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Tweedledee and Tweedledum Costumes

Updated on June 20, 2015
The author as Tweedledum
The author as Tweedledum

As you may have figured out by now, Hollie and I are Disney freaks, and one of the things we wanted to do when we got our Annual Passes was to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. We wanted to go in costume, so we had to figure out exactly what to wear. For reference this took place in 2011.

A little background on me: I’ve been onstage all my life and I attended Penn State as a theatre major. One of the things that every undergraduate in my department had to do was take beginning costume design. That meant we had to learn how to sew, and what a great skill that was to learn. Not only have I made more money as a costume designer/stitcher than I ever did as an actor, but I always have pretty cool costumes for Halloween.

We decided to go as Tweedledee and Tweedledum from Alice in Wonderland. When I asked her which one I was, she responded “Which do you think?”

Mary Blair's concept design
Mary Blair's concept design
Tweedledee and Tweedledum from the1951 film
Tweedledee and Tweedledum from the1951 film | Source

One thing we both agreed on was that we wanted to wear the costumes from the original 1951 animated movie and not the recent Tim Burton film. We liked the original use of color and that is the film that both of us grew up watching. We also love the work of animator Mary Blair.

I want to take a moment and mention the awesomeness of Mary Blair. She joined the Disney team of animators in the 1940s and worked on Dumbo. She was one of the few women animators working in a mostly male-dominated world. She was one the animators who flew with Walt down to South America and they came up with The Three Caballeros. When they returned to the studio, Mary was the concept artist for Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan. After she left the studio, Walt asked her to design the attraction “It’s a Small World,” and she designed a mosaic that can be seen in Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Mary Blair
Mary Blair | Source
Mural at Contemporary Resort
Mural at Contemporary Resort

As in most cases I had to use a few different pieces to complete the look. Attempting to adhere as close as possible to the Mary Blair original design, I used a combination of three different patterns. For the shirt, I used a cowboy shirt (I used the Simplicity pattern #2895. Whenever I use a commercial pattern I will credit it). I chose a color of the fabric only after I located the socks and tried to match the colors as simply as possible.

For the collar I found a collar used for a pilgrim dress (Simplicity #5041). One of the neat things about costume design is that you never know exactly where you are going to find the piece you need. A collar here, a sleeve there.

For the pants I selected traditional breeches (Simplicity #4923). One of the things I started doing here and have continued to do was to make pockets in the pants, which was not in the pattern, but it’s always a good idea. When you go to a theme park, you need to carry your keys, your wallet, your money, your camera, etc. Also consider you’re going on rides. Imagine getting back to your car to discover you lost your keys on Space Mountain.

Hollie as Tweedledee
Hollie as Tweedledee

The hats were a little difficult. I used a baseball hat as a template, making a pattern out of six triangles. For the flags, we were at a loss, we eventually came up with using a nut and bolt through the cap and painted it. A few years later, I was in a Halloween shop and saw that they released a commercial version of their hats and collars. At first I was angry because I could have used them, but I’m glad I made them myself. In hindsight I wish I would have embroidered their names on the collar like in the film.

The reaction we received in the park was great. Other people dressed as Alice characters came and took pictures with us, and we saw a few people dressed in the Burton-style costumes, but we were the only ones doing it old-school. We even had a few cast members genuinely compliment us, but the best part of all was when we got our pictures taken with the Queen of Hearts, who looked like she was going to have a fit. The positive reaction only made us eager to plan for next year…

Thinking of next year!
Thinking of next year!


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