Can we pretend for a moment that all that lush green grass is the cold white snow of Arendale? Not that I want there to be snow in October. Or ever. But just so the context is a bit more familiar, you know?
So Kate wanted to be Elsa for Halloween. Everyone tried to reason with her: Elsa has insubstantial sleeves and shoulders that would freeze while out snagging candy; Elsa has a ridiculously narrow skirt with a slit so high that one might as well go out in the cold bare-legged; every girl in the world will be going as Elsa, etc.
She would not be deterred. She wanted to be Elsa. Not Anna, not Olaf, not Oaken (sniff).
Elsa it was, then. And because I love my child (and didn't want her to be, literally, frozen, or particularly adult-looking), I adapted Elsa's original gown so it would work for a little girl with a penchant for running and dancing and flinging.
First, the bodice.
"You must be able to see through it!" Kate insisted.
(Hellooooo, french seams.)
After much shopping and no sign of powernet, stretch mesh or anything of that ilk, I bought this pale blue chiffon-crepe with a slight crosswise give. Instead of the movie's off-shoulder boatneck, I gave Kate a medium scoop that sat more securely on her shoulders. This neckline was narrow-faced on the WS and then covered on the RS with some silver sequin cluster trim.
The invisible back zipper, being no longer invisible under the sheer chiffon, was camouflaged with another silver trim.
Then the bustier overlay - a glittery stretch velour
lined on the WS with a soft knit, because Kate dictated, "it mustn't be scratchy!"
I used the same trim at the seam where the skirt attaches to the drop-waist of the bodice.
There being so much bling already on the upper dress, I only added one more embellishment detail to the front - a iron-on gem decal from JoAnn.
The skirt was a simple semi-circular skirt attached at the drop waist. This is different from the many varieties of commercial child Elsa outfits, which are gathered-skirted in stiff satin or organza. As a principle, I don't do gathered skirts for my costumes - they don't twirl and they drape badly.
The sleeves were straight to the elbow and then slightly flared, which differed from the movie version. Several reasons: the fabric wasn't stretchy enough to support the tight fitted sleeves that the original Elsa had, the slight flared line went better with this fuller skirt, kids generally like billowy sleeves more than the snug ones, etc. I even cut it looser in the armscye than usual.
They were a little plain, even with silver trim at the hems, so I painted a silver snowflake on each bicep with fabric paint.
The train now.
I'm not sure if it's just my kid, but the train seems to be a super big deal in this costume. Kate had very specific requirements for her train (or cape, as she called it), the most important being that it had to be long and sparkly. I bought some random lurex and used it as is - a rectangle with the bottom corners rounded off.
The train wraps around to just under the front of the armpit.
As you all know, I sat on this train for the longest time, trying to decide on the simplest way to permanently attach it and still allow the function of the back zipper. The solution, it turns out, was ridiculously simple.
Make a pleat that bridges the zippered opening. It should be wide enough for the back bodice to fully open. Sew the sides of that pleat to both edges of the zipper on the RS, tapering slightly towards the bottom of the zipper. It will not taper to an actual point.
It really is as easy as that. When the zipper is closed (under the train fabric), there will be a triangular-but-not-pointy dart hidden under the train. The seam lines are hidden within the natural drape of the train fabric - see?
Here is the cloak. Obviously, Elsa didn't have one in the movie, since "the cold never bothered her anyway". But the cold clearly bothers my wee ones, particularly those with gossamer fabric on their shoulders.
It was like wrapping a (matching) blanket around oneself while walking outdoors.
And you all already know how to make the wig.
and celebrating the happy liberation of their kingdoms from a long and bitter winter.
While here in Minnesota, we are just entering ours.