Costuming, Disney Princess Series

Disney Princess (Queen!!) Series Part 7 – Queen Elsa, Frozen

The night Frozen opened in theatres, I was anxiously waiting in line at the movie theatre with husband and popcorn in tow. I’d been waiting for the release since it was announced and though darling husband wasn’t too thrilled at the idea of going to an opening night of a new Disney Princess flick, he agreed to it when I said I didn’t care if he slept through it as long as I got to see it ASAP.

He didn’t sleep at all, and enjoyed it a LOT more than he expected to.

I’ve known since before the movie came out that I’d likely be making costumes from it, but I had no idea just how quickly I was going to fall in love with Frozen. There was no time to even get started until January; with Christmas coming and presents to be made as well as my New Year’s Eve dress, I accepted that I wouldn’t even be able to look for fabric til the new year. After scrounging my way through nearly every fabric store in both Victoria and Vancouver, I relented and ordered a massive quantity of sequined fabric online as well as a gorgeous lace front wig, and then (im)patiently waited for everything to arrive. I also gathered up a ridiculous quantity of sequins and rhinestones and started planning ways to make my Cinderella rhinestoned shoes convertible into Elsa’s snowflaked shoes. The shoes have actually be in progress since last summer and kept getting pushed aside as other Princesses went out to volunteer events.


This was just the gathering of supplies.

I started with the mesh undershirt and was fairly lazy about creating it. The fabric is a light stretch mesh picked up from a local fabric store. I patterned the shirt by using an old stretchy long sleeved shirt that I don’t wear anymore. It had regular sleeves instead of raglan, so I drew the seam lines on that I wanted and then cut the shirt apart to make the pattern. The whole thing was serged together and finished the night I started.

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Please pardon the bra cups.. the dress form is quite flat chested no matter how I adjust it so it requires some extra padding to be properly fitted.

My first major dilemma was deciding just how to put the corset together. The choices were either a boned bodice with minimal seams, as sequins and seams are a royal pain, or to go with my faithful favourite corset pattern and hope the seams didn’t hate me too much. As luck would have it the favourite corset worked out quite well with the seams, and everything laid flat when it was pressed. I was so excited after putting the sequined fabric together that I started sewing on the larger rectangular rhinestones before moving onto the lining. Below is a collection of pictures from assembling the corset.

Of course Elsa isn’t complete without sparkle, so I then spent something like 20 hours attaching rhinestones all over the corset.

I set the rhinestoning aside for a while and then whipped the skirt up quickly. It’s an outer layer of sequined satin fabric with an inner layer of a slightly darker blue. This was originally a simple a-line skirt that I extended along the sides and back to create the train. It came together fairly quickly and easily, so I ended up not taking any photos of it. The corset lining went in quickly and was comprised of cotton twill and spiral steel boning with straight steel bones along the lacing at the back. I decided to relax on the couch for a bit as well and hand-sewed some sequin trim and Swarovski crystal beads across the neckline of the mesh shirt. I was pretty giddy once that was all together, and even though I still had the cape to work on I threw it all on the dress form to get an idea of what it’d look like when completely finished.

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Then the cape began. Before I even started drafting the pattern for it I was nervous that I hadn’t ordered enough fabric and would have to buy all new stuff to make it the appropriate length. I am incredibly stubborn, however, and persisted with drafting up the pattern (basically some really weird measurements and just drawing it out on butcher paper) in the hopes that it would work out. I had to lay the pieces out a bit stranger than I normally would,but fortunately it all fit. I cut out all of the cape panels and then started drawing the glitter design onto the paper.

The glitter I painted on was a mix of Martha Stewart glitter acrylic paint and her fabric medium, which worked out surprisingly better than I expected. The first panel I painted I just laid the fabric over the butcher paper where I’d drawn the design, and then I began to severely regret that decision. Awesome husband is awesome, as he voluntarily went out to the store at 10:30pm to get me wax paper to lay over the butcher paper so I could paint without my fabric getting brown paper all stuck over the back.

It took a very late Thursday and Friday night as well as an entire Saturday, but I managed to get the entire design painted on as well as a bunch of little snowflakes. Once each panel had dried I serged them together and then did a rolled hem around the entire edge.

The cape has velcro along the top to attach to the corset, and is the last thing that I put on with this costume.

Overall it took about 50 hours of work spread over about 10 days. I’m still not done, but it’s publicly presentable. The Sunday I finished, I wore it to see the sing along version in theatres with friend J, which was awesome. It was her first time seeing me in costume in person, and experiencing the craziness that comes with it. We waltzed into that theatre like we owned the place, and pretty much got swarmed by kids. It was amazing.

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I’ll be wearing this to Fan Expo Vancouver in April, and by then will hopefully have finished my fine-tuning. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there’ll still be snow on the North Shore mountains then, so we can drive up for a photoshoot! I still have loads of rhinestones to attach to the shirt and cape but most of them are still in the mail on the way here. I also want to finish the snowflake parts of the shoes and re-style the wig. Somehow I have to make time for that, though, as crazy husband decided on our other costumes for Fan Expo and they’re pretty time consuming.. but more on that in another post!

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