Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. Every year I try to wear something different, go to parties, decorate my apartment and make all sorts of ‘scary’ treats… so imagine my dismay when I moved to Australia and found that no one here celebrates Halloween!
Since I came here, I have felt Halloween-deprived. This year, we got some friends together and they swore they’d go to this Halloween party in Sydney with my husband and I, but they all bailed on us a few hours before and once again we missed out.
I originally made this Lil Bo Peep Costume intending to attend a big party at a club downtown, and I had hopes of entering their costume contest. Homesick and dismayed that once again I would miss my favorite day of the year, I decided to search and see if anyone had something Halloween-ish going on online?
That is when I came across your awesome site and decided to enter your contest :) Thank you so much for giving me an excuse to dress up anyway!
I had wanted to do something different this year, so I went for a super-cute style of costume rather than my usual spooky self. Little Bo Peep isn’t that unusual but I have never seen a nice version of this (only the typical ‘sexy’ costumes) and I wanted to really bring this nursery rhyme character of my childhood to life.
This Lil Bo Peep Costume is purely from my imagination and is almost exactly how I’ve always pictured Little Bo Peep. I didn’t have a pattern and much of the fabric comes from other stuff I already had laying around. Every part of the costume (except shoes) is homemade.
The dress is made from 2.5 yards of patchwork-printed fabric, the petticoat is made of extra-stiff tulle and the ruffled skirt is made from old bed sheets. I worked on this Lil Bo Peep Costume over the course of a month, learning how to ruffle, do smocking and overlock stitches as I went along (what a learning experience this was!).
To give you an idea of what was involved, if you were to lay out each tier of ruffles side by side, you would have more than 15 yards of cotton ruffles and nearly 20 yards of tulle! There are a total of 6 layers that comprise the skirt of this dress and it is about as heavy as a wool coat. It is a pull-on style, and gets its fitted appearance from lots of elastic smocking on the back of the dress and sash.
This is by far the most difficult thing I have ever tried to sew. Getting it all on takes a while but it is actually quite comfortable. When I bend over, the skirt tilts over just like a little bell, and I must say there is something satisfying about wearing such an enormously poofy dress!
The bonnet was made from an ordinary straw hat; I added wire to the brim, bent it into shape, tied it on my head with some leftover pink fabric, and stuck a flower hair clip to it for good measure. The shepherd’s crook is a piece of PVC pipe we already had on hand; my husband bent it into shape and I covered it with fabric to hide the creases.
Although I wanted to look realistic, I wanted to maintain that fairytale surrealism and look a little doll-like, so to pull that off I got some circle contact lenses and massive false eyelashes.
The total cost to make my Lil Bo Peep Costume was about $65, including the cost of the contacts. In the USA I’d consider that a bit expensive for a homemade costume but here in Australia it would cost twice that just to rent a Walmart-quality outfit.
Overall, this was a lot of fun and I now feel like I can sew anything! The best part is, I made this dress so that the sleeves detach, and without the petticoats, it looks like an ordinary sun dress :) I love that I will be able to wear it for more than just Halloween, but I reallllllly hope that I can celebrate Halloween properly next year!