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Wednesday Addams Breakdown

Hey, y'all!

This post has been a long time coming. It seems this site is often the last of my priorities, but if it's going to be my primary footprint on The Internet, then I need to put in the effort, yeah?

I'm taking some time to tell you about the process of bringing Wednesday Addams to life. I'm so very happy with how this costume turned out, and I'm so excited to wear her at a convention soon.

I decided to create this character because she has such a simple yet iconic look: dark braided pigtails, a black dress with a white collar, black tights, and simple black shoes. How classic! I also like that several renditions of the character exist: the original comic, the 1960s television series, the 1990s live-action films, the 2010 stage musical, and the animated film that was released in 2019. Because of the sheer quantity of versions, and the classic style, you don't need to create a replica of any single look to capture the essence and convey this gothic media icon.

When brainstorming how I'd go about creating this costume, I decided I wanted to blend the 1960s television show with the 2010 musical. Rather than trying to portray a child, I thought it'd be more interesting to envision Wednesday as a young adult woman like the musical does while sticking to the classic black dress as opposed to the gray, blue, or purple ones used elsewhere. Oddly enough, it was rather difficult to find patterns that would work for this look! I scoured through pattern books at my local Jo-Ann, examining every dress and costume pattern for the right style elements, before finally finding three potential winners. I eventually selected New Look pattern 6494 in Style A.

I chose this pattern because I like the fuller skirt and the opportunity to play with different textures in the contrasting yoke and trim on the bodice. I immediately set my heart on lace sleeves! This dress has a style reminiscent of the 1950s & 1960s, so it buttons down the front with a second placket panel to hide those buttons. The silhouette and style seemed perfect for blending the two influences I had in mind.

Finding fabric was notably easier, though still tricky, as I began this costume in the dead of summer in Louisiana. Black is not a heavily sought color! I settled on:

this black gauze-esque material for the outer body of the dress,

a polyester lining,

this black spiderweb lace for the sleeves and bodice yoke contrast,

some white gauze-esque fabric for the collar,

& this flat leather trim

I also got two packs of black buttons for the center front closure. That's right, no zippers!

I also needed interfacing for the button placket and the collar.

Before cutting out any of the pattern, I separated the pieces I needed for the particular style I wanted to create and carefully drafted new cutting lines so the pattern would fit me better. I compared my measurements to the size chart on the pattern to determine which size worked for each core measurement.

Then I drew lines of best fit between the sizes in question to customize the bodice and skirt pieces. After I was satisfied with these alterations, I set to work cutting out all the pieces and following the instructions to sew the dress together.

One issue I continually had with this project was the behavior of the black gauze material for the core of the dress. It was stretchy and slippery under my machine, which made precision stitching quite difficult. I have since learned of new methods to aid this, but I persevered as best I could at the time! The sleeves also perturbed me toward the end, as the lace I used did not want to cleanly fold and stitch into place for the sleeve hem.

One other difficulty I encountered, which seems to plague my garment construction in general, was the collar size. Somehow, despite my best effort, I ended up with a collar that was too small for the circumference of the neckline. This always happens with waistbands on my patterns, as well.

I did choose to glue my leather trim into place along the bodice contrast line, rather than stitching it down, since I was inexperienced in working with leather at the time, and I felt the stitching wouldn't look clean enough on such a narrow strip of trim. The adhesive has held up well, so that's a win for me!

The wig I used is Buttercup in black from Arda Wigs, styled by my friend and professional hair stylist, Brittany Bissett, owner of BB's Hair Studio. I also completed the look with a belt I found while shopping, I think at a Marshall's; some Giani Bernini combination patent and matte leather T-strap pumps found at Macy's; black fingerless lace gloves and a black lace parasol from Amazon; and round black runic sunglasses from Hot Topic, which I already owned and have since been broken.

I would say these are my biggest takeaways from this project:

  1. Take your time! I must constantly remind myself not to rush through projects and prioritize speed over quality.

  2. Always add a pocket. I very easily could have worked a pocket into the side seam of the skirt, but the thought never occurred to me. I hope to return to this dress to add pockets (and fix the collar).

  3. Let your vision shift. Sometimes, the image in your head can't be achieved with what's feasible in the real world, so if you're not going to commission a custom fabric or design a new pattern, you have to compromise for the next best thing. Don't stress over it!

Thanks for reading! For more insight on this project, be sure to check out its two vlogs over on my YouTube channel: Part 1 & Part 2

Keep aiming, my Loves! 🖤

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