They may not have learned their French history yet, but many girls would love dressing up in Josephine's glamorous Empire-style gown with period jewelry and a fancy updo. With a few clever tricks, you can produce this look with a needle and thread and a minimum of skill: Josephine's dress is fashioned from lengths of inexpensive cotton, with elastic to cinch the top and create a gathered bodice; another piece of fabric becomes the shrug and sash. Use crystal beads to make a choker, necklace, and bracelets fit for an empress.

Adjust the measurements below to make a gown for a younger child (our Josephine is 10) or an adult.


What you need


How to do it

Part 1

halloween costume how to josephine
Step 1

For the gown, cut fabric into two 80-inch-long pieces. Place one on top of the other (the dress will have a double layer of fabric). Make two 3/8-inch channels for elastic by sewing 4 seams parallel to the selvage; make the channels 3/4 inch down from the top and 3 3/4 inches from the top. Sew the cut ends of fabric together (leaving openings at channels for elastic), making a wide tube. Use a safety pin to thread elastic through channels, as shown; adjust fit (our elastic is 21 inches long), and stitch elastic ends to secure. Tack gold ribbon in place for shoulder straps.

Step 2

For the shrug/sash, cut a 3-yard piece of the same fabric; cut in half lengthwise. Stitch pieces together at one short end, making one long strip; hem cut ends. To wear, center fabric over shoulders, then wrap it under arms from front to back and around back; bring fabric ends around waist to the front and then to the back again; tie ends in back to secure.

halloween costume how to josephine
Step 3

For choker, cut metallic lace trim to 22 inches. Add glass beads: Thread bead onto a head pin; use pliers to make a small loop just above bead. Use wire cutters to cut off excess wire. Hook loop into lace trim. Add more beads, as desired.

halloween costume how to josephine
Step 4

For bracelets, thread beads onto silver cord; knot ends. Or simply wrap ball chain around wrist.

halloween costume how to josephine
Step 5

For necklace, following package instructions, glue rhinestones into the flower setting. String onto ball chain.

Step 6

For hair accessories, use tacky glue to adhere flowers to bobby pin blanks and metal combs.


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