handmade halloween 2014: queen elsa

well, blogging during kid’s clothes week was almost a total bust, because i got sucked into a sewing vortex all week!  two out of three Halloween costumes are done and O’s is more “finished” than i planned because he tends to wear his costumes as everyday wear a lot more than E does, so i can’t cut corners.  that’s up next.  but i’m going in age order so this little gal is up first.

E wanted to be Elsa from Frozen.  because of course she did.

elsa costume // skirt as top

i thought i had her talked into Princess Leia, which would have been AWESOME since O is going as Luke Skywalker, but deep in her heart we all knew she wanted to be Elsa…and though she told me she could wear the “Elsa dress” (not really an Elsa dress) that she already had, i just couldn’t do that to her.  i had to make her a real Elsa dress.

elsa costume // skirt as top

honestly, this dress is probably one of my biggest recent sewing fails.  it looks good in photos but i did a terrible job of researching what i was sewing with while and after choosing the fabrics, and it caused all sorts of problems.  soooooo we went to Mill End together and this greeted us when we walked in the door:

elsa dress costume

those people know exactly what they’re doing.

she chose a gorgeous turquoise lamé which seemed stretchy enough and was really soft on the inside, and we picked an iridescent polyester organza (didn’t know what it was at the time) which looked like it would be a lovely overskirt.  i already had some white glitter matte jersey for the cape part, and we got some iridescent white mesh for the sleeves and bodice.  all seemed fine, i hacked a flashback skinny tee and created a skirt pattern and it all came together really quickly one evening!  on the hanger, it looked amazing.

elsa costume // skirt as top

and then after i had her try it on ONCE for fit, this started happening:

elsa dress costume

i had serged the organza and lamé outer and underskirts to the bodice all in one move (seemed brilliant), but the side seams just started fraying right out of the seam!  and parts of the lamé itself were running like a pair of snagged nylons!!  yikes.  i took the skirt off, consulted instagram, and tried to think of a way to reattach both layers, but i decided the headache wasn’t worth the extra shimmer.  E was okay with just the metallic turquoise as the full bodice and skirt, so i added interfacing to both the skirt and bodice and reattached it.  then i used up the rest of my fray check on the skirt.

AFTER i had reattached it i did the research, figured out what the fabric was, and learned how i should have sewn the organza (or should have avoided it altogether), but in my rush i didn’t check ahead of time.  bad move.

elsa costume // skirt as top

she is soooo thrilled with this dress, even without the outer skirt.  although i was grumbling about having to sew an Elsa dress and i’m disappointed in myself for not handling the fabric better, in the end i think Halloween is about making kids’ wildest fantasies come to life and as far as she’s concerned, i did it.

elsa costume // skirt as top

she had all sorts of regal poses up her sleeve.

elsa costume // skirt as top

her crown and ring were gifts from Jess and Sadie when they visited for E’s Frozen-themed birthday in May (Sadie wore her Elsa dress to the party and i should’ve remembered how badly her cape frayed despite its serged edge before i picked THE EXACT SAME FABRIC – argh!).

elsa costume // skirt as top

the cape sparkles and drapes well and doesn’t fray, and she wants to put this dress on every chance she gets.  i just want to make it to Halloween without the dress part getting a million runs in it.  after that, i’m fine with whatever!

elsa costume // skirt as top

i’m still glad i made it though.  costumes are some of my favorite things to make for the kids because their reactions are always so fun.  now the issue will be not losing track of her in the sea of Elsas that are sure to be trick-or-treating this year.

elsa costume // skirt as top

but she’ll be the only one wearing a dress just like this.

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32 thoughts on “handmade halloween 2014: queen elsa

  1. Laura says:

    This sounds incredibly frustrating. It looks great though. Thanks for making me glad I let my daughter get the Elsa dress from Target. So she can look EXACTLY like every other little girl in town, ya know.

  2. girllikethesea says:

    Despite the issues, it came out really well. And I like the mixture of colors and texture. It’s more minimal than a lot of the Elsa stuff out there. Wish I could see our two girls being princessy together in their costumes. Hahahaha can you even imagine?

  3. Mel says:

    looks great and she looks very happy! The things we do for kids, hey? I’m getting ready to dive back into the world of fake fur because my Olaf needs a Kristoff to trick or treat with 🙂

  4. Anna Graham says:

    she looks so sweet!!! And thank you for sharing the ‘this didn’t work out’ part of it. I really suck at Halloween costumes. I love to make no-sewing ones, but the costumes that should be sewn just aren’t as fun to me. ah, well, maybe you’ll rub off on me one of these years!! Although I just did sew Natalie a candy corn costume, haha, it’s funny!

  5. cathgrace says:

    I have an Elsa too (I suspect at 12 mine may be the eldest Elsa!) I kept telling her she would be one in a million Elsa’s out there, but she was determined!!! I am just glad she is happy!!!

  6. rachel says:

    Iris was looking over my shoulder while I was reading this and she said, glowingly “My Elsa costume!” I said, “No. You’re Scooby, remember?” She said, “No, I Elsa.” Oh no, I’m in trouble. 🙂 Such an awesome dress, Kristin! I’m sure she’ll always remember it!

  7. KerryQ says:

    Oh, man. I’ve been there! The dress looks great! And Elsa clearly loves it, so it’s a win. It’s somewhat comforting to know that I’m not alone in the Halloween stress, and occasional flops. Thanks.

  8. Annette says:

    I am awestruck by your interpretation and E in the final reveal. I love the image of her in front of the display at Mill End. That said it all. She seemed really satisfied and delighted by what was on display. You toughed it out and really created magic for her.

  9. carolyn says:

    You are an incredibly nice mom to work so hard to make their dreams come to life! The dress looks fantastic! Sorry it gave you such a headache. That’s how I felt sewing with polyester taffeta a couple years ago. Also, that’s what the girls’ costumes are store bought thus year 🙂

  10. Brienne Moody says:

    She is so sweet. I love her poses. And it looks like she loves it. I made one too – it’s almost entirely made out of jersey – which seemed really smart. It’s going to be 30 degrees or so here BUT the neck is stretching like crazy – I don’t know why??? The skirt is maybe to heavy… Anyway, same feelings. Just want to make it to Halloween without it falling apart.

    I really like how you gathered the cape. It’s pretty pretty:)

    • kristin says:

      oh bummer about the neckline stretching! i totally thought about doing it in jersey knit but honestly i don’t really want her wearing it out of the house all the time, haha. selfish mama.

    • kristin says:

      supposedly you’re supposed to use french seams and rolled hems. sew it twice, basically; i guess otherwise you’re just perforating it and it can easily fray. i don’t have a rolled hem foot and i’m not sure how i’d french seam the skirt down to that point in front, so whatever.

      also i do think POLYESTER organza is worse than silk organza, which i sewed with before and had no issues with. it just feels so plasticy!

  11. Brittany says:

    It looks great, and you obviously have a happy customer on your hands. I was relieved my daughter didn’t want to be Elsa! I made her an Elsa dress for her birthday and had similar issues with finding the “right” fabric. I’m in no hurry to make another princess dress after that. My little one is going to be Doc McStuffins. If you’re interested, you can check out her costume on my blog : YarnBOB.wordpress.com.

  12. Brooke says:

    I really like it without the overskirt actually. Just so simple but pretty. Really love the cape flowing out of the back seam too! And I love your philosophy about Halloween costumes. A great perspective and it’s so fun when you do it for them!

  13. Lightning McStitch says:

    Wow. It looks fantastic, I hope it holds up to the demands of the night too.
    Oh, and I’m very glad I’m blog reading after kid’ bedtime ’cause if A saw this I would never hear the end of it! Bad me, I still haven’t “done Elsa”

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