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.

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15 thoughts on “Elsa Coronation Dress

    • Thank you! Except for gloves (which I refuse to make for sanity) it is done. I just haven’t had a chance to get proper photos since it’s so hot and humid (I live in the southern US). I’ll be wearing Elsa to AWA at the end of Sept, and two of my photographer friends will be there so I’ll have some pictures then. I’ll be wearing her braid though since my favorite part of the Let It Go song is when she pulls out her bun (and it relieves me of dragging the cape around a crowded con).

      • I so don’t blame you on the glove thing. Having to sew gloves sounds like some sort of medieval form of punishment, lol. I totally understand the heat. I’m so happy I’m in the Pacific Northwest now. I lived in Hawaii for years prior to that, with no AC.

        I can’t wait to see you’re new photos though. I’m sure you’l look stunning. I like the braid and I think it’ll look just fine with this dress. And I think omitting the cape is probably a good idea. I’ve never attended a convention but I’ve had occasions to wear gowns over the years and without fail, at least one person will step on your train. Every. Single. Time. So it’s a safety thing. But the dress is so beautiful it really doesn’t need the cape. 🙂

      • Awesome work! Would u be willing to make the dress a second time but without all the details on it for me to purchase?

  1. Wow this turned out amazing! I love how this is coming together. I am working on my own elsa coronation dress. I was wondering what is a godet? I have done some research but still have questions. Also I believe I found the Simplicity 5235 pattern but I wanted to make sure. Does it have a picture of two women on the front one wearing a black skirt and white shirt and the other woman is wearing floral pants and a yellow shirt? Your help would be much appreciated.

  2. I LOVE your coronation gown. I’ve been trolling the internet for months now looking for something that’s quality. If you decide you’d like to make another one, for commission, (I know it’s a long stretch) Please contact me. RJsFacePaint@Gmail.com
    Best,
    RJ

    • Thank you for your compliment! However, I likely will not be making any coronation gowns for commission for two reasons: I cannot replicate the same quality hand embroidery a second time (and I still refuse to buy a machine) and it is such a form fitting gown it will require constant fittings.

      Sorry. 😦

      • You’re welcome, thank you for the reply. It was tough for me to ask knowing how much time and dedication it takes to create one of these! Once again, bravo. Beautiful job!

  3. This is by far my favorite Elsa coronation gown I have seen around the interwebs. Its gorgeous! Did you ever get the chance to take pics of the completed dress? If so I am dying to see them!

  4. Hello Sew Kurafty, such a lovely Coronation dress! I love all of the embroidery. I was curious to see if you would at all be interested in making and selling one for me? I can order them just about anywhere but what sets yours apart from the rest is the hand embroidery. I absolutely love it and would love to own one like it. Please if interested let me know.

    • So many people have asked to commission me for their own version of my coronation dress. I really wish I could help you out, but I have to decline all commissions. I don’t really have the time or energy to make another with my job. Plus, the embroider is done by hand and takes a huge toll on my fingers and joints. Most importantly – for me – I wouldn’t be able to give a second dress the same level of craftsmanship and enthusiasm I put into mine. It would just become a chore and I don’t think that’s fair to others.

      Really, thank you truly for your interest but I will have to respectfully decline.

  5. I absolutely understand. What a bummer though, yours is absolutely gorgeous! I just need to learn to sew and do embroidery on my own. Thank you though. All of your work is wonderful!

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