Alice Dress

comments: 230

We saw the movie Alice in Wonderland a few months ago. I thought Alice's dresses in this were so wonderful. She changes clothes several times throughout the movie, but this version of the classic blue-and-white was my favorite:

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That blue is such a great color. The fabric looks like silk organza, or organdy — that crispy-yet-light sort of texture that has something in common with phyllo pastry. You imagine layers, and layers, and layers — each one rather transparent, together adding up to that wonderful matte opaqueness that translates into a feeling of a particular weight, somehow: I love the feeling of wearing layers like that. I've only done it a very few times (my wedding dress was a froth of layers), but for some weird reason, that sensation of wearing all of those layers stands in my memory as one of my favorite sensory experiences, along with holding my hands under just the right temperature of water, or the smell of lilacs, or kissing a corgi puppy on her cheek. I guess it sounds weird, but frequently I think about clothes purely in terms of their weight.

I started thinking about the Alice dress. It's reputation preceeds it. Is there a more recognizable dress — or interpreted — dress?

PeterNewell1890
Alice in Wonderland, Peter Newell, 1890

MarjorieTorrey
Alice in Wonderland, Marjorie Torrey, 1955 

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Alice and the Pack of Cards, Arthur Rackham, 1907. (I did my college senior thesis on Arthur Rackham and have always loved his work, and his calico Alice.)

Alice-in-wonderland
Alice in Wonderland, George Dunlop Leslie, 1879. (This is just so gorgeous in so many different ways I couldn't even think of anything to say or think about it.)

So I just got to work. Here is my Alice Dress.

Alice1

PATTERN: Overdress: Open Crescent Set from Christening Sets to Crochet by Kay Meadors. Underdress: McCalls 6552 (vintage), view B (without collar or buttons)
SIZE: 4
YARN: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Quilla
FABRIC: Cotton lawn from Mill End Store; buttons and ribbon from The Button Emporium

It's made from a crocheted dress pattern that was written for bedspread weight cotton thread and a 1.65mm hook to fit a newborn. I did it in sock-weight yarn with a 2.5mm needle, leaving the sleeves off, but otherwise doing the pattern exactly as written. When I finished, I measured it out to be a standard size 4, chest-circumference- and armhole-depth-wise. Just goes to show how important gauge is, I guess! 

McCalls6552

I rummaged through my collection of vintage children's sewing patterns (someday must do a post just about these — they are all so beautiful) to see what I had in a size 4, and found this little dress to use for the underdress. I wanted something very simple in a very lightweight fabric to go underneath. This cotton lawn was like sewing a butterfly wing. It was so fine and floppy, like the perfect summer nightgown weight. Even lighter than that. A bit hard to sew. But, oh does it feel wonderful. The gores in the skirt give the whole thing this wonderful fullness, too (though you really can't see them in the photo). I really adore the shape of this little dress.

Alice4

It has oyster shell buttons going all the way down the back, but I guess I forgot to take a photo just of all of those. Here is the back of the ensemble together, though:

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It also has a murky-dark greenish-gray silk embroidery ribbon woven through the eyelet rows. With black tights and shoes, of course.

Alice3

I tucked the sleeves in so you could see how full the sides really are. I ran out of yarn at the very end, and didn't make the picot edging I planned to make. In fact, I ran out of yarn once in the middle and had to order another skein, which stalled me out for a while, and I wasn't sure I was going to finish. (There are 760 yards of yarn in this dress!!!) But once I got going again, I kept at it. This is possibly one of the fanciest things I have ever crocheted. And oh, so fun to do an interpretation of something so classic like this. In the end, the whole thing just made me happy. Especially since we share our name, I hope Miss Alice herself would be pleased with this (but knowing her, she probably wouldn't :-). I do love that girl.

*On an unrelated note, does anyone have any recommendations for a TV series (that has several seasons already) that would be kind of like Alias? I am really in the mood for a DVD marathon like that but can't think of something similar. . . .

230 comments

Oh. My. Heavens. So many DCs!! This is gorgeous.

BEautiful beyond words. All little girls should have such lovely things to wear. I love to (adequately) make lovely pajamas so I have been sewing them and giving them to foster children, but my creations are nothing compared to yours.

Your "Alice" dress is very, very "wonderland" beautiful!!!! I love it!

That picture by, George Dunlop Leslie, has so much depth and emotion. Mother and daughter reading, their clothing, the doll, couch (I want it!)....OH my!!!! Heavenly!! :)

The series 24 you might like. Everyone says it is better than Alias. (Nothing compares to Alias though). The dress is amazing. Please be sure to keep all of these to give to your daughter when she's a mother.

Alicia, your "Alice" dress is adorable. Dang, you're talented.

Mrs. Paulson you are wickedly genius!:)

Oh, my goodness. I was in love all of Alice's dresses!!!!

Alicia, have you all watched Firefly?

Also MI-5 (British) is great, but very violent sometimes. But you'd like Matthew MacFadyen in it. (He's just in the first season, I think. Maybe also the second.)

We also liked the newer Dr. Who with Christopher Eccleston as the Doc, although all my friends say subsequent seasons with other Doctors are even better.

suneeta says: May 25, 2010 at 01:34 AM

You are killing me with all these beautiful dresses. I'm so jealous. I haven't been able to make anything for my 5 yr old girl for over a year now! I think you have the right idea by making all these handmade lovelies before life gets too busy!

Oh my gosh! I love your Alice dress more than anything! It's so gorgeous, and I'm in love with it. Fantastic job. I haven't seen the movie, but I've always been a big fan of Alice in Wonderland.

oh your little girl is going to have the most exquisite wardrobe, and feel so loved. I can't imagine having so many many beautiful things handmade by my mother with so much love, what a treasure trove!! :)

I just love it! Love that you added the crochet dress on top. Simply adorable!

I love that shade of blue.The crochet work is gorgeous! Such a sweet dress!

I love that shade of blue. The crochet work is gorgeous!

Wow - Wow - Wow! :-)

And you even used BLUE MOON for the overdress. Yum. The whole thing is just delicious. I like how you folded the arms in at that last photo....just like the little arms that will be in there someday!!!

Also - you have managed in this dress to single-handedly restore some innocence to the Alice In Wonderland imagery...I know everyone is crazy for the new movie, but...I like what you did here. :-)

This is my personal favorite whenever I look at it the Alice dress makes me happy for some reason. Have you seen Bernet Cottontots? Too cute

Oh Alicia, how perfectly perfect! I wish I were a little girl wearing it. The crocheted overdress brought back a long ago memory. My mama sewed all my clothing (well she may have bought underpants). Since I was not the frilliest girl most of them were playclothes; shirts, pants, shorts. But one time my grandma came to visit us and stayed for over a month. And while there, she made me some nightgowns. Crocheted yokes in varigated colors of threads and the gown parts were made of SATIN. Wonderful pinks, and peaches and blues. How did she know I wanted them? I didn't even know. But long after I had outgrown them, I still remembered going to bed feeling like a princess!

Suffering from a silly name, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was unbelievably terrific, and I used Alias as a poor substitute marathon for that when the series ended. I, too, laughed at the show until I lost a bet with some programmers at work who made watch a handful of episodes and write a "book report." Stunning combination of fun, scary, campy, angsty, smart, heartbreaking and sci-fi-ish all in one. The characters are just lovely, the dialogue great fun, and the metaphors worthy. The first season is shorter, and doesn't hold up as well over time, but an important foundation to the series. Try it, maybe...?

You are, quite simply, amazing. I am not going to bother reading the other comments because I know that is going to be the most overused word...but you are. This is delightful! What a lucky and lovely little girl your daughter will be. May she find you soon...

a -

i just screamed inside my head. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. you are the crochet queen.

the costumes were definitely my favorite part of the movie (the rest i didn't care for honestly). i especially love the details like the striped fingerless gloves. (colleen atwood is so good with such details.)

xo

Brittany says: May 28, 2010 at 07:17 AM

The dress is amazing, and as for dvd suggestions...well:

Leverage
Burn Notice
White Collar
Chuck

Hope one of those series strikes your fancy!

I love this dress. It is so pretty! You should put it up on ebay after your little one out grows it so that I can buy it.
; )

beautiful! did you see the cw are doing another la femme nikita series just called nikita? not sure if it will be good or not, but might help with the alias cravings. there is also the 60's show the girl from u.n.c.l.e. that might work for you. it only aired for one season, but you might be able to find it.

Your dresses are wonderful! What a very lucky little girl! You are so talented!

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.