Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Process: Simplicity 1233 - Elsa dress from Frozen

As I think I've mentioned about a half dozen times over the past month, my daughter adores the movie Frozen, and like many, many other little girls wanted to be one of the characters from the movie for Halloween. The funny thing is that every time I asked her, she'd change her mind as to whether she wanted to be Elsa or Anna, so I made the executive decision to make her an Elsa costume, figuring that would have the greater "wow" factor to a 2-year old.

Both Simplicity and McCall's have released their own versions of patterns for the already-iconic dress that Elsa's coronation gown transforms into during her performance of "Let it Go". From comparing the line drawings, the only difference that I can see between the two versions is that the Simplicity version has decorative trim at the waist seam and yoke seam. Even though the "real" version of the dress lacks this trim as far as I can tell, I went with the Simplicity version because, hey, it was the "officially licensed" version.
Elsa from Disney's "Frozen"
I started working on Eva's version of this dress about a week ago. I have to say that I'm quite impressed with the Simplicity pattern so far. Whereas I've seen complaints about the McCall's version running very large, when I pin-fit the bodice to Eva for the Simplicity version, it appears to be slightly on the roomy side of being true-to-size. The skirt is quite long, but obviously, hemming a skirt is much easier than having to take in 5-6" of excess ease throughout the dress (as some reviews have mentioned doing with the McCall's pattern).

Here's what my version looked like before I attached the cape:

Elsa dress in-progress, pre-cape attachment
And close up to get a better view:
Close up of the Elsa bodice
Because I can't leave well enough alone, I am making a few changes to the pattern:
  • I'm lining the bodice because the wrong side of the sequined fabric I'm using seemed like it could be scratchy. Actually, what I did is a hybrid between lining and underlining. I stitched the side seams of the bodice on both the sequin and lining fabric, then basted the lining to the sequin fabric. I would have love to have done a traditional lining with everything clean-finished, but because I hadn't completely walked through the construction in my head, I'd already constructed the cape at that point and would have had to rip out French seams from the cape side seams in poly organza. Yeah, that wasn't going to happen.

    "Guts" shot of the Elsa dress
  • While most of kids' costumes you see show a solid satin skirt on this dress, the "real" dress's skirt has something sparkly going on. I found an iridescent organza at JoAnn's and overlayed that on the satin skirt. While this doesn't have the ombre look of the "real" dress, I prefer this look to a solid skirt.
  • Rather than applique'ing snowflakes onto the cape, I found a fabulous glitter snowflake organza on Etsy that I'm using. (It appears to be sold out now.) Yes, my house is now covered in glitter.
  • I'm using a narrow hem on my serger on the cape, yoke, and sleeves.
  • I'm undecided on what to make the yoke and sleeves out of. I have the pieces cut both from the glitter organza and a white chiffon. I'd love to just use the glitter organza, but I'm a little concerned that it might be a little stiff and uncomfortable for Eva, even though it would look fantastic. I'm currently leaning towards lining/underlining the organza with the chiffon.
The pattern is well-drafted in that so far, all of the seams and notches have lined up perfectly. The construction methods are pretty sound, as well; they have you use French seams on the sheer portions of the costume. 

Here are two shots of the dress after I attached the cape:

Elsa dress with cape
Close-up of the Elsa dress with cape
I may swing by Hancock on my way home from work in another attempt to find a light-blue chiffon for this dress, in which case I will likely underline the snowflake organza for the yoke with the chiffon, and just do the sleeves in the chiffon. I feel like just going with the white chiffon is too much contrast. Plus, I don't want to use just chiffon in that yoke--with all of that fabric between the lined bodice, lined skirt, and cape, the dress is starting to feel a bit heavy.

How is everyone else's Halloween sewing going? What costumes are you making for yourself and/or your kids?

19 comments:

  1. Oh that is looking lovely! I can't wait to see the finished dress.
    Interesting about the size issues with the McCalls pattern. I bought that one because - hey it's Frozen and I can't get Simplicity in my area anymore but I think I will tell my friend to get the Simplicity one for her daughter. Thanks for the review!
    I'm working on a vampire's cape for my youngest and Daenerys for my oldest. I bought the McCalls pattern for Daeny but I hate it! Once I really started to look at the dress vs the pattern - I'm going to totally franken-pattern instead. Another McCalls pattern for the front (with some adjustments) and the original for the back.
    Should be interesting! LOL

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    1. I still think it's so crazy that Simplicity/New Look are no longer distributed to Canada! (I assume that's where you are?) I bet your Daenys costume will look great!

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  2. Very cute, Michelle! I'm sure your daughter will be thrilled!

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  3. Wow - that is looking gorgeous. I am sure she will be a star on the day.

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  4. This reminds me of the fabrics I used so so many years ago, when my daughter wanted to be Jasmine. : ) It looks awesome.

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    1. I suspect that I have quite a few more years of this sort of thing in my future. ;)

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  5. The dress is so beautiful. I can't wait to see it finished.

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    1. Thank you! I'm very excited about how it's coming along.

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  6. I just made this dress too! I also lined the bodice & yoke due to the scratchiness of the chiffon.

    Looking forward to seeing the finished dress. I think there will be parades of Elsas and Annas this Halloween :)

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    1. Agreed. When I've been in JoAnn's in the past month, I've always seen *at least* one other woman with a Frozen costume pattern in hand and/or obvious "Elsa" fabric.

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  7. I remember the Jasmine costumes as 'flasher' Halloween: the Seattle weather was awful, and all the Jasmines would flash you their outfits, quickly closing their parkas over them. I have no costumes to make this year for the holiday, and won't be home that night to see who will win: Anna or Elsa. And I am bummed! So thank you so much for this vicarious living moment.

    Can you guys keep track and post the Anna/Elsa results?

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    1. Yeah, depending on the weather here that day, it might be a "flasher" Halloween, this year, too. My company does a big family/Halloween thing, though, so at least she'll be able to show off her dress at my office.

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  8. Halloween is always so cold here I had to make my son's Halloween costumes a size up to layer sweatpants and sweatshirt underneath when he was little. LOL.

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  9. In Process: Simplicity 1233 - Elsa dress from Frozen. As I think I've ... annafrozenbaby.blogspot.com

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  11. brilliantly useful post, I'm half way trhough the same pattern and have used your advice on the lining and the organza skirt overlay. Have to say its a challnging but I've handbasted everything first which has helped. I have a question though, for the back seam on the cape the instruction appear to indicate that you should trim to stiching *after* sewing the french seam up as far as the dot. This seems odd, or have I misread? any advice welcomed.

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  12. (apologies for the poor spelling, my 4 year old was climbing all over me!!)

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