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all photos: Janel
The other day I shared how to make a DIY Anna Costume. Well, the duo is just not complete without an Elsa Costume too…especially if you have two daughters who want to play Frozen!
In choosing the materials for the Elsa costume, I let the fancy fabric for the “cape” of the dress be my guide in color choice. When my girls saw this Casa Collection Glitter Organza Scroll in Blue Radiance at Joann, they begged me to buy it.
It’s not cheap at $10/yd, but I managed to snag some at 50% off. It’s a rather wide fabric at 57 inches, so you can probably get away with a small amount of yardage. The fabric is beautiful and sparkly, but if you choose it, be prepared to find glitter everywhere.
Because this fabric was a teal color, we chose teal glitter satin for the skirt. But, you could also choose light blue or a silvery color too if you wanted.
Since I couldn’t find teal felt for the top, we went with white felt. Originally, I planned to just keep the top white with the attached “cape” panels, but my Elsa didn’t think that was authentic enough. So, I added a layer of the fancy fabric over the front of the felt top. This is purely optional, but it really wasn’t that much work either — and it made the kid happy.
A note about cost…as I mentioned in my Anna Costume post, I spent approximately $20 on the fabric for 4 costumes (2 of each), but I purchased all of the materials either on sale or with a 40% or 50% off coupon.
Obviously, your cost will vary based on the cost of the materials that you find at your local store. I shop at my local Joann Fabric Store and usually prepare myself for a trip by sending coupons to my smart phone as well as printing them at home from the website. I can usually get at least one more coupon in-store with the store flyer. As long as the coupons have different numbers, you can use them all in a single transaction.
How to Make an Elsa Costume
For Elsa’s Skirt
- light blue or teal blue costume glitter satin
- light blue or teal blue thread
- sewing machine
- 1-inch elastic
- Measure the child’s waist. You’ll need a length of elastic this long plus about 1-inch.
- Measure the distance from the child’s waist to down to about her ankle. Take this measurement and add about 2.5 inches for the bottom hem and the waistband casing. You’ll need this much royal blue costume satin, so your fabric will be this measurement by how ever wide the fabric is. Costume satin is typically about 44 inches wide.
To assemble the skirt: Follow the step-by-step instructions in this DIY Dress-Up Skirt tutorial with this variation if you prefer:
- To add a slit: After you sew up the back seam of the skirt and before you hem the bottom of the skirt, you can add a slit in the skirt. For modesty’s sake, I chose not to make the slit higher than my child’s knee. Cut a slit on the right-side and then widen it a bit by making it a thin triangle. (I made mine about 9 – 11 inches tall about 5 inches from the mid-line of the skirt.) Fold the edges over once and then again. Pin in place and stitch all the way around. Add some extra stitching along the top so that the slit doesn’t rip more. Finish the skirt by hemming the bottom and then creating the waistband.
For Elsa’s Top:
- white (or blue) felt
- fancy fabric for Elsa’s “cape” – try organza or tulle with sparkle if you can
- fasteners of your choice, such as sew-on snaps, hooks, or Fabric Fusion Velcro
- thread – white, blue, or teal depending on your fabric choices
- sewing machine
- To Measure: Take three measurements:
- Measurement A – Measure around child’s chest under armpits
- Measurement B – Measure from the chest where you want top to start to below the waist where you want the top to come to a point (about 2 inches below the waist).
- Measurement C – Measure how long you need the straps to be.
- Cut a rectangle of fabric that is Measurement A plus about 3 inches (for overlap) by Measurement B plus about 2 inches (for the top portion that will fold down).
- Take this rectangle and fold it almost in half — have the bottom layer stick out by about 1 inch. Use straight pins to hold the felt in place. It will look something like this:
- Use a straight edge and pen to mark where you’ll want to cut the curved shape of the neckline and the point at the bottom of the top. For the neckline, start at the fold about 2 inches down and cut a curved line over about 2-inches. For the bottom of the top, start at the bottom of the fold and draw a line at an angle over about 1/4 of Measurement A. Then continue the line straight over to the edge of the fabric. Secure along your marks with straight pins and then cut along the lines.
- Fold down the top two inches and pin in place (do not sew it down). This will make the folded over top edge that will hide the stitching of the “cape” underneath. Then, wrap the top around the child and pin the overlap in the back in place. Use straightpins to mark where the overlap in the back lies (pin them vertically to the side of the overlap). This will help guide you in placing your fasteners. Attach your fasteners, and double-check to make sure that it fits the child.
- Cut two straps from white felt that are about 2 inches wide by Measurement C plus an extra inch. While the top is on the child, pin the straps in place. Remove top from the child and use the sewing machine to stitch the straps permanently in place with white thread underneath — not through — the folded over top edge.
- Optional — If you want to make the front of the top match the “cape” (as my Elsa insisted I do), use your white felt top as a guide to cut out an overlay from the fancy fabric. Hem the edges of this piece and sew into place onto the white felt top. (I only made mine cover the front portion of the white top because the “cape” was going to cover the sides anyway.)
- Cut two long rectangles of the fancy fabric that are each about 3/4 of the width of Measurement A (slightly less is okay too – the cape just won’t be as full with pleats) and as long as you want the “cape” to be. Hem the sides and the bottom to finish the edges of both rectangles.
- Remove the pins from the folded over top edge. Take the unfinished edge of the “cape” rectangles and align them with the fold line of the top. Pin the cape panels to the felt top with some pleats. Make sure not to pin the cape panel where it will interfere with your fasteners. Stitch down. Re-fold the top edge to hide the stitching and add a few stitches on the back side to hold the fold in place.
Putting the Elsa Costume together:
If you want to add a layer under the Elsa costume, use a tight-fitting long-sleeved shirt or leotard. I’ve found children’s long-sleeve leotards online for about $12 plus free shipping. We’ve gotten a lot of use out of them for various dress-up play.
Also, you can add a little bling to the top gluing on some rhinestones. Of course, sweep the hair to one side for a signature Elsa braid too!
More Frozen fun that your princess will love:
- Frozen Soundtrack on CD – the soundtrack takes pretend play to a whole new level
- Frozen Read-Along Storybook and CD – the little Anna shown above got this for her birthday earlier this month and has listened to it over, and over, and over…
- Frozen Two Disc Blue Ray/DVD + Digital Copy — it will be released on March 18th!
- Janel is a stay-at-home mom of two daughters and a “law school wife” in Virginia. Raised in a budget-conscious and DIY-minded family, she blogs about motherhood, crafts, and living on a law school budget at Life with Lucie and Ella.