Let It Sew: The stormy road to Elsa

Hello there. As you may or may not know, I dressed as Elsa this past Halloween for the annual night time activities, which this year included a viewing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show with the shadow cast. I made my costume for the first time ever, so I thought I’d share the story with some tips in case you yourself are ever interested in taking a humongous and painstaking task such as this.

It all began last year after Halloween just before Frozen came to theaters. I posted a picture on my sister’s facebook wall pitching the idea for homemade Anna and Elsa costumes for Halloween 2014 [hey that rhymes]. It was a go. -Please note that neither of us had ever sewn anything in our entire lives on a sewing machine. We didn’t care.-

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We decided a good way to start was to take a sewing class at JoAnn Fabrics to get the basics down. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to learn how to sew. The classes are all about $50 for 3 or so hours, and you can even bring in your own project that you are working on for help from the JoAnn sewer people. Sam and I made zipper bags that turned out pretty dang cute, I must say.

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In August of this year, I decided to get some good sewing practice in and made a vest for my birthday for a Marty McFly costume. It was hard, but not impossible, and it served it’s purpose. This is my second recommendation – before taking on a huge project, do a smaller something to get practice in before it actually counts.

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It was then time to buy the fabrics for Anna and Elsa. This is where I went … not ‘wrong’… but definitely not perfect. I should’ve done more research on fabrics, how they move and stretch, and what types are good for which pieces of an outfit – more on that later. Anyway, we got pretty much the most perfect colors and textures that we could hope for, so we were happy. We also found an official Frozen costume pattern, so it was a win all around.

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Next came the cutting. This was the worst part. The laying out of the fabric, the pinning of the pattern, and the pinning together of the pieces. I really just hated this whole part of the process. I suppose my advice for this is just power through. The longer you procrastinate and put up a fuss over it, the longer you have to submerged in the hellscape itself.

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The sewing together of the pieces really was the fun part [if you ignore the mess-ups and seam-ripping]. Once the dress started to (literally) come together, a sense of accomplishment washed over, and sort of made the frustrating bits worth it.

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The skirt was completed first, then the bodice, then the sleeves… oh the sleeves. How I hated you so. This was where more fabric knowledge really would’ve helped. Please listen to the following piece of advice – sleeves need room for arm movement. This sounds so simple doesn’t it? Maybe it is. But for whatever reason, this thought didn’t really occur to me until I had sewn the sleeves and tried to bend my elbow. If you would, picture folding a sausage in half inside of a tube of pretty, sheer blue fabric. You now have an accurate image of my arm at this stage. But with some re-cutting, tantruming, and a little extra room, it turned out great. So I guess my second piece of advice here is, make it work.

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After adding the cape, which I attached with snaps so it could be removed in cases of being extremely cumbersome, the last task was adding the embellishments… gems, glitter, etc. This part was also fun. The lesson- hot glue is your friend.

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All in all, I’m very proud of the result, and it proved to be lots of fun for twirling around and singing Frozen songs all night. And now I’m all set for a Disney-themed party. I’ll leave you with these last points…

  • not all zippers open all the way apart – figure out which one you need before you go to the store.
  • measure 3x, cut once.
  • spray glitter doesn’t stay on for long.
  • beware the pins…
  • & blood DOES wash out, do not panic.
  • no matter how well you plan out your trip to JoAnn’s, you’ll have to go back for something.

Thank you for listening to this story. I wish you luck in all your sewing endeavors.

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xo

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2 thoughts on “Let It Sew: The stormy road to Elsa

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