Mina Harker: Mostly Undead



Bronwen Burton


Outline the story …

Wilhelmina 'Mina' Harker/Murray from “Dracula”.

This gown is for Mina after she has been bitten by Count Dracula. Dracula was written in 1897 but I have decided to set my Mina in late 1880s. I thought having an exposed neck important for telling her story. Mina is a modern-woman school mistress and fiance to Johnathon Harker. She compiles the evidence against Dracula, aligning first-hand accounts of diary entries, letters, and ship logs in chronological order, linking the Count’s journey to London and the carnage along the way. She becomes hunted by Dracula and he starts the process of turning her into a vampire. I wanted her gown to represent all of her contradictions. She is a modern, but traditional, working-girl, and married woman, fighting the undead side of her to hold on to her humanity, “smart like a man” with the heart of a true woman. I decided to use the black and white stripes to represent these contradictions. I used a walking suit for overall design, she is practical after all. Black lapels and cuffs reminiscent of menswear, but I used eyelets and ruffles to keep it feminine. Open neckline to feature the vampire bite, but hidden under a wild rose ribbon; wild roses were used as protection against the vampire in the story. She wears a hat with a veil pulled down in front to shield from the scar of a burn from a communion wafer.

Outline the construction…

I had a corset and combinations in stock that I have made previously. I constructed a lobster tail bustle combining Waugh’s and Hunnisett’s patterns. I made a ruffled back petticoat using a combination of my skirt pattern and Hunnisett’s pattern. For the under skirt I used Truly Victorian pattern 1885 under skirt. I added 2 ruffles to the hem, one premade that I had in stock for kick, under the stripe. The over-skirt was pleated to fit over the understructure. It is 3 widths of fabric double-box pleated using the large stripe to create the pleats. I stitched down the pleats to radiate from the waist ⅛” at the waist to ¾” to where I stopped stitching, so the pleats would fan out over the underskirt ruffle. The skirt drape I made using the leftover bodice fabric. I fussy-cut the bodice saving enough fabric for the drape. I used another T.V. pattern for the bodice 1885 TV460 changing the neckline and hem. The collar and cuffs are made from the leftover skirt fabric. I added a double-ruffle dicky to the neck and lace to cuffs. I hand-pulled the felt hat from a felt hood I found at a thrift store trimmed with polyester ribbon to match the plastic sheen from the dress. Most of the fabric, which is polyester, came from a garage sale, at $1 per bolt. Environmentally conscious, I try to use secondhand or donated items.




  1. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 11, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    The LAYERS! This is stunning.

  2. Avatar Kathleen Davies on March 12, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    This looks like you’ve just stepped out of a fashion plate! This is a Mina you don’t wanna mess with! Powerful, beautiful patterning and the lace framing the neck is a fantastic nod to the book!

  3. Avatar Amanda on March 13, 2021 at 1:04 am

    Beautiful work with your stripe pattern matching!

  4. Avatar Lindsey on March 13, 2021 at 2:04 am

    I can definitely see Mina in this outfit, It turned out powerful and gorgeous, the mixing of the stripes.

  5. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 13, 2021 at 10:09 am

    Very striking, and beautifully done!

  6. Avatar Rebecca on March 13, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    i love this! i keep expanding the photos to try to really see what you’re doing with pleats and stripes– you’ve worked the surface of this dress into a whole new textile. that full-length profile is fierce! And that hat is so cute. you may think this is crazy, but it’s almost like that striped ensemble rosalind russell wears in His Girl Friday got bitten by a vampire and turned victorian.

    anyway. good luck! (from icarus!)

    • Avatar Bronwen on March 19, 2021 at 6:51 pm

      OMG I love that His Girl Friday reference! I am really a mid century girl, I guess it snuck it’s way in there with out me noticing. Haha

  7. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 16, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    Fabulous job! It’s incredibly striking and has so many details to love!

  8. Avatar Elowen on March 17, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    Great use of the black and white stripes and chevrons, very striking!

  9. Avatar Lavinia Fantini on March 24, 2021 at 5:52 pm

    The work you did with the pleats is absolutely stunning, you have my deepest admiration for the time and patience needed! Also your bustle looks vety nice too, very well defined but not too big so it doesn’t distract from the rest of the outfit. And the deep red ribbon is a delightful touch of colour!

  10. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 26, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    Black and white stripes are looovely, and I love how you made all the different layers in different techniques! <3

  11. Avatar Annie Bartholomew on March 28, 2021 at 3:34 am

    I wish I could live in this dress! Seems like something Catherine O’Hara or Helena Bonham Carter would have in their closet. Can’t imagine the work that went into this. Outstanding.

  12. Avatar Lizzie Blake on April 1, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    This is so striking!

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