Tuesday, 16 September 2014

DIY Elsa costume (FO)

The jelly bean was five a couple of weeks ago, and like most small girls, is fairly enthusiastic about the film Frozen. Badly sung and barely remembered versions of 'Let it go' feature regularly in our house.

An Elsa outfit of some description was needed for her birthday, and I did some careful research on the webz to get some ideas. I decided to make a skirt and top rather than a dress, with a separate cape. As with all dressing up clothes, I figured it would be useful to make things interchangeable, just in case a fireman or a pirate ever needed a snow queen's frosty cape to wear. 

In one of those 'oh yes' moments, I realised that the sparkly teal knit fabric I had in my stash might just be. completely. PERFECT. for this project. It feels fairly horrid and is undoubtedly a synthetic throwback from the 1970s, but it looks pretty (and double bonus is only cost £3). 

As if that was not karmic enough, when I was hunting through my box of scraps, I found an old vest/cami top of mine in a nice ice-blue colour, just right for the not-quite-matching vibe of Elsa's sleeves. 

Yada, yada. Here is the make:

I wanted to emulate some of the shape of Elsa's skirt, without the split or foxy silhouette. So, I decided to have an a-line panel at the front, and gathered panel at the back. The front panel has a little hi-lo curve at the hemline to look extra cute. I used some of the jelly bean's existing clothes to give me an idea about dimensions, but generally just cut it on the fly. I cut the front panel on the fold, and then used a curved hem from another pattern to give me a cutting line for the hi-lo hem. 

I just cut a rectangular panel for the back of the skirt, with plenty of width to give fullness. Of course I had cut this before thinking I should add a curve to this hem too, so that it could form a little train. Oh well.

Because this is a non-fraying knit and for dressing up, I did not finish the hem.

I did the waistband on this baby three (yes, THREE!) times. The first time I included a dressing-up-friendly velcro closure, but then realised it would pull the fabric something rotten and end up mangling the skirt. So I took it off. 

I cut another waistband from the scraps and got that all sewed on ready for the big day. Before I could add a fastener, I got sick (lying-in-my-bed-unable-to-do-anything-sick) and the birthday dawned and the jelly bean put it on anyway. It was fine apart from the fact that it had no fastening, and it was about 2 inches too small (yes, too small?! wtf?)

Cue more seam ripping. Sigh.

The third time I made a casing and elasticated the whole darn thing. No fastenings, no velcro. Nothing to go wrong. It's fine. 

Next I made the top. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to do this at first, but somewhere I got the idea to use the raglan tee pattern I bought a year back (it's all about the stash). 

I cut the back from the teal fabric and the sleeves from the ice-blue fabric, without any adjustments. Oh, actually, I did make an adjustment - I made a mistake when I cut out the sleeves, so I had to fudge it a bit lowered the back neckline to match the front and trimmed the neckline on the sleeves. 

For the front of the bodice, I used a piece of the teal fabric, but adjusted the neckline to look more like the front of Elsa's bodice, with a little bit of a sweetheart shaping at the top and a point/V at the bottom. I then filled in the 'missing' part of neckline with a scrap of ice-blue fabric. I've been reading lots of sewing tutorials lately, and I made use of a tip I saw somewhere (umm, make it love it I think) about using a glue stick to stabilise things before sewing. I glued and then top-stitched the two pieces together, before making up the tee in the normal way.

To finish the neck I folded over a narrow hem and top-stitched. The clean line fits with the vibe of Elsa's costume, and it was really quick! I love it!

3. The CAPE
Finally, I got to work on some organza which I bought for the cape (£4.50 per metre). Although it is fairly easy to sew, it is so fragile that it pulls apart really easily. I hemmed the bottom, then gathered the top and attached a ribbon tie. The first attempt looked lovely, but was too long, and came apart when the birthday girl stood on it. I shortened the cape to reduce the risk of being stood on again, and reattached the ribbon at the top - hopefully it will be a bit more robust this time...

All in all, I am totally thrilled with the way this turned out. I spent £4.50 on the organza and everything else came from my stash (ribbon, thread, fabric, elastic). Oh, and the jelly bean likes it too. 

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