My Lady of Autumn



Margaret Proffitt


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

photographer: Pamela Proffitt

Outline the story …

Over the Garden Wall is a show produced by Disney, which follows two brothers, Greg and Wart as they find themselves in the Unknown. The first handful of episodes have a perfect autumnal feel. The vibrant background art overflows with autumn colors, and the patrons of the Unknown are distinctly otherworldly in a way that only the harvest season can produce. When I read the prompt for this year‘s challenge, my mind immediately jumped to Over the Garden Wall and my favorite time of year, autumn. I knew I wanted to create something that encapsulates that wonderful feeling I get when the air starts to get chilly, and the trees turn into a beautiful colorful mess. So, I started my deep research dive to find more to fuel my inspiration. I wanted to create a character that looked as though she belonged in a pumpkin patch, or perfectly at home nesting in a pile of red and yellow leaves. The inspiration quickly started to flood in as I found many art pieces, fashion plates, and photographs that continue to inspire me. I knew rather quickly that I wanted to work in the 1830s for this project - a time period known for its large pumpkin-like sleeves. I also knew that I didn’t just want to wear a pumpkin, but truly be a pumpkin - to feel like I was part of autumn itself. When I wear this dress, I truly feel as though I belong in another world.

Outline the construction…

The shift was made using a Bella Mae pattern, which I modified. The petticoat consists of a long rectangular cut of fabric, sewing a wide panel of gathered lace across the bottom, and adding hand-embroidered pumpkins. I constructed the pocket from a variety of fabric scraps and miscellaneous embroidery floss. The ruffled cap was made following instructions in A Work Women’s Guide. The bonnet was made using a large store-bought hat cut into the needed shapes before sewing it back together. A wire was sewn into the brim and it was finished with bias tape and decorations. The dress skirt was constructed using three rectangular panels, French seamed, gathered, and hemmed. For the bodice, I reused an old pattern which I had self-draped. After tweaking the pattern, I constructed the bodice using a tablecloth, as well as a flat lining of plain cotton. In the seams I sewed brown piping to mimic the 1830s construction technique. The leg of mutton sleeves are from a pattern in A Work Women’s Guide, adding a cuff and sandwiching lace and piping in between the seams. I designed leaf shapes to adorn the top of my shoulders, adding to the pumpkin motif. The pelerine was made with the same fabric as the dress and constructed in two layers. I self-draped the shape and lined it with the same fabric, adding brown piping around the edges. All of the closures were accomplished with flat metal, hooks and bars.




  1. Avatar Kara on April 19, 2024 at 12:58 am

    This is so amazing! I can tell how much love you have for the show in this costume. The pumpkin petticoat and the pocket are such nice touches and the whole ensemble comes together beautifully!

    • Avatar Margaret Proffitt on April 19, 2024 at 3:21 am

      Thank you so much, I did have a lot of fun making it. The embroidery took a lot of time, but I think it was well worth it! <3

  2. Avatar Cassandra Sif Jensen Al-Towaiji on April 19, 2024 at 4:20 pm

    It is for certain a very a very autumnal dress that give big pumpkin vibe. I think your choice of the 1830’s fit perfectly

    • Avatar Margaret Proffitt on April 20, 2024 at 12:44 am

      Thank you! I love the 1830s so much, it never gets enough love in my opinion!

  3. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on April 19, 2024 at 9:28 pm

    Even before I read your text I thought it reminded me so much of the show Over the garden wall, so to read that was in your inspo just made so much sense.
    I can smell the chilly breeze with the earthy notes just looking at this. And the pocket 10/10 fantastical and whimsical.

    • Avatar Margaret Proffitt on April 20, 2024 at 12:46 am

      That makes me smile!! Thank you so much, it’s really nice to hear that you got the concept right away!

      • Avatar Laura on May 1, 2024 at 2:18 pm

        Absolutely stunning ❤️ Marvelous gown and you look absolutely magical, definitely takes me to an autumn wonderland

  4. Avatar Rachel Sullivan on April 23, 2024 at 8:48 pm

    Your dress really encapsulates autumn and summons up crisp, sunny days, and crunchy leaves. Brilliant!

    • Avatar Margaret Proffitt on April 24, 2024 at 6:10 pm

      Thank you!! I really get that feel wearing it! I wish I could have gotten some pumpkin patch photos of it, but maybe next year.

  5. Avatar Jenny B on April 24, 2024 at 6:12 pm

    An incredible interpretation of the theme! You’ve done a wonderful job with the design and fit!

    • Avatar Margaret Proffitt on April 28, 2024 at 6:23 pm

      Thank you so much!!

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