Elsa Coronation Dress

EDIT: I’ve gotten a lot of inquiries asking if I would make this dress again – with and without the embroidery details – for other people to purchase from me. Sorry everyone but the answer is a firm no. This dress is very special to me because of the amount of work and love I put it. I won’t be able to replicate the same level of detail because a commission would force me into it.  I also do not do commissions in general because I do not have the time and energy to devote to such a large project again.

 

I’m one of the last of my friends to jump onto the Frozen bandwagon.  For all of its faults, I still rather like it.  Elsa’s character and her song “Let It Go” really speak to the introvert, easily irritated person I can be.  I can relate a lot to Elsa since our childhoods were similar: concealing your real emotions, hiding them away from the outside world.

The cosplayer in me really wants to make and wear her Ice Queen dress.  But so many people have done it so far that I am waiting for the hype to die down a bit. Instead, I picked another of her dresses to make: the coronation gown.  Even after I chose to make this dress, I’ve been hesitant about it.  I always said I wanted the bodice to be more corset like and the design embroidered, neither of which I have a ton of (good) experience with.  But cosplayers like challenges, don’t we?

Elsa_08At this point in time the costume is not 100% finished, but it’s been a while since I’ve posted so I thought I would show some progress shots.

The black part is cotton sateen and the base satin is a peacock blue.  It was really difficult for me to find an appropriate color for Elsa’s dress; every reference image I have changes slightly, some are more green tinted, others more blue.  Blue is my favorite color and more representative of Elsa so I settled on a peacock blue that, in certain lights, turns a greenish teal color and in other lights (like on my phone) turns royal blue.  The embroidery color keeps changing as well so I used colors that complemented each other and the satin (gray blue, reddish pink, magenta, sky blue, and purple).

I’m all for accuracy, but sometimes translating animation into real life is difficult.  Fabrics just don’t always come in all the different palettes and textures animation can create.

I decided to make the bodice an actual corset for a better shape.  The only downside to this is that the small back design has to be omitted. The bodice is made from a slight modification of Simplicity 5006 (mostly I omitted the center front seam but kept everything else).  The back is lined in sky blue stretch cotton sateen and is lightly boned.

The top of the under dress was made from a really old turtleneck pattern I own and Simplicity 1727 for the collar.  Darts (not seen) were put in the front and back to give the top shape and less bulk under the bodice.  The skirt is made from Simplicity 5235 (which no longer seems to exists).  The godet was omitted and the top cut off before the skirt was sewn to the sateen.  It closes in the back with a zipper and two hooks and eyes at the collar.

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All of the embroidery is done by hand.  It’s not as neat as I would like, but I can’t justify spending money on an embroidery machine that I would use so infrequently.  Hand embroidery isn’t always neat so it gives the cosplay a personal touch.  The sateen was a lot easier to embroider than the satin surprisingly.  I bruised my fingers frequently attempting to pull the needle through without puckering the fabric too much.  In all the embroidery for everything (top, bodice, skirt, and cape) took me about 100 hours, half of which is just setting up for the embroidery.

The cape is made of fuchsia satin, dark purple satin, and dark purple velvet.  The top was made from a modified Archer pattern; the rest of the cape was draped and cut in scrap cotton before being cut in the satin.

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Originally the Arendelle emblem was to be stitched in satin then the edges embroidered, but I was running out of time.  Instead I used freezer paper, sketched the design on, ironed it to the  cape, and painted in Jacquard Lumiere textile paint in magenta.  It came out great (I’ve been told it doesn’t look like paint but heat and bond) except for the edges.  To hide them, the edges are being stitched in pale pink embroidery thread in a simple stitch.

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I only did the main emblem design for time sake.  I have all the designs for the cape edge sketched out.  I decided to omit them for time’s sake, but also because they are not always seen.  The edges are most obvious in concept art; they only appear sporadically in the film.

The crown is made of two layers of worbla with a layer of craft foam in the middle.  I attached it to a plastic headband but am contemplating cutting off the ends (it squeezes my head without the wig on) and adding hair combs/clips instead.  It is currently awaiting gesso priming and painting.  A vintage rhinestone will be placed in the center.  The brooch is also made from a vintage rhinestone, craft foam (for backing), and worbla.

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I started this project around March 25 and hope to finish it by the end of next week (April 16).  It’s probably the most involved costume I have ever made simply for the time and all the techniques used.  It looks great on a dress form so I am very hopeful it will look good put together.