If you’re like any other mom (or dad) of young kids out there, you’ve probably heard of (and watched 10,000 times already) the Disney movie “Frozen”. It’s currently my little guy’s second favorite movie (although he calls it ‘snow’) next to Monsters U… we had a birthday party coming up for a good friend of ours and since it was a Frozen themed birthday, I knew exactly what to get the birthday girl – an Elsa dress! The problem that we ran into was that there really wasn’t a whole lot of options out there for Frozen Queen Elsa dresses… solution- hack a McCall’s pattern to fit our needs!! Since I really believe in sharing the knowledge of sewing, here is a tutorial to help you create your own Frozen inspired “Elsa” gown!
First, a quick trip to Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabrics to gather up the supplies. The pattern that I used as my basis was McCalls’ 6629. I picked up 2 1/2 yards of a nice turquoise satin (60 ” wide), a yard of some sequin stretch fabric for the glitter bodice, 1 yard of 45″ wide stretch silver dance apparel fabric for the sleeves and upper bodice, and 2 yards of sheer stretch special occasion fabric with silver sparkles for the “snow cape”. Also, I picked up some hook and loop tape to use to make the snow cape removable since the dress was for play. Here is a photo of the exact supplies I used for this project:
I modified the pieces that I used from the pattern a bit- I didn’t need the skirt to be as full as the one from the pattern, so I simply omitted the front panel piece. I cut out the side and back skirt pieces, and cut the “V” template from the front pattern piece onto one of those sections. The skirt ended up being plenty full without the front added in. I also knew that I was going to make modifications to the bodice- especially the upper portion. I will walk you through those modifications below.
Cut out your bodice pieces. I cut out the bodice pieces in the Satin, the Sequin and also a modified piece from the silver dancewear fabric. The modified piece was created by using the front and side bodice pieces placed on the fabric and cut around. I then cut out a front and back neckline by “eyeballing” where I wanted the neckline to be. I wasn’t too worried about it being too neat as I was going to create a matching bias tape for the neckline finishing.
I then sewed the sequin and satin fabric pieces together as directed in the pattern instructions. Now came the scary part- cutting the bodice straps to make a “strapless” bodice portion (that would be sewn directly onto the silver dancewear fabric top).
I cut the front piece to follow the sweetheart neckline on both the sequin and satin portions.
For the modification of the back piece, I trimmed off the strap top cutting off the arm hole curve. I also cut out an additional two back pieces to act as lining for the back piece.
To complete the bodice, I started with the front. I sewed the sequin fabric to the satin lining, right sides together. I used my overlock serger as often as possible since I knew this would be a child’s play dress and would take a beating.
Turn the front bodice right sides out and press the sweetheart neckline into shape. Sew the back pieces together at the top. and turn right sides out. Press again. Join the front and back together (again, right sides together) and turn right sides out. Press to create clean seam line for when you attach it to the spandex dancewear material.
Attach your sequin bodice portion to your silver dancewear bodice piece. I simply placed the sequin bodice right sides out on top of the silver fabric and top stitched 1/8″ down from the top of the sequin bodice. I hate using pins when sewing, but this is one of those instances where I absolutely used pins to keep the bodice in the right location. I double checked placement of the bodice by using the pattern piece to ensure it was lined up properly.
I then opened up the sequin bodice potion, and on the inside of the whole bodice, I hemmed the raw edge of the silver spandex material to the lining of the sequin bodice (just giving it additional reinforcement and a finished look on the inside of the dress).
I sewed the shoulder seams together, and finished off the neckline with a bias tape made from the matching fabric. Nothing fancy, just a 2 inch wide piece of fabric that I folded down both raw edges about 1/2 inch each and then folded that onto the raw edge of the neckline. Now it was time to prep the sleeves for attaching to the bodice. It is easier to attach the sleeves to the bodice with the side seam and the seam of the sleeve open, but in this instance with the sequin bodice being sewn on top, I needed to sew the sleeves on the “difficult way”.
I wanted the sleeves to be somewhat form fitting, and also have a “V” shape on the top of the hand like Elsa’s gown. I used the sleeve pattern piece, but then trimmed off the excess fabric to give it a more “trim” appearance.
I tapered the measurement off so that the portion of the sleeve that would attach to the bodice was the same. I then serged the sleeve to the bodice. The upper bodice was constructed and ready to attach to the lower skirt.
I sewed the skirt together as the pattern directed. Since it was a large amount of fabric I needed to gather, I used the old trick of setting your stitch length on its maximum and also cranking up your tension to its maximum. With my Brother 2500D, this means my settings for a straight stitch were 5.0 and 9.0 respectively. Gather your skirt and pin the bodice to the skirt. Serge the skirt bottom to the top- overlapping the top back slightly if you’re doing Velcro for a closure.
I wanted to make the dress as adjustable as possible, so I used a wide 2 inch Velcro Loop tape on the one side of the bodice closure, and a normal 3/4 inch hook tape on the other side. This will allow the bodice to “stretch” a little as the wearer grows! I also placed some Velcro on the neckline to also allow for adjustment.
The final touch was of course, the long, elegant “Ice Cape”. I knew that I wanted it to be removable so that our “Ice Queen” wearing it could have it on inside the house, but remove it for outside play. First, I attached the loop tape portions to the bodice. I cut two pieces so that they were on either side of the opening in the back. I simply measured out the piece of Velcro Hook Tape from the under arm seam and then cut that in half. Sew the two pieces in place with each edge ending right under the underarm/side seam.
For the cape portion, I gathered my fabric and attached it to the WRONG (or smooth) side of the loop tape.
(side note- LOVE my Jamberry Nail wraps- they certainly have taken a beating with all the projects I’ve done this week, and I couldn’t be happier with how they look!)
I double stitched the material on the this side, to reinforce the fabric.
I then turned the velrco to the “right side” and top stitched the fabric in place. This created a solid cape piece that was now removable.
To finish, I just hand sewed the hem- I wanted to make the hem adjustable by about 8 inches, and hand sewing the hem was the best way to accomplish this goal. I also added two loops of baby elastic on the end of the pointed sleeve to allow the wearer to keep the pointed sleeve in place.
Here is the finished product! It was a HUGE hit at the party and I could not have been happier to see the reaction of the little princess that received it- its always a joy to see someone enjoy the end product of your hard work!