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Make a Dandy Mad Hatter Costume

Updated on August 10, 2015
Source

Storybook Drama for Halloween

In 2008, I dressed up as the Mad Hatter for our elementary school's October storybook costume parade. Child after child asked me who I was. The Librarian (dressed as Little Bo Peep) and I lamented over our students not knowing this standard literary classic.The Alice in Wonderland Movie came out spring of 2010. That fall, I dressed up again for the parade. This time almost all the kids recognized me. "I know who you are! You're Johnny Dep!"

Just kidding, most knew I was the MAD HATTER. Actually not all kidding, I did get asked a lot if I was supposed to be Johnny Dep! During my music classes dressed in costume, I took some of my class time to explain how the phrase 'Mad as a Hatter' came about in real life. Now that this movie has been out, hopefully families will either read the book with their children or have them read it.

I made my Mad Hatter costume. The only thing I really had to buy was this great oversized hat and an inexpensive miniature tea set. You may need to fill in some things at a thrift shop.All photos are mine except where noted.

Start with the Hat - Try this on for size.

"I want a clean cup," interrupted the Hatter "let's all move one place on."

The Mad Hatter Hat

The Classic Mad Hatter Hat by elope
The Classic Mad Hatter Hat by elope

This hat rocks! It looks good and the best thing is, it has a little comfortable rim inside to keep it securely on your head. I could wear it almost all day successfully.

 

Twinkle, twinkle little bat!

How I wonder what you're at!

Up above the world you fly

Like a teatray in the sky.

--quote by Lewis Carroll in the public domain

by John Tenniel
by John Tenniel | Source

The Hatter in the Story

I found the Mat Hatter the most interesting character in Alice in Wonderland. Before I knew the real life details that in the 18th and 19th century, Hatters often started to act irrationally after becoming poisoned from the mercury they used to cure hats, I just thought he was quirky. I liked how he developed his own rules for his own idea of how you conduct a tea party. He had his own kind of sense like all the creatures in Wonderland and

Inspiration

Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Alice in Wonderland (2010)

To Rent or Buy Digitally. Well done adaption directed by Tim Burton.. Great actors and writing. Thought the heroine Alice was played beautifully.

 

Your Put-Together Costume

List of Items

  • Hat
  • Tea set necklace
  • White business man's shirt
  • Black pants that taper to the ankle (or you can pin them back to look more narrow.
  • Cane

Black Shoes

Source

Gloves

Source

Vest

Source

Coat with Tails

Source

How to Make a Tie-dye Coat with Tails

This coat required NO SEWING but a lot of TYING!

This particular coat was actually made to wear for my rock shows. A very talented bandmate (thanks Meegan) was designing clothes like this and selling them in East Village shops.

She made this for me. I can't tell you exactly her process, but here are the basics.The materials you'll need:

  • White cotton medical coat or lab coat(mine was an old one of my Dad's who was a physician)
  • White cotton string different thicknesess
  • Rit dye in several colors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Big rubber tubs
  • Nimble fingers (lots of dyeing, cutting, and tying)

Procedure: I'm pretty sure she dyed both the overcoat, and string - traveling from tub to tub, tying them with rubberbands and trying to get a gradient look. She may even have used rubber gloves. You may need to experiment on plain white cotton cloths first to make sure it's the way you want. Let it all air dry.Now the fun part, you need to design and then start cutting.

Some ideas:

Make tails for the lab coat

Add string fringe to hems and pockets

If you're brave, try to create a sleeve out of thin strips of cloth.

Have fun and make it your own!

Coat with Tails Photos - Made From a Lab Coat

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Overcoat lightOvercoat darkCoat from the backTop detailSleeve made of tied ragsFringe 1Fringe 2
Overcoat light
Overcoat light
Overcoat dark
Overcoat dark
Coat from the back
Coat from the back
Top detail
Top detail
Sleeve made of tied rags
Sleeve made of tied rags
Fringe 1
Fringe 1
Fringe 2
Fringe 2
Alice in Wonderland: Special Edition
Alice in Wonderland: Special Edition

To Rent or Buy Digitally. This TV movie from 1999 was surprisingly good. My favorite character was Gene Wilder as the Mock Turtle.

 

The Final Result

I did not wear makeup, but you can jazz it up with makeup and a wig like the movie, if you wish. You could also add a floppy bow tie or cravat. This costume can easily be adapted for a child.I used this every Halloween and every Costume Parade until I decided to change one year and become DJ Lance from Yo Gabba Gabba. Now EVERY kid knew who THAT was!

Source
The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition
The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition

I have this book and if you want to see how parts of Alice in Wonderland relate to the theories of relativity, to the physics of stretching space, time, and dimension; this book delivers and more. It also gives you interesting background information on the story as well as explaining some of the vocabulary.

 

'Why is a raven like a writing desk?' - Answer me that or send me pictures of YOUR Mad Hatter Costumes. I will post them!

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    • Kim Milai profile image
      Author

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @BarbaraCasey: Thank you. You know it's funny I've been using my iphone camera alot too, the pictures aren't bad.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 4 years ago

      Oh... well done! My new Squidoo mantra is... keep the camera handy. Love your pics.

    • Kim Milai profile image
      Author

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @girlfriendfactory: Thank you so much. I found out that the riddle is not meant to have an answer, but it's always fun to try to think of one.

    • girlfriendfactory profile image

      girlfriendfactory 4 years ago

      I haven't the slightest idea! ('tis fun to ponder, however!) I love this lens! Like so many, it's so wonderful because it has so many lovely, unique possibilities and won't set you out a fortune! Great job!

    • Kim Milai profile image
      Author

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @Muckypup: Yes orange is my favorite color and I just love DJ Lances character!

    • profile image

      Muckypup 4 years ago

      Pretty cool... Yo Gabba Gabba is awesome though!

    • Kim Milai profile image
      Author

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @roseambrose: Thank you, I love the tea party part and I love the part in through the looking glass called Wool and Water.

    • Kim Milai profile image
      Author

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @DebW07: Thank you, my students loved it but it made my own children embarrassed lol.

    • roseambrose profile image

      roseambrose 4 years ago

      What a great costume. I've always loved the Mad Hatters Tea party.

    • profile image

      DebW07 4 years ago

      You definitely looked the part of the Mad Hatter. Wonderful job!

    • Kim Milai profile image
      Author

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @rebecca-mathews1: Thank you, I've always loved the story. My favorite though is 'Through the Looking Glass' with the mirror and the land which is a giant chess board.

    • rebecca-mathews1 profile image

      rebecca-mathews1 4 years ago

      great costume and great lens

    • Kim Milai profile image
      Author

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @LisaAuch1: Thank you :)

    • hkhollands profile image

      hkhollands 4 years ago

      I really like your ideas here, especially the tea set necklace.

    • Kim Milai profile image
      Author

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @hkhollands: Thank you so much!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 4 years ago from Scotland

      I love it!! how utterly fabulous!

    • Kim Milai profile image
      Author

      Kim Milai 4 years ago

      @mcstacy: Hi McstacyI'm glad it was entertaining, thank you. I'm glad to introduce this character because I like it so much. Looking forward to see your upcoming lenses.Kim

    • mcstacy profile image

      mcstacy 4 years ago

      Love your outfit!!! Believe or not, I had no idea who the mad hatter was. Your outfit is genius. Great lens and very entertaining.

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