Finished Objects

The Makings of a Space Witch

I’m so excited to share my “Halloween” (let’s be honest, I’ll wear it as a cocktail dress) Space Witch dress! But first and foremost, a HUGE thank you to my friend and neighbour Annika for taking such lovely pictures of me in our yard. She did an amazing job and I’m so grateful to have such lovely people living below me.

From initial concept to the final details, this dress was a labour of love. It was so worth it because I’m just absolutely in love with everything – how it fits, the ombre skirt, how whimsical it is, everything!

If you want to see the entire process, keep reading! Also, scroll or click here to see the rest of the photoshoot.

The Inspiration

The idea of space witch was born when I was browsing a new drop from Fabcycle, a deadstock fabric seller. I came across this gorgeous netting:

Roxanne is holding up a black mesh fabric with silver foil stars.
Oooo shiny!

I knew immediately that I wanted it. For years now, designs like Linda Friesen’s Midnight Magic wedding gown and Safiya Nygaard’s custom wedding reception dress have been living rent free in my brain. Do I have any upcoming formal events? Nope. Do I want to be a pretty space princess anyways? Hell yeah I do.

Shortly after putting all 3m available in my cart, my brain starting whispering “space witch… space witch…” and I knew I had to make a Space Witch dress that I could wear this Halloween.

The Evolution

If you don’t know, I’m also a watercolor artist. The thing is, 2020 and 2021 have been really difficult art years for me. I just haven’t wanted to paint. But one night while sitting at my desk watching YouTube, I felt the need to plan out my space witch dress on paper.

Here’s the first iteration of Space Witch:

A watercolour painting of a dress. It's modelled after the Deer and Doe Orchidée dress, and is purple fading to indigo with silver stars.
Space Witch 1.0

The first thing I knew about this dress is that I wanted to have a purple to indigo/black ombré and a full, swishy skirt. These two design elements stayed for the final design.

At first, my plan was to use Deer and Doe’s Orchidée dress pattern. I’ve made it before, so I wouldn’t need to do any fitting and I do love the design of the dress. But over time, I kept thinking about other patterns.

Some of the candidates were:

  • Lydia Naomi’s Milkmaid dress – shelved because there’s a whole lot of issues with the pattern that I’d need to work out, including sizing issues and the fact that there’s no written instructions
  • Vogue V1172 – decided that I wanted sleeves and it would be too difficult to adapt the armhole (definitely making this dress in the future though!)
  • Vogue V8615 – I love this dress and I’ve made it before, but I’ve since lost weight and the lowest size in the envelope (16) is too large for me now

After working through these patterns, I decided I wanted a vintage-inspired look, so I started browsing for some vintage dress inspiration. I came across this gorgeous purple dress by Gertie:

The bodice and sleeves were exactly what I was looking for! The dress also inspired me to try a square neckline for the first time. I’ve debated picking up the Night and Day dress for awhile now, but honestly I have so many fit and flare dress patterns that I figured I could use one of those for a base.

I chose McCall’s M6887. At first glance, it certainly doesn’t look similar to the Gertie dress above. However, I chose it because:

  • It’s a simple princess-seamed bodice, so I could transform it into anything
  • The pattern comes with cup sizes! McCall’s size 14 C cup usually fits me quite well, so alterations would be minimal
  • It has sleeves! No fussing about trying to alter the armscye to fit sleeves – all I needed to do was lengthen and create the puff part of the sleeve.

Pattern Changes and Adjustments

The Square Neckline

Seriously the easiest design change I’ve ever done! I kind of winged it by measuring from my shoulder to how deep I wanted my neckline to be, and then creating a square neckline on the pattern piece using that measurement as a guide.

Fitting the Bodice

Like I mentioned, McCall’s 14 C cup bodices fit me pretty well right off the bat! I made a muslin, and found that I needed to take it in above my bust, and at the shoulders closest to my neck.

Roxanne is taking a mirror selfie in a muslin of the McCall's M6887 bodice. It is made of a yellow fabric and is pinned above the shoulders and bust.
The first muslin

I think the shoulder adjustment works out to be similar to a square shoulder adjustment, but I’m not sure since it’s something I’ve never had to do! Regardless, my simple lopping off the 1/2″ or so at the neckline and blending it to the original seam line at the shoulder worked!

I also ended up adding about 1/2″ at the waist for a bit more ease. This makes sense because size 14 is drafted for a 28″ waist, and I’ve been trending around 28.5″ lately. Also adding some more room means being comfortable for when I inevitably eat an entire bag of fun-sized candy bars on Halloween (sorry trick or treaters).


Using the sleeves from my McCalls M8033 and this tutorial as reference, I lengthened the sleeve piece and then slashed and spread the top and bottom.


I knew I wanted a very full, very swishy skirt, but I was also limited by how much fabric I had. I had 3m of the netting and 3m of the base fabric (both being 60″ wide), so I did some fun circle maths to determine what I could fit on them. I couldn’t quite fit a full circle skirt, so I decided to do a 3/4 circle skirt and divide it into four quadrants.

In the past, I’ve used this By Hand London tutorial, but I also found this blog post incredibly helpful, especially the table of skirt dimensions.

With the pattern sorted, I was ready to get sewing! But first, it was time to dye my fabric.

Dying the Fabric Part 1: #GrimaceLife

A gif of Grimace from McDonald's land waving.
Basically me.

I couldn’t find a purple fabric in 100% cotton at my Fabricland. There was a poly/cotton broadcloth in the perfect shade of purple, but since it was over 50% polyester, I didn’t want to struggle with getting the dye to work properly. Instead, I picked up a white 95% cotton, 5% spandex stretch poplin. For dye, I got 3 bottles of Rit in purple, indigo and black.

My first step was to dye all 3m of the poplin with the purple dye. I added a touch of the indigo as well to get a richer purple. Not sure about the ratio because I kind of winged it! For this amount of fabric, I found it easiest to fill a large Rubbermaid tote in my bathtub.

A dye bath in a rubbermaid tote in a bathtub. There is fabric in the bath and it's a very saturated blue-purple.
The most satisfying blurple

Of course, once you wash out the dye and dry it, it’s usually a less saturated colour. But it turned out really nice!

Purple fabric is being held up in the light next to a balcony door.
*Chef’s kiss*

Dying the Fabric Part 2: Making a Big ‘Ol Mess

I decided that I wanted the ombré to start on the skirt so I sewed the skirt together and basted the centre back seam where the zipper would go. I then clipped the skirt to a hanger so that it would hang evenly and dampened it so the dye would (hopefully) apply evenly.

Once again, I mixed up my dye formula (mostly indigo with a touch of black – again, sorry, I winged it!), but this time in a smaller, “under-the-bed” plastic tote in the bathtub. I put my bath tray over top so I could prop the hanger up on it. Here’s the basic setup:

The purple skirt is clipped to a hanger and hung over a dye bath in a plastic tote in a bathtub.
Just call me McGuyver!

Essentially, over the course of an hour and a half or so, I dipped the skirt in and out of the dye bath. I started by quickly dipping up to the point where I wanted the ombré to start, then dipped less and less skirt into the dye bath. As I got closer to the bottom, I left the fabric in the dye bath longer. The final section (shown in the pic above) was left in for 30 minutes.

After I was satisfied, I rinsed the skirt thoroughly, then tossed it in the washing machine for another rinse. After drying, it looked like this:

A flat lay of a 3/4 circle skirt. It is purple fading to indigo at the bottom.

I was super happy with how the dye turned out, but when I laid the netting over it? I was *smitten*.

The same skirt from above, but with the black and silver netting laid over it.
My vision was coming to life!

Side Note: Cleaning the Tub

I’m a renter who will be moving across the country in the New Year, so I have a particularly strong interest in keeping my bathtub clean. I’m also a former emo kid, so I’m basically a pro at getting dye stains out of the tub. Here’s my advice:

  • Don’t clean the tub before dying. The dye will stick to the soap scum, making it easier to clean up!
  • You can also coat your tub in conditioner, but I didn’t bother.
  • Bar Keepers Friend is also your friend! This is the product I use. You’ll definitely want to test this on an inconspicuous spot first – don’t want to be wrecking the finish on your tub! If it’s fine, sprinkle it all over the tub and get to scrubbing with a scrub brush. For me, the dye came right off!
  • For smaller, tougher dye stains, whitening toothpaste works fantastic!

Construction Details

I cut all the dress pieces out in both the poplin and the netting, doubling up on the bodice pieces of the poplin so that I could line the bodice. Attaching the netting to the fabric was a bit different for the bodice and the skirt.

I decided to sew the netting and poplin as a single piece for the bodice so I put on a TV series I wanted to binge and hand-basted them together. It took awhile, but was worth the time to not have the netting shift while sewing the bodice. Once the bodice was together, I attached the sleeves.

I sewed the lining pieces together separately, and then sewed the bodice and bodice lining together at the neckline, stopping 5/8″ from the centre back. I understitched the neckline as well and gave it a try on.

Roxanne is wearing a bodice with a square neck and flared mesh sleeves. The main bodice fabric is purple with a black mesh overlay with silver foil stars.
So tired, but so excited!

For the skirt, I sewed the netting separately from the poplin (which was already sewn together for the dying step), leaving the centre back seam open for the zipper. I then basted the skirts together and sewed them to the bodice.

A dress on a dress form. The dress is McCall's M6887, but with a square neck, long mesh sleeves and a 3/4 circle skirt. The fabric is purple, fading to indigo, with a black mesh with silver foil stars over it.
Oooooooooo! Ahhhhhh!

My next step before putting in the zipper was to decide how I wanted to finish the centre back seam on the skirt. After much lamenting, I decided to leave the netting unfinished and use bias binding for the poplin. I ended up hand-stitching the bias binding down for neatness.

After attaching the zipper to the bodice (not the lining) and the skirt, it was time for more hand-stitching. At the armholes, I basted the lining along the 5/8″ seam allowance, clipped around the curve and then carefully stitched it to the edge of the armhole so that all the seam allowances were folded towards the bodice.

The inside and outside view of the dress bodice with the lining hand-stitched to the armhole.
Here’s how it looks from the inside and the outside

Next, I stitched the bodice lining down on either side of the zipper, and along the waist, covering the waist seam allowance. At the bottom of the zipper, stitched the netting and poplin together for a few inches, then clipped the lining and flipped it to the ouside so that I could sew the centre back seams separately.

The inside view of the invisible zipper. The seam allowances are finished with black bias tape.
Here’s the zipper from the inside.

The sleeves were simply finished by sewing a channel and adding elastic.

Roxanne has put her hand in a sleeve that is gathered at the cuff with elastic. The fabric is mesh, so you can see her giving a thumbs up.

Finishing the Hem

Finishing the netting was easy – I just left it with a raw edge! Yay for things that don’t fray!

For the poplin part of the skirt, the first thing I did was level the hem. You can do this in a few different ways. Usually I’ll either lay the skirt down on the floor or put the skirt/dress on my dress form and measure from the waistline, marking the shortest length all the way around the skirt. It’s honestly quite an annoying process but it’s worth it.

To hem the poplin part of the skirt, I used this horesehair braid method from Gertie’s old blog. This is one of my favourite methods for finishing curved hems. It’s not the fastest, but it’s a surefire way to avoid any twisting along the hem and it gives a fantastically voluminous finish.

A detail view of a hem finished with horsehair braid seen from the inside and outside.
3 hours later…

Hat Time!

With the dress finished, I decided to make a hat using this tutorial. I picked up some “medium” felt from my local Fabricland, and crafted the base hat.

Roxanne is taking a mirror selfie wearing a plain black witches hat, a floral dress and a brown, wool cardigan.
I’m actually a cozy Forest Witch

To decorate the hat, I used some of the leftover netting and some purple tulle that I picked up when I was crazy enough to think I wanted to make a petticoat. My method here was, again, to kind of wing it. I wrapped the netting around the cone of the hat and stitched it down to look a bit pleated/gathered. To make the tulle “flowers”, I folded a strip of tulle over and over and then cut along the folds (similar to how you’d make a pom pom out of yarn), then stitched through the middle and attached it to the hat.

A witch's hat decorated with purple tulle flowers and black mesh fabric with silver foil stars.

I decided last minute to line the bottom with the netting. To do this, I cut out the brim shape, with a few extra inches around the edge. I hand-stitched it around the head hole (um, probably not the correct terminology there), then wrapped it around to the top of the brim and clipped it down. I then edge-stitched with my machine around the edge of the brim, and trimmed the netting close to that stitch.

The underside of the witches hat brim is covered with the same black mesh with silver foil stars fabric.


I sewed a couple accessories last minute, including a matching mask and a bowtie for my very handsome cat-son.

The most handsome tuxedo cat with green-yellow eyes is looking at the camera. He is wearing a purple bowtie that is covered with black mesh with silver foil stars.
But seriously, he’s so cute.

Here’s the rest of the photos! Happy Halloween!!

One thought on “The Makings of a Space Witch

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