Circe (Wonder Woman)

I made this costume in less than a day.

A good friend came to me requesting “a green dress” to borrow so that she could portray the Wonder Woman villain, Circe, in a photo shoot later that week. She provided the following image for reference.

Circe

I laughed, told her what I did have, knowing that none of my green dresses would pass for that. Then, my brain misinterpreted my shame at not being able to help as a challenge and got to work. I did a quick technical drawing of how I thought the dress could be executed with no more than an hour of work. (I was mid-Batgirl construction, one week before the debut.)

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Just to be sure I was on the right track, I checked the Web for wrap dress tutorials, but they required double the amount of fabric that I ended up having on hand, so I proceeded with Plan A. In the sketch, the wavy lines are ties, and there is a casing at each shoulder.

I found dark green fabric, about 2 yards, of unknown fiber content in the bundle that I got from my grandmother months ago. It had just the right cling/drape for what, in my head, was this dress, although I knew it was only going to be long enough for me (a shorty). I had a massive roll of lighter green twill tape for the multitudes of ties, which I thought would give it the right look. Turns out, they’re just annoying and probably need to be color-coded, but I still like them.

After the dress was complete, I ran to the discount hair and beauty shop down the street to pick up some fancy baubles to complete the look. I spent $10 on a pair of dangly earrings, two sets of bangles, two plastic side-opening bracelets, a metal slip-on bracelet, a cuff, and two necklaces. Like I said, “discount”. I took apart one of the necklaces and tacked down the metal bits to a pieces of gold holiday ribbon for a choker.

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For the belt, I attached gold holiday cording to a wide purple holiday ribbon (note the theme) and used more ribbon to tie it in the back.

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Construction took longer than an hour. Since I was making this for my own collection, but for someone else to debut, I wanted to finish all of the edges and really stitch down the ties to avoid replacing them later. All told, accessories included, it took about six hours.

Let me reiterate just how annoying it is when everything has to be tied on. Seriously, you need a second pair of hands to get into this costume. It needs a diagram. The deep V in the front makes this a specialty bra sort of dress, but fashion tape or a hidden pin in the right spot helps with coverage. While I love the costume, this dress is a glorified bed sheet–a very sexy bed sheet, but still.

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Here was my workflow for the dress:

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Diagram
Mark center front and back (A)
On front, measure down 17” [back = down 4″] and mark (B)
Measure 4” to both sides of top center ( C)
Draw lines between B and both C’s
Draw ½” from (D) seamline
Cut along E lines
Try on to check length of V-neck
Finish neck edges (narrow hem)
Finish long side edges (serge & turn)
Cut 2 strips 15” x 3”
Finish all strip edges
Pin casings to shoulders, matching centers
Stitch along casing edges from neck to shoulder, then down center
Cut ten 25” lengths of twill tape
– 2 in each shoulder – thread through casings, pin at inside edge, and stitch down
– 2 on each front side at waist
– 1 on each back side at waist, 8” in
Cut sleeve (34 <top> x 23 <wrist> x 14 <bottom> x 22 <diagonal> x 13 <shoulder>)
Stitch diagonal edge of sleeve
Finish wrist and shoulder edges
Mark sleeve at elbow
Tack up wrist edge (at fold) by folding and stitching on top
Cut six 20” sleeve ties
Cut two 28” arm ties
Attach ties to sleeve and to dress
Put on dress w/ belt
Mark placement for neckline accents
Mark the top of the thigh slits
Connect slit marks to bottom edge of dress
Stay stitch each side of each slit
Cut slits and narrow hem
Add black guards to hem
Tack O-rings to neckline points
Connect rings with chain

To wear:

  • Pull over head and slip right arm in sleeve
  • Secure front waist ties around back
  • Secure back waist ties around front
  • Secure belt over front and inside back of dress
  • Tuck hanging waist ties inside belt
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