Tag Archives: how to

The cold bothers me a bit

ElsaJust a disclaimer, this is going to be a long post with a ton of photos! You’ve been warned. :]

Frozen came out in 2013 and I spent the better part of the next year hearing “You haven’t seen Frozen?? Why not? It’s so good, you’ll love it! You should watch it immediately.” Why not? Because of this post. I get a bit, shall we say cuckoo in the head with certain films/tv shows and develop an urgent need to run to the nearest fabric store to recreate 1-5 costumes. In 2013 I was in a place of definitely not having the time or funds to do so and even without having seen the movie I could tell Frozen was going to be one of those films. So I held off for about a year.

You guys, it was immediate. Within two days of seeing the movie I had a long list of things to buy and was spending 3-4 hours a day pricing fabrics and craft supplies and reading up on different techniques of creating the bodice and different fabric combinations for the whole outfit.

From start to finish I think this took about six months, although I wasn’t working on it continuously.



The bodice was definitely the most fun so it’s what I started with. I started off with Butterick 4254 View C and made a corset, complete with plastic boning. I used old cotton twill Ikea curtains for the outside, interfacing, and some turquoise rayon challis for lining. Once the corset was put together, it was time to figure out how to get the scaly rectangular effect of the bodice.

2014-11-18 11.23.02

2014-11-19 18.07.59

There seemed to be two main techniques that were popular, which was using custom cut rectangle sequins and using glitter craft foam. I didn’t love the effect of the sequins so I went with the craft foam. I ordered eight sheets of turquoise glitter craft foam from this eBay seller (I ended up only using about five sheets). I experimented with rectangle sizes and ended up decided to cut them primarily in two sizes, bigger ones for the bottom layer and then smaller ones for a second layer to fill in any cracks where the white of the corset showed through. I used craft glue which worked pretty well, although I did notice when wearing the corset that some of the rectangles came off where there was a lot of motion, such as underarm areas and the bottom edge around my hips. I’ll have to do some maintenance and will probably look into a stronger adhesive for that.

2014-11-19 18.20.11

Once the glitter foam was glued on I used a combination of seed beads and square rhinestones as embellishment. Using reference photos, I concentrated most of them on the bottom edge. After that, I used spray glue and iridescent glitter to try to ombre the whole thing to be more screen accurate. I don’t think it made that much of a different, to be honest.

2015-01-16 15.56.35

For the closure, I used six silver grommets on either side and white cording for lacing. It’s not turquoise but it doesn’t show through the cape so I was fine with the effect. The only thing I don’t love is that it doesn’t look so good without the cape on since you can clearly see white laces and white where the turquoise rectangles stop.



The skirt was easy to draft but kind of a pain to find fabric for. I was shopping for skirt fabric online right before my Taiwan trip and found this fabric, which seemed perfect except there was no way to touch it and make sure the color matched and it was a little more than I wanted to spend on just the skirt. I ended up holding off and then finding the most perfect fabric at a random fabric store that we wandered into on our first day there.

2014-12-27 13.20.46

It’s kind of a light sweater knit with gorgeous silver strands woven in and the color works beautifully with all of the other turquoise shades. I decided to line it with a mysterious Sewfisticated fabric that looks like a cross between rayon challis and some kind of crepe. Then I used ribbon to close the seam and to add extra shaping to the bottom edge of the skirt, kind of like a faux horsehair braid effect.

2015-02-17 11.06.15

Drafting the skirt was pretty simple. I basically just cut one piece for the front and two identical pieces for the back, allowing for a bit of a train. I made the skirt a little fuller than Elsa’s actual dress but it feels a little more princessy so I’m ok with it.



The undershirt was a hilarious endeavor. I needed a raglan top made of mesh so it could be skin-tight and sheer so I bought some cream colored mesh and dyed it turquoise. Then I needed a raglan top and the Linden pattern I had just bought happened to be sitting next to me so I just decided to use that. I had to size down a lot and ended up taking in the sleeves an extra inch at the end but it worked really well. I omitted all of the bands and sewed a row of silver seed beads around the neckline. I also left the sleeve edges raw and cut them at an angle to be pointy.

I also did some last minute attempts to create the sleeve patterns with glitter and spray glue but ran out of time so I may have to go back and finish that someday.



The cape was so stressful but also so much fun! I started off with 5-6 yards of 60″ wide sheer curtain fabric from Sewfisticated.


I cut out a super long cape and while it was gorgeous it still felt like it was missing something. I ended up getting two more yards and adding “wings” on either side so the edge of the cape hangs around the knees and doesn’t actually hit the ground. Much better. I used French seams and burned the open edges (yay polys!) to finish. In total the cape has five separate panels.


Then came the hard part. Elsa’s cape has a giant pattern in it that’s super hard to see because of all the folds and super hard to recreate because of how massive my cape was. I used painter’s tape to tape the edges of the larger designs, and then used glitter and spray glue for the actual designs.

2014-11-30 15.29.11

I used a mix of iridescent glitter and glow in the dark glitter from Michael’s and I love the semi-glowy effect in the photos.

2015-02-22 17.32.52

The snowflakes were easier since it was just a matter of spacing them out evenly. I chose about 5-6 different snowflake designs and traced them onto sticky paper, then “laminated” them with packing tape.

2015-02-22 16.11.37

Then I cut them out and used/reused them as sticky templates with glitter and spray glue to make snowflakes all over the cape. The large center snowflake was harder because I had to sketch it out from a screen shot and make a special template for it that was much bigger. I love the effect though!



I spent a TON of time researching wigs because I’d never worn one before and it seemed like a lot of fun. I was originally going to go with a platinum blonde wavy one from one of the many reputable eBay wig sellers (like this one and this one) but then discovered Arda wigs.

2015-02-28 12.29.51

Arda actually released a wig specially designed for Elsa cosplayers that is almost perfect for recreating Elsa’s hairstyle. It’s super long and has layers cut into the front. It’s super nice quality and the Titanium Blonde color is so perfect for Elsa.

2015-02-28 12.30.05

For styling, I trimmed the layers a bit and used Got2B Glued hairspray (that stuff is no joke) to spray everything into place. I used a little bit of the Got2Bglued spiking gel that came with the spray to style the spikes above the braid too. I also trimmed about 3″ off the end of the braid because it was a bit too long. I ended up deciding the braid wasn’t thick enough and I bought a second crappy $10 Amazon wig to cut up and sew into the Arda wig, but the color was off and I ran out of time to find one that wasn’t orange. If I were to do it over I’d get some extra wefts in the same color from Arda and sew those in to make the braid more substantial.

I also bought these snowflake hair pins to decorate the braid.

For colored contacts, I bought a few different options because I had no idea what I was doing. These ones were probably the most natural. The diameter is the same as normal contacts and the blue is a pretty natural shade. I also picked up a pair of these for funsies (I’m wearing them a few photos up and in the photoshoot). They’re a larger lens and give you a bit more of a cartoon-ish (or “alien”, according to Boyfriend) look. Both pairs are good for a year upon opening the package. I also bought some single use disposable ones in Taiwan but never actually tried them out. Whoops.

Someday I might make Elsa’s shoes but since this was for PAX I wanted to make sure I could actually walk around all day. I ended up snagging a pair of athletic-looking silver flats that did the job nicely.

PHEW! The end.

A simple skirt tutorial

Orange skirt

Want to make a cute super-easy-to-style skirt out of three rectangles (technically four if you count the interfacing, I guess)? I made two versions of this Very Simple Skirt™(blogged here and here) and several people had asked for a tutorial (which I promised ages ago and I apologize for the wait!) so here it is!

This skirt method is pretty simple; it only requires three pieces of fabric, all of which are rectangles. There’s a bit of math involved though (and some eyeballing), which I know is definitely not my best friend so if you’re confused about anything please ask!

I also wanted to introduce my newest sponsor: Moxtra. For someone who learns visually, this app is a godsend. You create “binders” of photos that you can then doodle, write on, and add voice notes to, and then send to friends or share with an audience. You can see my Moxtra binder for this skirt tutorial (with extra notes and doodles!) here.

Let’s do this!

-Fabric (see step 1)
-Tiny bit of interfacing (for waistband)
-Zipper (mine was 7″ but you can use whatever length you like)
-Snap closures
-Some minor math skills
-1/2″ seams, which I realize isn’t a supply but I thought I should mention that’s what my math and I are using

1. Fabric – The amount of fabric depends on two things: how long you want your skirt and your waist measurement. My skirt used about a yard of 60″ wide fabric and I had some leftover. I recommend using something more substantial that can hold the shape of the pleats, although if anyone tries this with something lightweight I’d love to hear how that came out!

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

2. Measure your waist – Measure your waist where you want the top of the skirt to sit. Add 1″ for seams and 1/2″ for the extended tab. (I usually like to make it several inches longer and then trim down, but if you’re confident about your waist measuring skills then 1.5″ extra is all you should need.) Where I wanted it to sit was 27″, so my waistband piece would be 28.5″ long.

3. Prep the waistband – I like to keep waistbands at around 1.5-2″ tall. If you want to go any taller, you should probably make it curved to accommodate your actual body curves, otherwise it’ll sit funny and wrinkle (unless you’re making something high-waisted or if you’re less curvy). That means my waistband piece is (1.5″ x 2 because of folding it over) + 1″ for seams, which equals 4″ tall, which means the rectangle measures 28.5″ x 4″.

Once you have your waistband cut out, cut out a rectangle of interfacing that is the same length but only half the width of your waistband (so mine was 28.5″ x 2″) Iron that on to one half of the waistband.

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

Once you have that ironed on, fold it lengthwise with right sides facing and sew it along the long edge and one of the short edges. Make sure you leave one short edge open! Once those are sewn, trim the edges of the sewn short edge as shown, and turn the whole thing right side out. Iron it and set it aside.

4. Cut the skirt pieces – I love the more polished effect of the pleats, so I did two on either side in the front, and two on either side in the back. To figure out how wide the skirt rectangle will be, we’re going to add the width of the waistband plus the extra width required for the pleats. Since there’s a front and back, we’re going to do the math and then chop it in half to have two rectangles for the skirt (front and back, with side seams).

I did 1.25″ pleats, and since each pleat requires 2.5″ of fabric, 2.5″ x 8 total pleats equals 20″. Since there are two skirt pieces, each is half the waistband (half of 28″ is 14″) + half the extra for the pleats (half of 20″ is 10″), which is 24″. The length of the skirt is whatever you want it to be. I like mine a little shorter so I went with 17″. So my skirt pieces are each 24″ by 17″.

I’m going to be honest though, if you’re off by a little bit it’s not going to make much of a difference. This is moreso to give you an idea of how big to cut your skirt pieces. Also the math part is over. Yayyy!

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

5. Sew the skirt pieces – Take the two skirt pieces and hold the right sides together. Sew one of the side seams (the shorter ones) together and then zigzag (or serge if you’re fancy!) to finish. Leave the other side open! Now would be a good time to finish the rest of the edges.

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial
6.  Prep the waistband – Grab the waistband piece. It should be right side out and ironed and one end should be open. Now we’re going to check the fit. Tuck the open end inside itself 1/2″ and pinch it shut. Stick a pin there. Wrap it around your waist, preferably over a top for more realistic fit. It should overlap only 1/2″ over itself but if it’s more, adjust to your liking by tucking more of it inside itself. Mark the other waistband end where it’s overlapping so you can tell where the skirt pieces should start (you don’t want the skirt extending all the way to the end or it’ll overlap too). I mark things with pins, apparently. In retrospect I should’ve used chalk so you could tell which end was the overlapping end (blue pin) and which was simply being held closed (black pin).

Simple skirt tutorial

7. Pin the skirt to the donkey waistband – This is where it gets fun. Fold your waistband as shown (above) and measure/mark the center (make sure the extended tab is extended!). Then find the 1/4 way points and mark those.

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

Now pin the skirt center (where the seam is) to the center of the waistband. Fold each skirt side edge over 1/2″ for the seam allowance and then pin one skirt edge flush with the edge of the waistband, and the other skirt edge to where the mark for the extended tab is. I pinned it so the skirt piece overlapped the waistband by 1/2″.

Simple skirt tutorial

8. Pleats! – Once you have the skirt pinned to the waistband in sections, it should be pretty easy to make your pleats just by eyeballing it. They don’t necessarily need to be centered in their quadrants either. I like to have the pleats farther apart on the front of the skirt and closer together in the back. You can also play around with which direction the pleats face. On one of my skirts, I did sets of three smaller pleats in the front and sets of two in the back. Play around with placement and direction until you find something you’re happy with. Make sure it’s symmetrical and pin it down across the entire waistband.

Simple skirt tutorial

9. Ignore my questionable topstitching – Once everything’s all set and pinned, topstitch the bottom edge of the waistband to the skirt at about 1/16″ from the edge or whatever you prefer.

Once that’s done across the whole edge, I like to swoop around and just topstitch the whole edge of the waistband, but that’s optional.

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

10. Attach the zipper – I’m weird. I like to attach zippers by hand. Attach yours however you prefer, just make sure it starts at the skirt part, not the waistband part. The waistband part will be held together by snap closures.

Simple skirt tutorial

Once the zipper is attached, go ahead and pin the rest of the skirt side under the zipper together and sew it down to the hem.

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

11. Hem – As I mentioned earlier, I usually cut skirts a little longer and then hem them to the length I want as the last step, so for this one I hemmed it 1.25″. It tends to prevent scary accidents that leave you wondering why your perfectly measured skirt is showing off your lady bits. Plus this way if you find yourself wanting to become more conservative later on, you can always lengthen your skirts. (I’ve never actually done this, I’m just speculating).

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

Now just iron everything! (Or curse profusely at your poly gab for refusing to obey the iron.)

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

12. Skirt changes color Attach snap closures – Funny story, I realized as I was nearly done with the skirt that I had either lost or completely run out of all of my snap closures. I wanted to be sure to show the placement so I just grabbed my previous version of this skirt and photographed that. Kind of looks like Halloween when you put them next to each other.

Andddd we’re done!

Orange skirt

Please do comment or email with any questions, especially if something doesn’t make sense. And definitely link me if you decide to make one, I’d love to see!

Happy sewing!