This blog post was originally published on my old website and has been reposted here unchanged.
Well it’s that time of year again when school is done for the summer, ITAA projects are finished and turned in, and I’m itching for a new project. I have really important graduate school tests to take over the summer, so my goal with my new project is to provide me something I can work on in my downtime at night after writing all day. My project would double as my Halloween costume, so it has to be fun. I decided on Anna’s Coronation gown from Frozen since I love the movie, my sister in law is convinced I am Anna, and my 2 year old niece will love it. The embroidery will keep me occupied for most of the summer so it’s perfect.
Since Frozen is so popular I thought I’d document my process in an almost tutorial like fashion in case other cosplayers are interested in how my costume is made.
I’m going to start from the inside out (sorta) I’m starting with her petticoat, then skirt, bodice, wig, and then finally her bloomers.
Today I am starting with the petticoat.
Anna’s dress has a very distinct motion in the movie, and behaves differently than most ballgowns would. Her petticoat is frequently seen when she kicks up her legs, jumps, and dances.
It appears to be a cream color, with a scalloped hem and decorative stitching. The petticoat helps to poof out her dress somewhat, but is easily collapsible, suggesting that there is no built in hoop, no visible layers of tulle, just a single layer with enough body to stand out.
Since the scene takes place in summer, it is likely the petticoat is made of a cotton-like fabric. Cotton would be period accurate, and also very breathable.
My goal with making this petticoat is to try and mimic the movement of the dress while maintaining the body the dress has while she’s standing still. In the screenshots there is no visible vertical seam lines. If the skirt was made with a single length of fabric I would be limited to 120” of fabric. I don’t think this will be wide enough so I’m going to add vertical seam lines. There is also no clear line where the facings of the scallops would be, implying the dress is lined up to the upper edge. I think a double layer of cotton would be too heavy, so I am opting for a faced scallop hem instead which will correspond with the horizontal line of decorative stitching shown in the above photos.
Lastly since the transition from her bodice to her skirt is fairly smooth, the fullness of the petticoat cannot interfere with the smoothness of this line. For this reason I will be making a yoke to stitch the petticoat onto which will then be tied at the waistline. If I wear a shaping corset underneath the bodice and over the petticoat, this will create the smooth line I am going for.
This is roughly the look I am going for. This is a crude rough sketch just to get an idea of the shape and pattern pieces. There will be a small slit at center back that will open for the drawstring. I haven’t decided how I am going to do the scallop embroidery yet but I will get to that in another post. For now I will just post about my progress so far.
I decided to flat line the cotton fabric with a thick nylon crinoline material to help give the fabric some body. I picked a crinoline in a color that is very similar to the outer fabric in the hopes that it will blend in well. The crinoline came in 54” wide bolts so I decided to make flat lining easier with little fabric waste I purchased 108” wide cotton muslin and cut it right down the middle.
I cut each of the large skirt sections in 36” long pieces. The rest of the length will be made up of the yoke section. If you are going to be doing this method always remember to check that the grain of your fabric is laying straight. I snipped and tore my fabric so I would end up with exact lengths, but check out how much my fabric was off grain straight off the bolt! With some stretching I got it pretty close to straight. Straightening the grain line of your fabric is important no matter what project you are working on!
Once I had the pieces laying straight I overlaid the crinoline on the top and pinned it all the way around the outside as flat as possible. At this point I serged them together along each side. If you don’t have a serger you can just straight stitch them together and do your seam finish when you go at attach the sides.
Once I had one panel serged together I threw some temporary gathering stitches to see how tight I could gather the material up. This allowed me to see how many panels I could theoretically stitch onto a yoke roughly 1.5x my waist. I ended up deciding to use five panels.
Once I had all five panels serged around the edges I stitched them together end to end until I had one long panel. Then I measured the length of my bottom edge to help figure out how long of a facing piece I’d have to cut. This also let me measure how big I wanted my scallops to be. I then created a pattern for the scallops that I will be transferring to the facing piece.
Next post will be about stitching the scallops and testing the embroidery!