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.
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.
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!)
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!!