Happy Halloween fellow blog-lovers! So unfortunately for you--I did not decide to write this blog entry until I had already begun with my design, however I think you should be able to follow along pretty easily from the description. Also...I have already changed my mind about the design several times, so we shall see if you end up with more detail. 

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I wanted the dress to have a sexy low cut back, since I was going for high drama up top--to do this, I sewed a piece of red fabric that was left-over from last year's costume (Poison Ivy's cape) on a slight angle to make a tube dress with a raw edge.
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I then used my floral wire cutters to chop the hook off of a wire coat hanger. I bent the hanger into a sort-of heart shape- and pinned and sewed it, badly, to the top of the tube-dress.
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okay--heres the start of the "evil" heart-shaped top. I did a super bad job of hiding the seam...so I'll have to see if I can fix that later. Luckily the top is flexible.
Next step to my Halloween costume, was to figure out how to make a hoop skirt. I am pretty cheap, and especially don't like spending a lot of money on a costume I will never wear again, (hence reusing Poison Ivy's cape) so I decided to make a hoop skirt using chicken wire and an old full sized fitted sheet I had from a smaller mattress I no longer used (the sheet turned out to be a bit large, requiring some creative sewing, but it worked okay--perhaps a twin would be better if you are buying one). I ended up buying a roll of flexible hardware cloth aka chicken wire from Home Depot, but I do anticipate being able to use this again, since I only used about 1/4 of the roll.   
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To make a wire hoop skirt, I measured out the chicken wire around my waist and made a cone shape
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Connect the hem of the sheet to the cut "waist" of the skirt--pro, it makes a faux waistband!
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And the hoop skirt is complete!!
Firstly, to make the wire skirt- I fitted the chicken wire around my hips, where I wanted the skirt to sit, and cut the wire, on an angle, to make the bottom circle bigger than the circle around my waist.  You can bend the wire edges around one another to make a complete circle out of the cut piece of wire. Unfortunately, this technique was poorly done, and I ended up with a small triangular hole in my skirt. You can fix this by cutting a small piece of wire and bending it to fit in the whole...or you can be lazy like me and just drape the skirt to cover the hole. Once you have the circle together, bend the wire to form the desired shape. 
Here's where I need to advice a safety warning. I highly recommend draping some kind of soft material (think fleece?) around at least the waist of the wire skirt. This will help protect your poor skin from getting cut-up and bruised like mine did. Once you have done this, test to make sure the wire is not poking through the fabric of the skirt (this really started to cause pain after walking down to the party, dancing all night, and walking back). Now that you have protected yourself better than I did...
I draped the fitted sheet over the wire skirt and cut a hole in the sheet where it met the smaller waist circle of the hoop skirt (my cutting is never straight, and don't worry if your cut is too small or large, since we will fix that in a second). Next, pull the bottom fitted edge of the skirt through the inside of the wire skirt. You can adjust the length of the skirt by pulling more or less fabric through the waist. I recommend trying on the skirt to see how long it will be, and to make sure that the wire shape is correct (mine got a little lumpy looking and was a tad short in the front because I did not try it on before proceeding to the next step.)
When you are ready (happy with the length) hand stitch the raw cut edges to the fitted edge of the sheet to make a waistband. This is nice because it hides the seam. You can adjust the draping as desired as you go (although i really recommend trying it on before you sew it completely shut), I liked how this looked asymmetrical when I was done, but you can also drape it a bit more evenly, or cut excess fabric (just be careful not to cut too much). The benefit of the chicken wire is that the skirt can be molded a bit to make your ideal shape--also the sheet is a bit thin, so a thicker fabric may be preferable, but I liked how the fitted hem made the fabric drape (again, please at least be careful to check for raw wire edges and bend them or cut them so as to not hurt yourself!)
  
After trying on the skirt with the red dress, I decided to add a bit of tulle. So I used my conveniently round dining room table to make a hoop skirt (what I should have done with the chicken wire--thanks for the idea, Mom!). I didn't really feel like carefully cutting the tulle, so I cut it in half, layered the pieces, and trimmed the triangular edges to make a rounded skirt...the edges are a bit "raw," but I think it works okay. To make the waist, I simply cut a hole in the middle of the tulle. I then sewed the two pieces of fabric together at the waist.  I did not secure it to the hoop skirt, but doing so will help to keep it in place better. I am not sure how necessary this was in the end--so I guess do as you like. 

I made a little crown using playing cards that I had folded into halves and then securing them with duct tape. I don't necessarily recommend using the duct tape, since I didn't really like how obviously duct-tapey it looked. If you have  more time, I recommend trying some double sided tape placed inside the fold of the card, or else maybe some glue. I did not have time really, since I was doing this project the night of the Halloween Party I was attending...good call on my part, obviously.
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Tulle over the hoop skirt
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to make the crown, I folded playing cards in half--since I was planning on embellishing the dress with "hearts" cards anyway, I figured I may as well use the black cards for the crown. Waste not. Want not.
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For the points of the crown, i folded the card the same way i folded them for the circle part, and then i folded the tip into a point.
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I connected 7 of the folded playing cards by weaving one end inside the previous end and adjusting the size to fit my head. I then duct-taped them together at the seams. I also duct-taped the pointed cards to the middle of each seam...then I spray painted the whole thing gold.
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since I am not overly fond of all the duct-tape, I painted the ends with some sparkle nail polish...although I am still not sure it was such a good idea...I'd suggest using the duct tape on the inside of the crown, so as to not make the outside look so messy.
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Heart shaped scepter made from playing cards, duct tape and spray paint

I made a scepter to go with my costume by rolling playing cards and securing them with duct tape. The heart was made by folding playing cards and pinching them together at one end and curling them at the other with a little duct tape. I then sprayed the whole thing gold to match the crown. 

Now...on to the cape! (almost done!)

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Playing cards line the edges of the cape
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Cape was made with big draped sleeves and decorated with playing cards
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Spray painted paper roses sewn to the hem of the dress to make pick ups
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Close up of the playing cards that line he collar of the cape
To finish the costume, I made a cape from a large piece of satiny fabric that I bought at Walmart. I pinned the fabric around my chest where a button would be placed (if I felt like doing all that work). I also pinned the fabric to create sleeves that drape around the feet when not being used. I then draped the fabric where I had pinned it in the middle to make a sort of collar. I pinned playing cards to the back around the collar and then used the machine to sew all of the pinned places.

Last but not least, I added a few paper roses, for a bit of a fun finishing detail, to the bottom of the red dress.  (To make your own roses, see my tutorial here!) The roses helped to create pickups in strategic places, but if I hadn't already had some lying around, I doubt I would have gone to the effort. A couple of hand-stitches keeps them in place...and for a bit of extra fun, I spray painted them red (before attaching them to the dress, make sure they are dry!). 

 Probably it would have been a good idea to drape the sleeves of the cape a bit to hide the cut edge, and the collar is pretty uneven, with a messy stitch that shows where I sewed across the playing cards,, and the dress is not great...but I think the end result is sufficient for a Halloween costume.  For make up, I recommend pasty white powder and bright red lips (i tried to draw my lips in the shape of a heart and it didn't really work....but good idea I think!) So good luck with your own costumes and have a very Happy Halloween!!

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Voila! All Hail the Red Queen! lol
 
I have excellent intentions of making a dozen or more of these and hanging them on twine to look like lovely streamers. I had wanted to do this originally for Valentines, but lost all ambition (or got wrapped up in something else) and so I am only just now getting a chance to share this with you...better late than never, I suppose. 
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I printed some maps using my handy-dandy inkjet and the interwebs for inspiration. These get cut into thin strips of differing sizes.
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Curl one side of the V inward to make a half-heart..
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Spread extra mod podge around the area to add a finish to the strip, The mod podge acts as a sealer to help prevent fading, and ink running.
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Try to cut in pairs so that you have two strips the same size for each increment. You will need one longer one to be used as a stem.
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Attach each end of the half heart to the center stem piece so that they meet at the top and bottom to form a full heart.
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I recommend leaving a large stem accessible at the top of the heart (to easily allow you to attach these to twine and hang)--i did not do this, which caused the heart to warp later after having been hung from one side.
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Bend each strip in half and pinch to make a v shape. You can cut these in half to make more layers.
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seal the bottom and the top of the half heart with mod podge, starting with the smallest pieces closest to the center and adding larger pieces to the outside.
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...and repeat until you're satisfied.
I think I probably added a few too many layers here, and some of the pieces didn't curl as well as I wanted but that's okay, it's definitely good enough for my grapevine wreath... and I envision many of them hanging in garlands. What fun things will you make with this technique?
 
So it's a little late, but better that than never-- I've decided to share some of my February decorations (mostly heart crafts).
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Paper Heart Chains! Tissue paper is adhered to cardstock with spray adhesive , cut into strips, folded like V's with each end rolled towards the center and secured into hearts using hot glue.
I always love festive linked chains, so I thought I'd try my hand at these little paper hearts. They were surprisingly easy to make, and I love the way that each heart is a little different. I hung some from short chains (below) all over the house. They spin and at quite lovely. ;)
As with all my crafting projects, you may notice some clumsy errors, such as the tissue paper peeling from the edges of each strip...this is fixed if you add sufficient adhesive when initially sticking, or afterword, touch up with some hot glue (careful--the paper is thin and the glue is very hot, unless you've been clever enough to get the low temperature hot glue) Also, be aware that the spray adhesive will discolor tissue paper-I kind of like being able to see the tint of the cardstock through the tissue, but it's something to keep in mind when selecting cardstock.
I just love the way they dangle! As you can see, I also made a long chain (using fishing line) to hang above my windows in addition to the short vertical chains. These are strung in the same way, using a needle that has been single-threaded through each heart and knotted at the ends. This allows the hearts to move around on the chain unless you secure them in place ie: tie them individually onto the string. If you are like me, and want to minimize effort, pull the fishing line string through several places of the heart...or you could use thicker string, but I like the floating effect of fishing line. Now that I have a plethora of these paper hearts, I can make them into a wreath, and save them for next year--and start on the Easter crafts (chickies anyone?)