When we were kids, our dress-up bins were filled with hand-me-downs and costumes of past Halloweens. But if you’re Lane, dress-up is on a completely other level. That’s because her mom Jennifer, creates the most amazing Disney-inspired costumes for Lane to wear on their weekly visits to Walt Disney World and captures all the magic through her Instagram account.
We, like many of Lane and Jennifer’s fans, love watching what costume Jennifer will think of next for her daughter. So, we talked with her and got the inside scoop on all things costume making, and the Disney adventures Lane is having in her enchanting dresses.
Before Lane was born, costume making and Disney were always big parts of Jennifer’s life. “I grew up going to Disney (World). I actually went all the time with a cousin of mine who is my same age. His family bought me a pass when we were kids, so I would go all the time with him,” said Jennifer.
“I learned how to sew when I was 18 years old and a few years later I started working at a fabric store. That’s probably where I gained most of my expertise. I learned a lot about fabric, and a lot about techniques from the other seamstresses that worked there and shopped there. Later, I started making a lot of costumes for family members and for myself to cosplay.”
While Lane’s costume days started when she was only 10 days old (Jennifer made Lane an Ariel mermaid tail) the first “fancy” dress she made for Lane was Cinderella’s ballgown. “I was in Goodwill one day and I saw this shower curtain that was this fabric with a beautiful print and it made me think of Cinderella’s dress. So, I took it home and I dyed it blue and I made her first dress. When she wore it to the park, everybody went nuts and I’m laughing the whole time because it’s a shower curtain.”
To create the dresses, Jennifer upcycles materials like curtains, sheets, and second-hand dresses from thrift stores. “As much as I love to sew, I have to work within a budget. So most of my inspiration comes not just from the characters I like, but from the materials that I can find. If I can make it out of thrift store (materials) I will do that.”
And inspiration can strike at any time, like Lane’s Jane Porter dress from Tarzan. “That dress is such a distinct bright yellow color. I was in Goodwill one day and I’m walking by and I see this tablecloth that is this great bright yellow and it just screamed Jane to me. It challenges me too, because I have a limited amount of fabric, but I make it work. It gives her something that’s unique and it just adds to the fun of making the dresses.”
With over 25 dresses now, it’s hard for Lane to pick a favorite. “She loves the ones that have a large hoop under them, because she likes to make them sway,” said Jennifer. “She’s pretty fond of Cinderella, she gets pretty excited when she gets to wear that one and Tiana is another one is another one of her favorites. I did Snow White’s rags recently, and I put the little fake birds on it. She had a whole lot of fun throughout the day trying to feed the little birds on her dress.”
One of Jennifer’s favorites is a costume inspired by the outfits worn by the Main Street Confectionary cast members. “That’s one of those uniforms that I’ve always thought was so adorable. I just remember as a kid even liking the hat, the whole nine yards. And Lane always loves visiting the candy shop and watching the make the caramel apples. That costume is probably one of my favorites, it’s something you don’t see a lot and she has such a good time being in the candy shop and looking like them.”
For Jennifer, the dresses are a way for her to help inspire Lane’s imagination. “When you’re that age, you can dream that you can be anything you want and it’s magical. There’s just no other way to describe it. You put on a dress and you can be whoever you want to be that day and that’s a lot of fun.”
As for Lane’s future in dressmaking, Jennifer knows one thing is certain. “I just hope it inspires her, maybe not to sew… maybe she’ll want to grow up and work at Disney, maybe she’ll want to be an actress, maybe she’ll want to make dress. I hope it inspires her to follow her dreams.”