Mary Poppins holds a special place in my heart. Although I didn’t have the honor of watching the original Mary Poppins until I was at least 18 or 19, I grew up watching Julie Andrews as Queen Clarise Renaldi on the Princess Diaries, one of my favorite movies as a child. Queen Clarise was so poised, elegant and graceful. She was charming yet witty. In the movie she was the grand-mother to a San Fransisco girl who didn’t know she was a princess. The queen, after telling the young girl of her royal heritage, trained her on the skills and manners of a proper princess. I just remember watching this movie and its later sequel wanting Queen Clarise to be my grand-mother.
It’s hard to remember, but I’m certain I knew what Mary Poppins was, my parents just never put it on for me like they did other Disney classics like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. My interest in Mary Poppins sparked when the princess company I worked for, which I have since taken over, began offering her for events. Sadly she’s not so popular so I never had the chance to portray her. It wasn’t until I began leading the company that we got a request for a charity tea party in which I had the opportunity to send whoever I wanted so I quickly sourced a starter quality costume, repurposed a different character’s wig and threw it together for the event. When I put on the full costume I had never felt a stronger connection with a character as I did with Mary. I felt so confident, it’s incredible how being in costume can make you feel. The icing on the cake for the event was that we also had an opportunity to perform so after watching her movie to brush up on things I might need to know I thought performing her dance to “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” would be the perfect fun performance to add to the high-tea style event and as a dancer growing up, that was probably one of my most favorite performances.
I’m thankful my mom put me in sewing classes and involved me in the art of sewing at an early age. I had been wanting to create a custom character costume for our company but I wasn’t proficient enough in making structured corsets like most of the costumes require, but after throwing together a Marilyn Monroe dress for a special request appearance I thought Mary’s Jolly Holiday dress couldn’t be that hard. While creating the dress was challenging, it came together fairly quickly and easier than I thought. After sourcing materials I thought would be practically perfect, I found a pattern for a shirt that looked similar to the style I was going for, I just had to adjust and add a few things like the ruffled front and shortened sleeves. I also added applique, shoulder caps and ribbon threaded eyelet lace to the bodice part straight from my imagination. The skirt was easy, I’d like to think I’m a circle skirt pro although I’ve only made a handful for various purposes. I added applique and red ribbon bows to the skirt too. But the belt was the trickiest part. I drew a pattern on card stock paper, watched YouTube tutorials on how to add white piping between panels and winged it when it came to the grommets for the lace up back. I’d like to redo it eventually as I mis-measured a few parts of it and I’d like to make my next belt more structured, all in all I’m very pleased with the final turnout.
Mary Poppins will always be my favorite cosplay. I am the most proud of her and myself as her because I was able to use my creativity to produce a wearable item and I feel like I’m able to embody those things I love about Julie Andrews: Poise, grace and elegance. I’m thankful for a character like her who provides me with such a complete feeling when I portray her.