DIY Elsa Dress (From Frozen)

It is no secret in my house that my kids are OBSESSED with Frozen (if the Olaf Valentines didn't give that away).

So for "Dress like a Disney character" day at school, my 8 year old was adamant that she get to be Elsa in her "Let it Go" dress.  Disney does make a commerical Elsa costume, but good luck getting your hands on one! They have been sold out for a while.
The next best thing?  Make one myself. 

Since there isn't a commercial pattern available anywhere yet, I knew I would have to modify a traditional dress to get the same look.  I wanted it to have a seperate bodic (since that part would need to have sequins),  a sweetheart neckline and a simple floor length skirt.


The closest thing I could find was BurdaKids Pattern 9499:

The neckline was perfect and so was the shape of the skirt.. it DID need to be longer, but that would be easy.


I also picked up all my supplies and notions.  Costume satin, chevron sequined tulle, swirly costume tulle, a zipper and matching thread:

I assembled the bodice exactly per the instructions:
 

For the skirt, I layed out the patten and just added about 12 inches to the bottom continuing the shape of the A-line. 

I then attached the skirt and added the sequins by pinning the tulle over the top of the bodice.

I attached them the tulle to the bodice using a zig zag stitch along the neckline.  I then finished the bodice by adding the facing, which also covered up the seam line where the tulle was attached.

I didn't know exactly how long I wanted the sequin overlay to go, so I just made sure to leave enough length so I could cut it down:

I also inserted some thin flesh colored transparent ribbons between the front of the dress and the facing, to use as straps, since the strapless dress didn't want to stay up on it's own :

I decided to cut the tulle following the line of the chevron.  I know the actual dress comes to a single point, but after experimenting with the sequined tulle, I realized that cutting it that way looked awkward because of the chevron pattern:

Next I needed to tackle the sheer sleeves and train. Because I don't have a serger, I didn't want to deal with sewing any sheer stretchy nylon.  Instead I decided to buy a pair of footless tights to use as sleeves. 

I cut out the crotch/pantyliner area and sewed the legs back together on one side only. I used fray check along the unfinished edge to keep the tights from fraying:

The last thing I did was attach the cape to the back of the dress. I made it detachable (using velcro) so that you could zipper the dress closed, and then add the cape.  I also added a small piece of velcro to attach the sleeves to the top of the back of the dress and keep them from riding up:
 

I would have preferred to attach the cape higher on the neckline, but the thinness of the tights made that impossible.

There was one other modification we made to the original is adding some snowflake buttons to the waist.  The zig-zag edge felt a little 'mermaid' like and so we wanted to mask it a little:
 

 I had one very happy 8 year old for Disney Character day:
Elsa Frozen dress, Elsa Costume,

Sharing at these parties.

19 comments:

  1. Wow, what a good mom you are! I'm sure she was so proud to wear that to school. It's beautiful :)

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  2. Thanks Christy! She really *was* excited!

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  3. The Bean Sprout NotesMarch 9, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    Kim!! That is absolutely incredible!! Fabulous sewing job, and what a fun childhood memory for your daughter too - to know her mom cared enough to make the dress from scratch, so she could go as her favorite character.

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  4. Sewing anything with sequins gets you extra brownie points. Shudder. It looks fabulous!

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  5. Wow! Impressive! :)

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  6. I'm still finding teenie slivers of blue sequins in the sofa cushions. Cutting that stuff is like throwing glitter in the air!

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  7. I hope she loves sewing when she gets bigger. I learned it from my mom. I see glimpses of interest, but she is still pretty young!

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  8. kimpettisthompsonMarch 11, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    how pretty is this! Nice Work!

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  9. So cute- the model and the dress! I haven't seen the movie yet :(

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  10. My niece is obsessed with Frozen. She is only 3 1/2. I would be endeared to her forever if I made her this dress. I could even add her monogram.

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  11. Where did you buy the sequined tulle? I cannot find it.

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  12. It was from JoAnn's Fabrics in the Costume/Bridal department!

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  13. I really love this dress! You have great ideas. I think the cape turned out great and it is very representative of Elsa's cape in the movie. It comes from the top of the bodice just like yours. I like that you gathered the cape at the top and made it fuller. I've seen other DIY sites where the cape was just made the width of the top of the bodice and I think those are too flimsy. I made the costume based on yours, but for the sleeves I used stretchy bridal lace. It's really easy to edge out and it's beautiful.

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  14. Could you give more details how you attached the cape to the tights. I understand the cape is a separate piece from the dress.

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  15. The cape is actually attached to the back of the dress and the “shrug” part of the tights is separate. I sewed the tule in “upside down and backwards” to the inside of the dress so when you flip it over it sorta cascades over the back (and you don’t see the sewing line) There is just no way I could sew the tule to the delicate fabric of the nylon. I used velcro on the large seam down the spine to keep the tights up agasint the dress so it looks attached and then just tucked the rest of the nylons in.

    Is that making sense?

    If it still isn’t I can go find the dress and take some more photos when she isn’t wearing it.

    Just let me know!

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  16. Yeah, it isn't really a 'cape' if it doesnt' open wide with her arms like in the movie. The lace idea for the sleeves is really good!

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  17. Wow, this is fantastic! My dd would kill for a mom like you ;)

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Thanks for your comments. I try to get back to anyone with a question.. so please make sure to leave an email address if you want a reply!