Sunday, 22 July 2012

Ideas for a Mad Hatter's Tea Party

"I pictured to myself the Queen of Hearts as a sort of embodiment of ungovernable passion - a blind and aimless Fury."                                       
                                                                                                     Lewis Carroll - Alice on the Stage

Some friends of ours recently invited us to a combined housewarming/birthday with a Mad Hatter's Tea Party costume theme.  I immediately thought of the Queen of Hearts - while not at the tea party she is from Alice in Wonderland, and should provide a interesting costume.

The Queen of Hearts in the original Alice in Wonderland illustrations by John Tenniel seems to be based on Queen Victoria in stature and appearance.  Her costume is very similar to that of the Queen of Hearts on standard playing cards.

The diagonal sash on the chest, the yellow wheel motifs, the Tudor gable hood, it's all there.

I found this rather wonderful playing-card inspired costume by Katie Strand-Evans on this site.  I love it, but I wanted something a bit more historical.

This is the Queen of Hearts from the 1951 Disney animation.  It's got a bit of a Tudor feel to it, but it's too plain.  Boring.

I haven't seen Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland - although I love Burton he does seem to have gone off the boil a bit in the last few years, and I've heard that it's pretty terrible.  Although Helen Bonham Carter's character is called the Red Queen (who is actually from Through the Looking-Glass) her costume seems more inspired by the Queen of Hearts, and the character is apparently a mixture of the two.  I think the costume, which is by Colleen Atwood, is lovely, very rich and detailed, but I didn't want to make a straight copy otherwise I'd have to wear a red wig and that frightful makeup too!

I bought this book a few years ago, which has patterns and instructions on making wonderful Tudor garments, and I always wanted an excuse to make a Henrician gown (it takes about 9m of fabric, so it's not something to make for no reason!).

The gown I'm thinking of is similar to this one worn by the young Princess Elizabeth, but more stylised.

Here's a rough sketch of my Queen of Hearts costume.  The front panel will be black velvet with gold ribbon criss-crossing it, and red felt hearts.  The large turned-back sleeves will be black velvet also, and I'll make one of those French crescent hoods, but in a heart shaped.  I'm not sure about the black and white checked bits yet, but you get the basic idea.  What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I really like your outfit idea! :-D The checkered bits are cool - I think they'd work nicely on a small scale square if you can find it.