Some hasty princess dresses

Elsa & Anna running

One thing I have realised recently is that the more I sew, the more I want to sew: my ‘to-do’ list is getting really long! And there are things on it that have been there for AGES. Things like… Well, Elsa and Anna dresses, for two. Now, the girls have not yet seen the Disney film Frozen. (Yes, really! They are sensitive souls, and the whole parents dying/snow monsters/bad guys thing would really upset them. I was the same – still am, come to think of it.) Yet – they have still managed to fall in love with those princess sisters. And I have been promising to make them dresses all summer… And then suddenly it was August… And then the last week of the holidays…

And so to speed things up a little, I figured I’d try to make something quickly.

Very pragmatic. Very sensible. But – so not my style! I am completely in awe of bloggers who can whip up amazing creations while their children are napping. I am, unfortunately, a very slow sewer: think sloths, snails, and the speed most people get out of bed before 6am – you have the idea. I love the reassurance of instructions and perfectionist’s mantra of careful and steady. But (as I kept reminding myself) these dresses would be for playing in, and would get torn and trampled faster than Elsa can build snowmen.

Put like that, it just didn’t seem worth putting in the usual effort. So, throwing my metaphorical gloves to the wind, I grabbed my scissors and a couple of charity shop garments. It still took a few hours, but here are the results:

Elsa dress cape 1

The Elsa dress is based on this t-shirt dress tutorial, and involved attaching an appropriately sparkly maxi skirt to a cut-off t-shirt. The inspiration for the snowflakes came from this brilliant Elsa cape; I made mine using iron-on interfacing, and it was really fun playing with the designs – I wish I’d had time for more! Most of them were of the soft, slightly stretchy interfacing, but I made one from woven interfacing, and it is already peeling off – you can see it on some of the pictures. I’m not really sure why! And if I did it again, I’d also iron them to the underside of the cape, where the soft surfaces are less likely to pick up dust.

Snowflake collage

I hemmed the uber-fraying cape fabric with Fray-Stop glue, which has actually lasted okay so far and is pretty easy on the eye. I’d have tried using a flame to seal the edges, only I wasn’t convinced the whole cape wouldn’t burst into flame – which would’ve kinda slowed down the whole speedy-dress process 🙂 As the top is made of non-fraying knit fabric, I just cut the sleeves into princessy points, which the Bee is very impressed with. And thanks to the fullness of the original tiered skirt, the dress has a wonderful twirl that makes up for other shortcomings…

Elsa dress twirl side

Elsa dress twirl front

Elsa dress twirl back edited

… Such as the distinct lack of bling. My five year old cast her eye up and down the dress, and – after her initial excitement had worn off – informed me politely that the Tesco (supermarket) version has more bows and sparkles. An appropriate attitude when one is pretending to be a princess, no? Perhaps I’d better add a few sequins!

The Anna dress is pretty underwhelming. Fortunately, the Smidge’s main requirements were met in that 1) the dress is green, 2) Mummy says it is an Anna dress, therefore it must be an Anna dress, and 3) it is HERS.

Anna dress collage

I just shortened and roll-hemmed an adult dress, then took in the sides, folded down the v-neck top, and reattached the straps. Yup – that’s it. My husband took the girls out to the playground, and I wanted it done by the time they got back. But the Smidge is just as delighted as if it had been a genuine replica Anna dress! It’s great for tickling your sister in…

Elsa Anna tickles

… And talk about melting frozen hearts when you see the two of them playing nicely together (which isn’t always the case)!

Elsa & Anna hugs 2

So, the Great British Sewing Bee alteration challenge this was not, but it’s the first time in forever I’ve whipped something up, so I’m happy to let it go. (Sorry!)


4 thoughts on “Some hasty princess dresses

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