Millicent, my Halloween witch, has greeted trick or treaters for twenty years now. She’s worn the same black robe with orange and green trim, the same hat made from a foam sheet and borne the same sign all this time. I decided it was time to update her look when I ended up with several large scraps of Halloween fabric from making my Halloween skirt.
In many ways, Millicent is a testament to my early adult crafting days. I made her when I was twenty-five and starting to figure out what I wanted “home” to look like. That history is reflected in my material choices and in the way I made her: from the hot glue I used to attach the sign and her hat, to the way I stitched up the back of her robe to shape it. All of it speaks to someone in a hurry to get the project finished, putting little care or thought into the making. The funny thing is, back then I had much more free time than I do now.
Just to get the robe off of Millicent I had to remove the sign and hat, both stuck on with hot glue. Removing the hat destroyed it and her hair. At that point I knew I would be doing more than just sewing a new dress. I was going to remake her with care and consideration, while still honoring the vision of home I had when I was twenty-five.
The dress itself was easy enough to put together. The skirt is a full circle and the bodice a kimono shape from the book, The Real Book About Making Dolls and Doll Clothes by Catherine Roberts, which is where I got the pattern for Millicent. I gathered the sleeves and neckline after putting the dress on her and covered the waist seam with a ribbon belt.
The hat is made from felt, modelled loosely off of the previous one. I kept her little candy and jack-o-lantern charms because they’re adorable. And since the hat is felt it will stay put on her head without any need for glue.
I considered sanding down the sign and remaking it. I even went so far as to pull off the plastic charms and foam lettering from the wood. But I decided I wanted to stick with a sewing theme and so put together the cross stitch design. The little flourish is pulled from the book Disegni Per Punto Croce which is part of a collection of out of print cross stitch books you can find at the Antique Pattern Library.
If you want to make your own Happy Halloween sign, you can download the chart for the design here.
I attached the sign with stitching this time around. Hot glue has its place, just not with my Halloween witch.
Millicent is now ready to greet another 20 years of trick-or-treaters in her new dress.