Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Elsa Project, Part 1

Recently I viewed Disney's Frozen for the first time. To say that I was thoroughly captivated would be an understatement. The wheels started turning in my mind, scattering stardust, ice crystals and fairy magic. I want to make the costumes. Which dolls can I turn into Anna and Elsa? She looks a little too worried to be the happily optimistic Anna, but FairyLand's FM60 Mirwen will play the part. Elsa is not here yet. I have FM60 Lacrima on order from FairyLand. She's coming without face-up or costume--a blank slate upon which I can create my ice queen. As I don't expect her before mid-January at the earliest, I have plenty of time to gather materials and sew.
One of the first things I bought was a pattern. Although it's for a different size and style of doll, I wanted to have it on hand to study how the pieces go together. For those of you unfamiliar with the movie, Elsa is the blonde in the above photo and Anna is the redhead. Mirwen is already here so it would make sense to start with Anna's outfit; however, seeing as I need to use Mirwen for Elsa's dress fittings I decided to begin with Elsa.
The Simplicity pattern appears to join all the dress pieces together except for the cape. I decided to go about it differently. For the long sleeves and the bit of fabric above the corset front and back, I am substituting the body shirt from the Adams-Harris Annabella pattern, omitting the fullness from the top of the sleeves. I ended up making two body shirts. The first time I misjudged the length of the sleeve once you remove the top section. Also my chosen fabric didn't give me the effect I wanted. Although the shimmery dance fabric with four-way stretch worked up beautifully, the completed shirt looks more like body armor than ice crystals. She needs to look icy, not silver-plated.
It's a good thing I went through my fabric stash before heading back to Jo-Ann's, because I found the perfect substitute in a very thin, light blue, two-way stretch knit. I remembered to shorten the sleeves; I also widened the front section slightly because the silver version is a tight fit. The new version sleeves are just right. The body of the suit is actually loose because the blue knit has much more give to it. Or maybe it's because I haven't attached the snaps yet. Either way doesn't matter--the corset will hide it.
I bought the rest of the fabrics for the outfit from Jo-Ann's. Below from left to right you have the transparent skirt overlay, the main skirt fabric, the corset fabric, the completed body shirt, and the cape. The corset will be lined with the main skirt fabric, as well as interfacing if that's not stiff enough. I would have preferred a different fabric altogether for the corset. I've worked with this stuff before and the needle gets bogged down (and downright sticky) from the glue holding the dots to the fabric. The only alternatives I saw were a blue version of the silver dance fabric or a solid color, maybe in the same weight as the skirt, with an overlay. In the end I loved the color of the sticky dot fabric enough to sacrifice a ball point needle.
The woman at Jo-Ann's who cut my fabric kindly folded it with the sparkly stuff on the inside of the folds. In order to photograph it, however, I had to unfold the overlay and cape fabrics. My dining room floor now sparkles with all the little bits that fell off. (Not to mention all the glitter I had to sweep off my dining room table after taking the photograph.) I imagine I'll be eating and inhaling a fair amount of the stuff before I finish assembling all the pieces of this dress.

Next I'll tackle the corset while I still have the ball point needle in the sewing machine.


    This should help you.. it keeps the goop off the needle.. you can buy it at JoAnns..

    1. Sounds good--I can't wait to try it.