Friday, October 24, 2014

Elsa Costume {Oh Yes We Did}

I tried, I really did.
"Fiona" I said. 
"There will be so many Elsas this year" I said. 
"You don't want to be the same as everyone" I said.
I was wrong. 
She does in fact want, more than anything, to be Elsa.
And who am I to argue with this strong willed four and a half year old?
So I didn't.
 Instead I immediately started planning my very own inexpensive and relatively easy Elsa.
Elsa Costume
 Luckily I had 1.7m of blue stretch satin in a grab bag of craft supplies from my MIL so $0 for that.
I also had an old pair of white(ish, they were worn by a toddler after all) tights, $0 for those.
I bought:
  1 meter of snowflake organza = $6.
3 meters of elastic sequins = $9. 
Thread =$1
18cm closed-end zipper for $1.
{Gotta love that Fabricland membership.}
I started by making a little pattern for myself out of some spare fabric but this is not necessary.
Kid bodies are so easy to sew for since they are mostly curve-less.
For the bodice I measured Fiona's chest around {CA} and the distance from her underarm line to her high waist {UW}.
The bodice front was a rectangle w=CA x 0.5 {+3cm for seam allowance} h= UW {+3cm for seam allowance} with a little sweetheart shape freehanded in the top.
The bodice backs {you need 2 so just fold the fabric in half for this piece before cutting} were also rectangles w=CA x 0.25 (+3cm for seam allowance} h= UW {+3cm for seam allowance}.
 For the skirt I measured Fiona's high waist around {WA} and the distance from her high waist to the floor {WF}.
I cut one large piece w= WA x 2 {+3cm for seam allowance} h= WF {+3cm for seam allowance and hem}.
Then I marked a spot the distance of HW x 0.25 from each end of one side of the width and placed a straight line from the corner on the other end to this point. 
{Hopefully the pic makes that sentence a lot less confusing.}
The wider end will be the bottom hem and the more narrow end the waist.
{And yes that's a block in the last shot and I'm not even going back to edit it out.}
 Next I sewed each of the bodice backs to the front {right sides together}.
 Then I pinned the bodice to the waist at each end {yes they are different lengths}.
 To make these pieces fit I folded the whole thing in half and pinned as far as I could to the middle...
 ...then flattened it and made a pleat in the middle of the skirt.
 This pleat gives the skirt a bit of walking room in the front, preschoolers in pencil skirts could get ugly.
 The next step was a very lazy zipper installation.
I folded and ironed back 1.5cm on each side of the dress's back seam then sewed the zipper on one side with the top of the zipper about 1.5cm from top of the bodice.
I usually just tack the top of the zipper down so I don't have to sew it in when finishing the top.
 Next I pinned the other side of the zipper and sewed it {opening the zipper to sew the second side makes your life much easier}.
After getting the zipper in I sewed the back of the skirt together right up to the zipper bottom.
This is also when I finished the bottom hem {folded up twice 3/4cm each time}.
Then I folded the top of the bodice in twice {about 3/4cm each time as well}, ironed and pinned but did not sew yet.
 For the sleeves I cut the end of the feet off of the tights and cut right down the middle seam.
I attached each end of what was the tights' waistband at about the point where spaghetti straps would go then played with some pleating to fit the rest in.
 A cooperative kid helps to get the placement just right.
I mean look at this champ, all those pins and still smiling.
{Hopefully her smile has distracted you enough to not notice the mess in the background.}
 Now don't go sewing that seam just yet, first attach each salvage end of that meter of snowflake organza just outside the sleeve {I just did this one pin at a time so I didn't lose my sleeve pleating}.
Now you can finally sew all the way around that bodice top and finish the bodice, sleeves and part of the cape in one seam.
 You will have a big hoop of the cape material at the back which I simply pleated a couple of times and attached a small amount of elastic sequins to hold it together.
You obviously can't sew it tight since you need to be able to undo the zipper to get Elsa into her dress.
You can see how our back turned out in the very last picture.
I may still use a couple hook-and-eyes to bring to cape to the top of the bodice but I actually like the way it looks and the pleats give it a little billowy effect.
Finally the cape needs to be cut at floor length.
No matter how great it looked long, trains on preschoolers could also get ugly.
 Instead of sewing the bottom I simply saturated the cut edge with fray stop.
Love that stuff.
 I decided to sew on my own sequins since I couldn't find sequin material saturated enough for the bodice.
All I did was cut the elastic sequins in strips the length of the bodice front and sewed them on right next to each other with one line of stitches on the machine each.
I wanted to add some detail to the sleeves so used some silver fabric paint and a thin paint brush to add the lines Elsa has on her sleeves.
To paint these on I stuffed the top of the sleeves with potholders and propped them on top of some candles.
I also ended up gluing some stray sequins to the bottom of the skirt on Fiona's request.
 I would say the whole thing took me 2-3 hours and cost $17 {it would have been about $25 if I'd had to buy the stretch satin as well}.
Elsa Costume
 Fiona is thrilled and wears it any chance she gets.
Elsa Costume
Now I'm just praying that my construction holds up for another week plus of excessive wear.

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