Making an Elphaba Costume

My 15-year-old daughter saw the musical, Wicked, last spring and decided a couple of months ago that she wanted to dress up as the character Elphaba this year for Halloween.  Although she’s mostly too old for trick-or-treating at this point, she did have a couple of parties to attend and so needed a costume.

It is true that not that many people even know who Elphaba is, and even fewer probably know the details of what an outfit of  hers might look like.  This is a long-running theme with my children.  Over the years, they have frequently chosen to dress up as obscure characters from books, super heroes of their own making, etc.  I enjoy doing my best to help them bring their visions to life as much as is possible, and being costumes, it really doesn’t matter if the sewing is perfect.

This year, Anna and I started designing her costume by looking carefully at the pictures in the program that she brought home from Wicked.  The main points:  a blue jumper with diagonal pin-tucks on the front panel and an asymmetrical  hemline, a blue school uniform type jacket with brown trim, and a blue crocheted hat.  We were able to find two Simplicity patterns (hooray for $1 pattern sales!) to use as a starting place.

This one  had the right general shape for the jumper with a few modifications:

This one was nearly perfect for the shape of the jacket:

We found some fabrics in the inexpensive wall bins at the back of JoAnn’s that were the right color and more importantly,  price,  for  costume fabric.

For the center panel of the dress, I took a piece of the fabric and drew diagonal lines about 2.5 inches apart.  I folded these lines and sewed them with  a  1/2 inch seam.  This became the back side of the fabric.  After pressing, I top-stitched the front side of the fabric.  I then added a straight piece of fabric at the top and for the lower skirt and cut out the front panel piece from this piece of fabric.

Here is a picture, which for some reason is very washed-out, but it sort of shows this panel:

I sewed the rest of the jumper pretty much as the pattern was written.

When it was finished, I cut the bottom of the skirt on the diagonal and hemmed it:

The jacket was sewn almost exactly as pictured on the pattern envelope with a few things added at the end.  I did slightly round the front edges to match  Elphaba’s  jacket picture.  The last step was to add pockets and brown trim, which weren’t part of the pattern.  The trim I used was brown cotton ribbing that for some reason I already had.  I cut it 1-1/4 inches wide and wrapped it around the edges of the finished jacket, sewing it with a zig-zag stitch which finished both the front and back side all at once.  Here is a picture of it as finished:

It does have only two brass buttons, and the one in the picture had three, but I could only come up with two and no one is going to be comparing it that closely to the pictures anyway ;).

I also crocheted a very simple hat.  I’m sort of  a new crocheter, so I used a pattern from the book, 24 Hour Crochet Projects by Rita Weiss.  I think more experienced crochet people could probably do it without a pattern, but I’m not there yet.  It’s here:

And the final result:  my daughter as Elphaba, all green-skinned for her party.  Our pictures didn’t turn out well, but you can sort of get the idea.  The glasses are from the dollar store.  We never found any boots that looked like the pictures, so she went with shoes  from her Converse collection, pretty much her fall-back shoes for all occasions:

And a picture her friend took at the party:


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