Sarah Williams (Hallucination ball) - Labyrinth




I chose to make this costume as I've been obsessed with the film Labyrinth ever since I first saw it a couple of years ago.

That film is simply timeless, Brian Froud's designs are beautiful and quirky and very, very fey, and they're so beautifully executed by Jim Henson's puppetry. And the way everything is covered in glitter...

I'm also very similar to the character of Sarah myself- the obvious similarity being that we share the same name (which, tellingly, means 'princess'!), but she held onto her childhood innocence, she dressed up in fantastical costumes and acted out plays by herself, and locked herself away in a world where she was understood, because her only friends were inside her own head.

I couldn't really make the costume she wears for most of the film, as it consists of a poet shirt, a wedding waistcoat...and a pair of jeans. Not only is this not suitable for a ball, I wouldn't be allowed in!

So I decided I would make the beautiful gown that Sarah finds herself in when she slips into a peach-induced hallucination of a faery ballroom, complete with masked, mocking revelers.

It's a shimmering, possibly silver, possibly white, iridescent confection, with a simply massive skirt, a gorgeous off-the-shoulder neckline, and hugely puffed sleeves that narrow tight to the lower arm, ending in delicate points over the hands. The fitted bodice laces at the back, and is absolutely encrusted with beading and embroidery.

Her jewelery is opulent and silver with crystal beads- the necklace is ostentatious, the earrings drip from her ears, and she wears swirling silver wire decorations in her hair, with delicate silver leaves and trailing ribbons. The hair, needless to say, is hairsprayed and curled and backcombed to ridiculous proportions, it being an 80s film, but somehow it works...

Once I had found the right pattern, it was surprisingly easy to make the dress, but finding the pattern was a mission in itself. I wanted the off-the shoulder bodice, and sleeves that could easily be altered to that gorgeous almost-80s double-puff, but I couldn't find a modern wedding dress pattern that even had the bodice. Then I remembered the decade the film was made in, and searched eBay for vintage 80s wedding dress patterns. I found the perfect pattern- the bodice was off-the shoulder, and it had options for three different sleeves. I ended up combining two of the sleeve patterns, one on top of the other, to make the final sleeves!

I didn't however, use the pattern for the skirt. I already knew that the bodice of the dress would be one piece, and the skirt another, as I'd seen that they were seperate in the film from a still where she's bending over to pick up a chair.
I'd given in when buying fabric and bought it from the only place I could find that did iridescent crinkle organza (the closest match to the fabric in the film)- but they only sold in bulk, 10m or more!

Needless to say, I had LOTS of fabric to work with. I discovered that both the organza and the fabric I was backing it with (bog-standard white polycotton)were the same width, and that this measurement was exactly the right length for my skirt, even over the crinoline and layers of net I would be I made the skirt from a tube of fabric that I then gathered to a waistband! Easy as pie!

My one regret is that I didn't persuade one of my friends to come with me as the Goblin King, but I doubt he would have consented to wear those crotch-enhancing leggings!


InfiniteJester posted on 4 February, 2010 - 18:03
wow awesome dress!

PokethePixie posted on 9 August, 2010 - 17:27
I remember u! ^^ u looked beautiful in that dress :D xxx