Snow White Riding Outfit 3: Not Just the Jacket

Since I can’t do anything else on the jacket until the binding and beads arrive (cross your fingers for some time next week!), I’ve been working on other parts of the costume instead.

Snow’s pants are your basic stretchy riding pants, but with a false front to make them look as though they are made of suede.The suede piece covers just the fronts of the pants from waist to where they go into the boots. The join is easily visible in the character shots. I assume the costume department didn’t expect anyone to notice that Snow’s pants weren’t all suede, but it’s easy to see in the show with all of the action she has in this costume.

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I ordered my pants from State Line Tack. I basically just picked the cheapest pair of light tan riding pants I could find. The faux suede is from Fashion Fabrics Club.

I started out by just cutting two rectangles of suede a little wider and a little longer than I needed to cover half of the fronts. I put on the pants and pinned the suede to it, marking on the suede where the seams were underneath so that I knew where the finished edges of the piece should be. I did this with the pants on because I needed them to be stretched so that I knew everything would fit once the suede was on.


I used the first piece to cut out a symmetrical second piece and sewed them together at the center front.


I then hemmed all the edges with a double row of stitching, first cutting out the corners so that my poor machine didn’t have to sew over four layers of this stuff!

At that point, all that was left was to attach the false front to the pants, which meant making sure that I had the pants stretched enough. I started by sewing the center front seam to the center front seam of the pants. The pants don’t stretch as much vertically as they do horizontally, so that was pretty easy, and it gave me somewhere to work from.


I also checked to make sure the outer edge was hitting about where I wanted it.


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From there, I sewed them on down the inseam, careful to stretch the pants just a touch so that the ends landed right on Brandon’s line. Then I put the pants on again, and had Brandon pull the outer edge as far as it would go and mark where that should fall so that the suede would be as tight as possible when I had it all sewed down.

Here’s the finished product. I didn’t manage to get it quite as tight as I hoped, but I think the backs of the pants end up stretching a bit more once the suede is on to make up for the fact that the front doesn’t stretch as much anymore. Oh well, at least most of the loose bits will be covered by other parts of the costume!

For some reason teh pants look very yellow in this photo. In reality they are quite a bit browner than the waistband.
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The boots are Yuu Soo Riding Boots from JC Penny

After the pants I moved on to the skirt drapes. They are made of pincord fabric, and lined with the leftover suede from the pants to keep them stiff.

After making a basic waistband, I draped them on my dressform, careful to keep a large seam allowance around the edges so that I could wrap them around the lining and finish. They are very simple shapes, just wonky rectangles with one little pleat in the front and one in the back for shaping and drape.


The fabric is the same size as the lining at the top, but gets wider as it goes down so that it has a bit of drape separate from the stiff lining. Since that meant I couldn’t pin them together laying completely flat, I attached the two by pinning the seam allowances away then lining up the lining piece with each edge and wrapping the fabric back around it before pinning in place.




Once the sides were pinned, I fiddled around a lot with the placement of the pleats until they fell as straight as I could get them.


I couldn’t sew the fabric and lining together until I was happy with that, or I’d just have to rip it out again.

Folding under the raw edges in preparation for hemming.

Since, after all of my futzing with the pleats, the lining edges and fabric edges don’t line up exactly at the very bottom, I both top stitched the edges and hemmed. This ensures that the edges stay nice and sharp, and the fabric doesn’t balloon away from the lining oto much.

The finished pieces ready for the waistband. I swear that pincord wrinkles if you look at it.

Since the waistband won’t be seen at all in the finished costume, I was able to just top stitch it shut instead of doing a nice slip stitch, which saved a bit of time.

Here’s the progress so far (sans pants since the dressform doesn’t do that):


Maybe steaming those darn drapes will get the wrinkles out. It seems like every time I set them down and pick them up again, they’re a mess!

There won’t be a blog next week, since I’ll be too busy getting ready for our Halloween party to get much done, plus it’ll give the final materials a chance to get here. There’s not much I can do until the seam binding and beads arrive! Things should really get fun once that happens!

See you in November,





Snow White Riding Outfit 2: A Change for the Better

I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to get this post out on time, since there has been an enormous change of plans! Last week, after I posted the blog, a reader who has made the costume before told me where I can find the screen accurate fabric (Robert Allen’s Diamond Tuft upholstery fabric). At the beginning of my research, I had tried to look for the fabric using many combinations of the words “diamond” “upholstery” “fabric” “suede” “velvet” “velveteen”, etc… but it somehow never entered my mind to simply search for “screen accurate snow white fabric”. Turns out many people had already done the work for me!


So, I’ve scrapped the quilting (which was about to drive me up the wall anyway), for the real thing! Luckily I am both small and short, so I was able to order just one yard of the 54″ wide fabric. This meant I got to order it right away, instead of waiting for my next check. I laid out the fabric on the floor in many configurations and used a measuring tape to make sure I could fit it all in before I ordered.

It only took it a few days to arrive and I got cutting.


It’s amazing how easily a jacket goes together when you’ve been psyching yourself up for weeks of quilting, and then having to deal with the hand-quilted fabric.

The infamous curved dart before pressing.
And a finished front piece with both darts.

I didn’t interface the body pieces, because I want them to be nice and flexible, but I did back the sleeves, collar, and bottom tabs with canvas so that they are sturdy and don’t flop or crumple too much.

First I pinned the canvas to the fabric.
Then I trimmed the canvas away from the seam allowance, since I don’t want the seams to be double thick.
I stitched along the top and the bottom, inside where the binding will go on the edges.
I catch stitched the loose edges to keep them from getting bent out of shape inside the sleeve. After this first one, I did this before sewing the sleeve into a tube.
The completed (sans lining and binding) lower and upper sleeves.

I was away in Cincinnati with Brandon visiting our friend Melissa this weekend, so I wasn’t sure how much of the jacket I would actually have done at this point, but we got home around four, and I went for it! It was so exciting to see it all coming together!

The front and backs put together.

I backed the tabs in the same way as the sleeves, though since I was only leaving one short edge loose, I didn’t bother to catch stitch.


The backing and lining of the collar are cut in single pieces, but the outer fabric I cut as two pieces so that I could line up the diamonds exactly how I wanted them. Once the collar is attached and the edges are bound there should the center of a diamond (and one of the dangling beads) right where it all comes together.


Pressing the collar seam.

I took this picture to check that the edges of the collar were falling where I wanted them, and ended up trimming them back a bit more.


With the collar attached, it’s time to add the final component: the tabs.

The are all just a little bit detached from each other to leave room for the belt to cinch everything in a bit.

The jacket is now definitely a jacket! I have ordered faux leather seam binding for the edges in what I hope will be a close color, if not I will paint it. It’s easy to find white, and easy to find tan, but it turns out that finding a good off-white is not so easy!


In the meantime, I can work on the pants and on the large skirt pieces, as the fabric for those got here at the end of the week. The beads that I ordered are also on their way. This might just happen by the end of the month after all!

Tune in next week!



Snow White Riding Outfit 1: What did I get myself into?

There are a couple of new cosplays I’ve been hankering to make for a while now, and now that the wedding is over, I can finally begin.

First up is one I’ve been planning since I started cosplaying a year ago: Snow White from Once Upon a Time. As much as the show I once loved has become a show I love to hate, I do still love this character (probably because she’s one of the few who has retained her not-just-a-copy-of-the-Disney-character status), and while she has certainly had some fashion missteps (as has everyone on that show), by and large, she gets some pretty wonderful costumes. I’m embarking first on one of my favorites:

Snow White played by Ginnifer Goodwin, Costume Design by Eduardo Castro

Since I have had multiple people stop me in grocery store lines and other random places to tell me I look like “that chick from Once Upon a Time,” it seemed like it was time to go for it.

Technically, work on this cosplay began back in April, when I made the wig:

We got extra lucky on this wig, because a beautiful high-quality hair was on sale in exactly the right color at just the right time, so it’s extra soft and silky. The wig will soon get to be used for its intended purpose, but in the meantime it has still been busy–the length and silkiness of the hair makes it a perfect wig for the 1840s!

As with all costumes, I first sat down and did a lot of staring at pictures, watching scenes, and planning. This mostly involves asking lots and lots of minute questions.

  • Her jacket has a soft texture. Is it suede, velveteen, or wool?
  • What are the large skirt-like panels made of?
  • What are the beads on the jacket? Do they sparkle?
  • Should I buy or make the pants?
  • Is the pattern on the jacket quilted or embossed?
  • Can I find leather/pleather seam binding in exactly the right shade of ivory, or do I have to make it myself?
  • How big are the grommets that hold her sleeves?
  • How are the sleeve cords tied?
  • Why didn’t whoever took the character shot edit out the tape spike on the floor? (Not relevant to the costume, just a question I have.)

And so on and so forth…

Some of these questions can only be answered by seeing the costume move onscreen, and some of them can’t be answered at all without seeing the costume in person. So, at the end of the day, I have to decide how I can most effectively reproduce the look with the information I have.

I don’t like to embark on a costume until I have the answers to at least most of my questions. I also like to know where all of my materials are coming from. I don’t want to get halfway through a project and suddenly realize that I can’t find the right fabric for one of the pieces, since that would put all the work I had done on hold until I found it.

The standout piece in this costume is, obviously, that jacket. I has so many stunning details! The beads on the sleeve attachments! The dramatic collar! The diamond pattern! The sparkly bit in the center of each diamond! I was very excited to get started.

After going back and forth many, many times, I decided to make the jacket out of cotton velveteen, and quilt the pattern into it.

While the velveteen was on its way, I started draping using a random scrap of upholstery fabric from my stash.

One of the trickiest things about the jacket is that large front dart. Rather than being straight, the dart seam is bent to follow the shape of the front edge of the coat. I had to fudge the line while draping, then adjust it flat while making sure to take out the same amount of fabric as I had on the dress form.
I cut the shape into one side of the back on the dress form, then folded it over and cut the other side so that it would be symmetrical.
The darts sewn in the mock-up, though not pressed yet. You can see how the dart follows the shape of the piece.

Next I draped the tabs at the bottom, but I don’t have pictures of that because I was busy live streaming it on my Facebook page! Head over there if you’d like to check out the process.

I draped the collar with canvas so that I could really see how the shaping at the points would look. The collar is all draped as a single piece, and has to blend in very gently to the front in order to create the correct shaping of the neckline.

The left half is the original piece I draped, the right half has been trimmed and shaped to my liking.

The sleeves are just two very simple shapes that are held to the body of the jacket and onto each other with strings. I ran out of my original orange scraps and moved on to some green ones.


The fabric hadn’t yet arrived when I finished draping all of the pieces, so I moved on to drawing out the quilting pattern. I started by blowing up a high resolution photo until the front tab was the same width as the piece I draped, so that I had an idea of what size the diamonds needed to be.


I measured out each line and drew the pattern on a large piece of tracing paper so that I could transfer it to large areas of fabric without need it to move the pattern around too many times.

The velveteen arrived! I cut the pattern out in velveteen, batting, and muslin for lining, so that it gets nice and thick and squishy when quilted.


I transferred the design to the muslin lining by pinning the pattern to it, and shining light from my phone behind it, then tracing the lines with a pencil.

It took me a few tries to figure out the best system for quilting all those tiny shapes. I did all of the outer diamond lines first, since they can be stitched straight across the piece from edge to edge. The largest inner diamonds came next. Each one has to be stitched individually. It first I was just jumping from one to the next, leaving all of the thread ends where they were to be dealt with later, but it didn’t take me long to realize that that was going to be overwhelming when it came to it. I started pulling the thread ends from each diamond through to the back and trimming them as soon as I finished stitching. This made whole pieces much less cluttered and easier to work with.

You can see that things were becoming a bit of a mess before I started trimming as I went.

The next size of diamond was done in exactly the same way.

You can see a few places where the thread got caught and wouldn’t come through (I’ll trim them closer than this), but for the most part everything is much neater.

The final small diamond and the horizontal lines that flatten down part of the diamond pattern will have to be done by hand. There are too few stitches in each of those lines to make it worth starting and stopping the machine and deal with the thread ends every time. By hand, I can stitch the lines, the diamond, and the central bead with a single thread.

Here’s where I am now: getting the pattern transferred onto more pieces while watching Pride and Prejudice!

I had better get back to quilting! I had originally hoped to have this costume done for our annual Halloween party, but all this quilting is making that look like a crazy idea! Unsurprisingly, it turns out I’m nuts and set myself crazy tasks. I’ll see you next week with more updates!



Sunflowers, Lavender, and Lemon Cake

Like so many exciting events, weddings have a way of seeming very far off until, all of a sudden, they are right on top of you. We were working towards the wedding for more than a year: planning, ordering things, sending invitations, figuring out the food and the cake, making the dress, but all of that seemed relatively leisurely, while the wedding was a sort of theoretical goal that would never actually arrive.

And then of course, out of nowhere, there was a week to go, and it was time to think about packing. We got married in Northern Michigan, on my parents’ property between Charlevoix and Petoskey.

Brandon and I drove up from Louisville five days before the wedding, and the wedding excitement started the moment we arrived, and didn’t stop until it was over. The first thing we got to see when my dad got home from work was this beautiful handmade arbor, which was still in his workshop, waiting to be moved to the ceremony location.

All photos by Stacie Lech/Lara Van Horn unless otherwise noted.

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The top bars have beautiful floral cutouts as well as the leaves up the sides. We can’t wait until we have our own house, so that we can find somewhere to set it up and grow flowers on it!

There was something to be done every moment for the next few days, including finishing the beading on my dress, which I managed on Thursday (the wedding was Saturday). Luckily, the property was chock-full of aunts, uncles, parents, siblings, and friends to help make everything happen.

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The lavender everywhere was grown by my Aunt Sandi. She brought nearly sixty bundles of it for us to use, and so we used it wherever we could! Can you think of a better scent memory to have of your wedding? I absolutely loved her idea of decorating the card cage with it!

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The tables were set with mis-matched china that we’ve been collecting at estate sales and thrift stores for the past year.

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My Aunt Robin used to be a florist, and we rather took advantage of her–she rose to the challenge beautifully, using flowers from grown by my mom and Aunt Sandi, and other flowers and greenery from around the property to make centerpieces, my bouquet, and decorate the arbor. Uncles Mark and Enn were put in charge of making the log slices.
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Cedar, lavender, and zinnias down the head table so that taller bouquets didn’t get in the way.
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The favors were little jars of tea from Bingley’s Teas. Julia doesn’t make this blend anymore (Sweet Romance–black tea with marzipan and roses), but she was willing to put together three pounds of it for us because I was so sad when I found out they were discontinuing it!
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My mom carved the stamp for us to use on the favor tags. We also used it on the programs.
Melissa helping to set up the cocktail table–we had three signature cocktails, one picked by us (Lavender Earl Grey Lemonade), one by our friends Brian and Amy (Mint Julep), and one by Melissa and Sam (Seelbach). The teacups from all our mismatched china were used as cocktail glasses! All of the cocktails were delicious–ours went perfectly with the decor (and our love of tea), and the others were great representations of our home in Louisville! Photo by me.

I was mostly involved with decorating, and running back and forth making sure things were running smoothly for everyone, but in the meantime:

It was a lemon cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. Each tier was filled with a different buttercream flavor: raspberry at the top, lavender in the middle, and strawberry in the bottom. I’m pretty sure I could eat it every day. My only regret is that I was too busy with all the excitement to eat more than one piece!
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My friend and former boss, Bradford Lewis, did the catering, and he prepared most of the Sicilian-inspired menu in my parent’s own kitchen with the help of my siblings and several aunts and uncles, as well as a few of his own helpers.
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The ceremony was behind my parents pond. We walked down this lavender-scattered aisle to get to the dais.
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Instead of rice, the guests got packets of wildflower seed to throw.
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We opened up one of the fields for camping to make the trip a bit easier for people who were traveling.

I spend the morning of the wedding running around until my friends had to drag me off to get ready (I’m not good at stopping when there are still things to be done).

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My friend Melissa making sure the important things get done.

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The shoes are from American Duchess–I can’t wait to work them into my 1920s interpretation now that the wedding is over!
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Robin showing me the bouquet.

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My coworker Hannah jumped in on my hair.
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My sister, Petra, getting the hang of the button hook while my mom watches.

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Melissa and Hannah sat me down and made me stop trying to do things myself.

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In the mean time, the boys were up at the house on the top of the hill (my Uncle Mark lives at the bottom, my grandparents lived at the top, and we’re in the middle).

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Sam jumped in on cocktails when I realized I had given myself waaaaay too much to do. And a good thing too, since he probably did way better than I would have done.
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I think my mom’s favorite thing about Brandon is how much he loves all of the fun socks she carries at Somebody’s Gallery.
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My sister put in a valiant effort to help my dad with his bowtie, but in the end we sent him up to the experts.
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Our dear friend (and officiant) Brian, Brandon’s dad, and Brandon. They insist that they don’t know what they were looking at.

Since Brandon and I had no wedding parties, and walked down the aisle together, we met up beforehand in a tent out of sight of the ceremony.

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My parents and my sister waking me to the tent.

The whole wedding day was such a blend of private moments and public moments. I’ve been backstage for plenty of shows, but there’s nothing quite like this one.

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Here she comes to save the day! In all the excitement, Melissa was the only one who noticed I’d left my bouquet behind!

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We are currently waiting behind some trees for everyone to arrive and get settled, and for Brian to cue the music change.
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Brian heading off to get things rolling.
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The music was performed by family friends Gretchen VanLoozen on the harp and Linda Hammond on flute. They played while the guests were arriving, and for the processional (Give Me Your Hand), and the recessional (Haste to the Wedding).
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Any minute now.

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The ceremony was quick, but absolutely perfect. Brian couldn’t have done a better job with what he said, and with organizing everything so it flowed nicely.

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Sadly, you can’t see Peppa (my parent’s dog) in the pictures when we’re walking up the aisle. She saw us coming and promptly stood up and walked down the aisle in front of us, then sat down like she’d been trained to do it.

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Everyone else headed over to the reception tent to get things started while we took photographs.

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There were grasshoppers everywhere! Including inside the lace on the godets of my dress! We were very careful in removing them, since accidentally squashing them sounded like bad luck.

After that, we got to join everyone else for cocktail hour!

I think this is the Lavender Earl Grey Lemonade (lemonade made with a lavender earl grey tea made in Louisville, and spiked with vodka). Photo by Meredith Stein.
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Us with my grandma’s sister. My grandmother died in January, and it was very important to Aunt Barbara, and to me, that she was able to be there representing her.

Getting to the reception was so much fun. Every time I turned around, there was another one of my favorite people!

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The finished cake! It turned out as gorgeous as it was delicious.
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The whole new family! Once again, Peppa the Wonder Dog just wandered up and posed perfectly at exactly the right moment. Except that she seems to think that she’s Brandon’s dad’s dog now.

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Brian called everyone to attention at the start of toasting time.

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So many happy people that I love!

And after toasts, of course it’s time for food!

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Everything was so delicious! Instead of putting things in chaffing dishes, the caterers were bringing out fresh platters all dinner so that everything was perfect no matter when you were grabbing it.

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I would like to go back here please.

One of my favorite parts of the evening: some family friends brought a broom for us to jump over!

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Brandon got some serious air.
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I was so afraid I wouldn’t make it, but here we are, safe and sound!
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My friend Amy helping to hike up my dress for dancing!
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Peppa guarding the tent.
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Our first dance was to “Rags to Riches”

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From there, it was an evening of dancing!

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And there was cake, of course!

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And more dancing:

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We even snuck off with the photographer when the light got really beautiful.

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All in all, I wouldn’t change a thing. Almost every aspect of the wedding was done by someone close to us. We are so lucky to be loved by such giving and talented people. I couldn’t have been happier to spend the day surrounded by the people I love having a good time.

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