J’s Dryad Costume

This year M is dressing up as Shaggy with two friends, who’ll be Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo. Tan pants, green shirt: it’s a pretty easy costume. Done.

J and her friends haven’t reached the Communal Costuming Phase yet, so she’s a free agent. Every year we get the Chasing Fireflies catalog, which makes me a teensy bit crazy. They have fabulous, wonderful, expensive costumes. But this year, it was good for inspiration. J liked this Dryad Tree Goddess costume, and it seemed particularly appropriate, since just a few weeks before she’d decided that her future career should be a dendrologist, or tree scientist. Of course, the costume and accessories would have cost about a hundred bucks. Plus, she wasn’t crazy about the long, upside-down-tulip shaped skirt, and the accessories were a bit too much pink for her. It was really the draping stuff that got her. I looked around online, and unfortunately, when you Google “Dryad Images,” it feels like you might have accidentally Googled “Sexy Sexy Dryad Images,” but once we got past all the bodypaint-and-I’m-a-fertile-tree-nymph images, we found this post full of some pretty gorgeous photographs. In fact, I showed J while saying, “Keep in mind that this is much, much, more ambitious than anything we’ll do.” But, now that we’re done, I’m pretty sure that J is going to have to do a photo shoot outside like that dryad did.

Now, if you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ll know that I am not a Halloween costume crafter. But I can do a little basic sewing, and J had A Vision, and I figured that we could make something happen. We ended up having so much fun with it, and we are very, very proud, because it’s cool.

First, we headed to Jo-Ann’s for supplies. And luckily I remembered to go to the one on Central. Because, I swear, every time I go to the one at Clifton Park, I arrive and think, “Dammit! I forgot that this one isn’t as nice as the other one.” It isn’t. Jo-Ann folks, you totally need to renovate that store. But, anyway. We looked at a huge variety of fabrics, many of which might be worn by a tree goddess, and J settled on a little bit of 3 different kinds. Then we headed over to the fake foliage area in search of some leaves or flowers. Left to my own devices, I’d have gone with fake cherry blossoms/branches, but it’s not my costume. J went with ivy. Ivy isn’t a tree. I didn’t point this out because she had A Vision. Generally I set a $30 budget for Halloween costumes, and anything over that is kid-funded. J pitched in a little bit when she decided her tree should also have a birds’ nest in it. Here are our supplies:

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She decided that the base should be a darker green fabric that was velvety on one side and plainer on the other. We bought 2 yards of it. The she literally draped it around herself, and when she liked something, I pinned it. Then we carefully pulled it off and I sewed where the pins were. Then she put it back on, and she changed it a bit more. She decided that she wanted a different fabric peeking out underneath the main fabric, and she liked the idea of showing both sides of the velvety one, so this is how it looked after two rounds of pinning/sewing:

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After this, I skipped a few steps with the camera. First she said that she’d like the sheer-ish fabric underneath, so I literally just shoved it underneath and pinned a few times. Oh, and another good thing about goddesses: they don’t need straight hems or seams. Whenever she’d accidentally step on some fabric, I’d just cut it off. So, we added a sort of sheer underskirt, and then we still had one more fabric to work with: the lacy one. She draped most of it as a sort of sash, but we had extra leftover, so we decided to make it look sort of like a sleeve. One arm was pretty well covered with the main fabric, but the other was hanging out. Originally I thought that a real sleeve would be too much work, but every time she tried it on, she’d say, “Can we put it together so it’s a little more sleeve-ish?” and eventually, it became a sleeve (you can see my oh-so-not-tidy stitches in this photo).

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Once we’d used each of our three fabrics, she started thinking about her foliage and other accessories, and the first bits that she wanted to add were a few sprigs of ivy strategically placed over my messy stitches!

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At this point, things got much easier, because we switched to the hot glue gun for adding accessories. J had some fake ivy, one stem of fake white flowers, a little nest and a bag of eggs, and a small roll of this stuff designed to look like bark, but with a little sparkle–I think its intended use is to decorate the exterior of a pot. J would hold something up and I’d glue it while she stood there. I didn’t burn her once! And I only burned myself three times.

Here’s the front of the finished costume:

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And here’s the back.

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The roll of decorative bark was just begging to be a belt, although we only used it around the back. The edge curled around the little lace sash. We had a little bit extra, so we decided to stick it to the inside of J’s sleeve.

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J had bought a circlet of ivy that she wanted to turn into a crown. She used the hot glue gun by herself to add flowers and the birds’ nest. I’m a little worried about this one–she’s got my slippery hair, so I’m not sure if even twenty bobby pins will keep it on. Wish us luck!

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And here’s a little detail picture of the front.

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I love the barefoot look, but of course that’s no good for school or trick-or-treating. J decided she wanted to with her brown boots because they’d look like a tree trunk. Of course I loved this, because they’re comfortable and warm.

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