Monday, January 27, 2014

Designing an Elsa Costume from the Disney movie Frozen

Are you Frozen-obsessed like the rest of America? 
                    I'm a little ashamed that I haven't seen it yet!
Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen

 About two weeks ago a coworker of mine asked if I would help her out with a dilemma. Her five-soon-to-be-six year old daughter requested that she have a Frozen-themed birthday party and wanted to be dressed up as Elsa, the snow queen from the movie. After booking a local park's lodge with an awesome sledding hill behind it she started hunting for the costume and came up with little options. It seems like, as of right now, Disney is the only company with an Elsa Costume and unfortunately it's 'limited edition', $149.95 (eek), and sold out everywhere!

She asked me if I'd be willing to create the desired costume. I have to say that I was initially intimidated by the project (designing a pattern from a cartoon, finding budget-friendly fabrics that would work, and making a little girl happy) but my disney-loving, princess-day-dreaming, love-anything-that-sparkles days didn't seem that long gone when I saw the character requested.
Finished dress (missing cape)

So on to the DESIGN...
  1. First I bought the patterns simplicity 2463 and I used LouBee Clothing's Bimaa sweater pattern for the sleeves- but you can use any fitted sleeve pattern  
  2. I got little 'G's measurements to figure out sizing (she was size 4- chest/waist/hips with size 6- height) and how much fabric I needed based loosely on S2463
  3. Bought the fabric-  (note: I had fabric to spare for her size)
    • approx. 1/2 yard metallic sequin fabric in turquoise & teal (for the bodice)
    • 2 1/2 yards satin in 'Blue Jewel' (for the lining and the skirt)
    • 2 yards pearly sheer fabric in blue (for the cape/train)
    • 1/2 yard performance fabric **but in mystique silver** not hawaii baby blue as in link (for sleeves and the yoke above above bodice front & back)
      • notions used: sewing machine, matching turquoise thread, 10" Velcro, fabric dye, 2" elastic cording, 9-12'' matching zipper, fabric paint, and 1 button/ or cover button kit 
Approximate cost of materials: $30
Alterations to S2463:
  • I deepened the 'V' on the bottom of the bodice center piece and added a 'V' cut to the top of the same bodice center (see image on right)
  • Added the cut 'V' piece from the top of the bodice to the matching bottom of the yoke piece and added seam allowance (see image on right)
  • Added a point to the bottom the sleeves by starting a curve from the center of the bottom sleeve width (on-the-fold) and going down about two inches from the normal length toward the centerfold (see image on right)
  • Deepened the 'V' of the front skirt to fit the bodice alterations
  • Extended and rounded out the bottom of the back skirt pattern about 6 inches for a little bit of a train

  • I decided to dye the performance fabric from the original silver to a turquoise tint to resemble the cartoon more closely. After a couple test swatches I decided on Dylon's Bahama Blue. I love how it came out because it's still silvery and shiny with just a hint of blue.
    • *To dye I filled an old pitcher with hot tap water, a couple tablespoons of salt and about a TB of the dye powder- mix together, add fabric (post-cut), and soak for a couple minutes until it's the color you like, then rinse with warm water. (See image on right for the before & after coloring)

Sewing the dress: **basically follow the pattern instructions with a few alterations

  1. cut out bodice in sequin fabric and in satin lining. Then sew seams together (just as the pattern instructions read) 
  2. Cut the sleeves and the yoke (front & back) out of the performance fabric. Follow the S2463 instructions to finished the back opening of the yoke and to add the front & back yoke pieces to the bodice. You may need some minor adjustments because of the 'V' cut out. Sew bodice side seams and yoke shoulder seams to make sleeve opening.
  3.  The performance fabric really doesn't need finished edges but I made them anyway on the sleeve points for a finished look
    finished sleeve point
  4. Sew your sleeves together lengthwise and attach to sleeve openings
  5. Sew the skirt's side seams and gather the top of skirt according to pattern instructions or as desired (I altered mine a little). Then attach to finished bodice. Finish bottom hem as desired.
  6. Insert matching zipper according to instructions
    Zipper starts at the top of the bodice
  7. When I 'finished' the top of the yoke I cut the yoke to widened & slightly deepened the neck opening in the front in order to be more similar to Elsa's dress. I made and attached a small loop for the top of the back yoke out of the elastic cording.  Make according to length needed to go across the back opening to a button on the other side. Then I folded over the entire neck opening and finished the seam with a double needle to help keep the stretchiness of the fabric.
    Loop at top above zipper opening
  8. Add chosen button to opposite side on back yoke to fit elastic loop on the other side. This is where I made my own matching button out of the sequin fabric.
  9. EXTRA-I had a couple iron-on jewels that I added to the yoke front (but I don't think they will stick long) and added one of my new sewing labels!! (Thanks again Kat!!)

Making the cape/train:

The most important dress feature to the little girl, G, was a "REALLY long train like Elsa." My coworker requested that the train be detachable in case it got stepped on. 
  1. I decided to attach it by Velcro, so I dyed the Velcro in the same turquoise dye bath as the yoke and sleeves but I left the Velcro in for over an hour because it took longer to absorb the color. I cut my Velcro the same width as the top of the back bodice (about 10") and made it thin by cutting it in half to about 1/2". I sewed the Velcro to the back bodice.
  2. I folded my shimmery sheer fabric in half and used the back bodice pattern piece as a template for the top of the cape/train. I then marked off how long I wanted the train, I chose to use G's height as my length. Then I cut a diagonal line from the outer bodice marking to the bottom outside edge (non fold edge). I cut a wide-rounded edge on the bottom.
  3. I finished the edges by folding in the cut edges twice and sewing the hem with white thread.

  4. I then attached the matching Velcro piece to the top of the cape.
  5. I couldn't resist adding snowflakes to the bottom of the train. I used my Silhouette machine to cut out snowflake pattern on freezer paper. I ironed on the freezer paper stencils and painted with 'velveteen' white fabric paint.
Hopefully I will be able to post pictures of the costume being wore soon :)
Happy Birthday G!!!

Text from coworker when G tried on her new costume:
"It fits perfect!!! 'G' wanted me to tell you "Thank you so much, I love it! It makes me feel powerful!!" Lol... now she's dancing around the house singing Let It Go from the movie :) " 

Now you can too... 

    P.S. This is my first tutorial ever so please be kind! haha

Hello blog world...

or really I should say, HELLO Kat and Mlle Michael, as you are sure to be my only readers! You both have been so sweet to pressure encourage me to blog along with you.

My big 'blog' plans are:

  • post some of my finished sewing efforts which will hopefully encourage me to finish all of my 90% completed projects (maybe I can somehow even inspire you two to start to sew/sew more)
  • Post favorite recipes that I have tried, and maybe discourage others- I have a list of those
  • DIY projects- successes and failures
  • Products that I love & encourage others to try
  • I wish I could post funny stories from work but I'm too afraid of HIPAA repercussions (I guess I will have to save them for inappropriate dinner party conversations)
So basically I'm unoriginal :) Bun & Mick, any suggestions??

This concludes my exciting test entry, let's see what my blog looks like haha