her dramatic new sleeves!
Phew, is this robe finished yet?! I moved onto the collar, which also originated with the Daphne pattern. Instead of cutting the collar into 2 halves, I treated the back center edge of the pointed collar as a fold and trimmed the front edges of the collar at the angle I wanted.
I haven't worked with knit collars much, and had never attempted a standing knit collar, so I searched my interfacing stash to try to pick something with structure that wouldn't make the collar too heavy and floppy. I went with some sew-in foam (I would have preferred fusible but didn't have any on hand). It did the trick! I sandwiched some gold piping in-between my collar pieces, sewed around the outer edges, and turned right side out.
Collar ready to be attached to the robe neckline.
I attached the collar, aligning the center of the collar with the center of the back bodice neckline. I then I trimmed the front center edges of the robe bodice on a diagonal from waist to collar, leaving just enough space to hem the raw edges, to allow the center of the dress bodice to show through.
I added gold piping around the entire robe in place of the gold beading seen in the movie (I had already added piping to the collar), serged those edges, and turned them under to hem.
Robe prior to adding collar binding and buttons.
I also created a small binding to cover the raw edge of the collar, similar to what you might see on the inside of a t-shirt.
I had great intentions of using gold fabric paint to recreate some of the symbols along the edges of Winifred's robe, but I was running out of time (and quite honestly was afraid I'd ruin what I had worked so hard on) so I passed on that embellishment for the time being and settled for finishing with 2 gold buttons that would be wrapped and tied with gold ribbon to close the robe when worn.
I have to admit, I'm a little jealous she gets to wear those sleeves!