Friday, March 7, 2014

Looking for an Elsa Dress?

So is every other parent in America. Apparently the producers of FROZEN didn't think Elsa would be the popular sister (between Elsa's gorgeous dress and her magic ice powers, poor Anna didn't stand a chance), so there is a huge Elsa dress shortage. I found a gorgeous one on for $295. Haha. Not happening. However, I had a deep and unexplained desired to put Lucy in an Elsa dress, so I searched everywhere for a pattern or a tutorial on how to do it. I found two. Two sad lonely little pages on how someone's mom made a sub-par Elsa dress. Seriously, people?? There were 194,038 hits for how to make a rubber band banjo and TWO for the most popular Disney princess since, I don't know, Cinderella. And they weren't the loveliest renditions. So I did a little brainstorming and a lot of thinking-while-driving and this is what I came up.

Here are the raw materials:

2 yards (54") of teal glitter costume satin for the skirt and bodice backing

1/2 yard (36") of some sort of sequin-y, sparkly fabric for the outer bodice (sequins are hard to sew, glitter sheds, lace snags. Choose that which you find the least irritating).

2 yards (54") of lacy sparkly fabric for the cape
1-3 yards narrow trim of choice
Sew-on jewels (NOT glue-on or bedazzler type jewels-make sure they have holes in them).
White or light blue leotard. I got mine here.

Before I start, I must highly, HIGHLY recommend using a serger with this fabric. Borrow one, buy one, steal one, just serge the crap out of this stuff. It frays like a sombitch.

Get a few measurements. And I do mean a few. Basically all you need is the hip measurement since little girls are pretty much the same size top to bottom, but just for giggles, get the waist, chest, and length from armpit to waist, too. Now, add 3" to the hip measurement, and you have th basis for th whole dress. You want her to be able to step into the dress from the top.

Trim the leotard with a sparkly silver or white sequin braid. I had to do this by hand. Well...I had to do it by hand if I wanted to work on the dress AND watch Brooklyn 99 at the same time.

Cut the leotard off at the waist (or slightly below the waist).

The costume satin should measure 74" long and 54" wide. Cut about 10" off of the BOTTOM of the glitter satin (so now it should measure roughly 44" wide, still 74" long), and set the smaller piece aside for the bodice. Sew the skirt together, stopping about 10" down (to create the slit in the skirt; sew all the way own if you don't want a slit). Finish the edges of the slit by rolling the edges under and making a narrow hem.
Hide the seam in a few deep pleats (which for some reason I didn't take a picture of) and gather the rest of the skirt.
Cut a ribbon to the hip measurement plus ~3" and sew it into a circle. Make sure your Elsa can step into this ribbon and get it comfortably up around her waist before proceeding. Sew the skirt to the ribbon. It did this because I hate measuring. I want to do it one time. I knew I was sewing this skirt to a stretchy leotard and I didn't want to have to measure a million times to make sure it was still the right circumference. I actually sewed it on wrong, but it worked out fine, and frankly doesn't really matter since it is going to be hidden under the bodice.
Pin the skirt to the bottom of the leotard (use a lot of pins to make sure it is even). Sew it together, hem the bottom edge at the appropriate length and the skirt is done. This is what the inside looked like. May I take this moment to again encourage you to serge the living crap out of this?
Malcolm got ahold of my phone at this point and took some pictures for me:
Using the chest and torso measurements you took earlier, cut a long rectangle from the extra satin you cut off the skirt. Add a few inches for seam allowance, closures and shaping. Lucy's chest measured 23.25", and the torso length was 6.5" so I cut a rectangle measuring 27" x 10". Then I shaped the point in the front by cutting at an angle from the sides down to the middle. Cut a matching piece out of the sparkly bodice fabric. Pin them together, right sides together. Sew around the edge, leaving a hole to turn it right side out. CIip the corners and turn it right side out. Press the seams flat (be aware, this satin will melt/scorch if you aren't extremely careful with the temperature!).

I cut mine a little short, so I just added a few inches after the fact and now it is adjustable to a bigger sizzle. Which is so cool...and I totally did it on purpose...

Add your closures (I used snaps, Velcro will work just fine, though it will snag the cape, so just be aware).

The bodice is not quite done, but set it aside for a moment and go to the cape.


Hem the or serge the cape fabric. Gather the top edge so it is 6-7" wide. Sew this across the back of the leotard.


I had some real questions about how to attach the bodice to the leotard. I decided that I wanted to preserve as much stretch in the leotard as possible (since I want her to be able to step into it, and wear it as she gets bigger), so sewing it all the way around would pretty much destroy the awesome adjustability I built into the bodice (again, totally my plan...). So instead, I used the sew-on jewels to attach the bodice across the front of the leotard for a few inches. Pin the bodice to the appropriate place on the leotard and sew all the way through all layers as you attached th jewels to the front of the dress.










There you have it! Finished dress, happy girl! And I don't take Pinterest-worthy photos, I'm afraid.





  1. This is a beautiful dress and w wonderful tutorial! Your little girl is very lucky, and so are we because you shared all of the steps. Thank you!

  2. I love the leotard idea. I think I'm going to combo this tutorial with a Cinderella dress pattern I found. LOVE IT :)

    1. Thanks! Lucy LOVES it! I'd love to see pics of your when it is finished!

  3. I'm in the middle of making my granddaughter an Elsa dress. OMG what an adventure! Your tutorial is outstanding! Love the way you made it!

  4. This etsy shop is where I got my daughters Elsa dress, and they have been putting new ones up frequently. They have one up now for sale in a size 5T.

  5. I love this kind of Frozen Elsa Dress. I am sure you would like this kind too.

    Just go to here: to look this kind of Frozen Anna Dress. It is all handmade and fast shipping. Really valuable for you to buy.

  6. You could use an inexpensive knit shirt instead of the leotard. They, leotards, can be pricey. I attach capes with snaps. There are times, like for washing, they need to be removed. Nice tute.