I hate Elsa

Yup.  You read that correctly.  I hate Elsa.  I hate her because she’s got a dress that is impossible to replicate without doing a full toile with numerous fittings and fussy floaty fabrics that would make the dress an investment, not something to make for your 15-year-old DD2 to wear to school and one party.

McCalls 7000 train

Ugh.  I was truly looking forward to this project.  I love the colours of the dress and the sparkly sequins and snowflakes.  The fabric alone had me excited to pull this one together.  But I well and truly hate this dress.  I hate this dress so much I’m probably going to pull it apart and remake the stupid thing because I’m so disappointed in it.  I don’t think DD2 will wear it again, but at least mom will be happier with it!


I find DD2 is very difficult to fit.  She’s petite, and getting the proportion correct/flattering is always a challenge.  So, needless to say, she always shows up my limits as a dressmaker in the fitting department.  And that frustrates me.  But frustration is good, right?  It means one is pushing through to the next level of mastery.  I measured twice, and cut once, and this is what it fit like at the end of the day. *headdesk*

McCalls 7000 bodice

In my defence,  I couldn’t find any fine stretch mesh or tulle for the upper bodice and sleeves, which would have been ideal.  I plan to go hunting for that and remake this thing ‘properly’.  So, for lack of any better option, I used the snowflake nylon organza-type fabric for the sleeves and upper bodice.  The sleeves I cut on the bias so they would easily follow DD2’s movements.  The bodice is not as fitted as I would like it to be.  I cut it straight out of the envelope, since the bust measurements matched DD2’s measurements, but the shaping is all wrong for her.  I debated altering it, but decided against it because a) I wanted enough ease to keep it comfortable during the day; and b) it was always in the back of my mind that it was going to be remade properly with a stretch upper bodice/sleeves once Halloween was done.  As it is, the organza pulled away from the top of the bodice and some of the neck binding by the end of the school day (which included bowling, btw).

McCalls 7000 back details

Why I didn’t think of cutting the upper bodice on the bias is beyond me.  Oh.  Wait.  I did think of cutting the upper bodice on the bias but was afraid it wouldn’t lie flat and would grow out of shape.  So I cut it on the straight grain.  See?  Bad, bad, ugly bodice.

McCalls 7000 Elsa

The sequins were from hell.  They won’t stay in place, so it looks like sequins are missing in places, and they had to be trimmed from the seam allowances, which I expected, but also contributed to my decision to not alter it until I get the stretch mesh/tulle.  *sigh*  I decided to underline the sequin jersey with polyester lining for this version.  The bodice is also lined.  I bound the neckline and cuffs with skirt fabric (satin-backed polyester crepe), and the armscye seams with lining.

McCalls 7000

The best part is the attached cape.  The nylon is sheer, lightweight and very floaty.  It’s quite lovely when DD2 is walking.

McCalls 7000 attached train

There’s a CB zip (I put it in by hand to accommodate the sequins) to the top of the lower bodice.  The upper back bodice has a button and thread loop.  The attached cape is split to just below the bottom of the zip. See?  It’s the best part of this project.

it IS kinda pretty

This version is a wadder for me, but once I get my hands on some stretch tulle, and do a good job on this, I’ll publish an “Elsa Improved” post for your entertainment.


23 thoughts on “I hate Elsa

  1. I don’t know how I missed this again. I think your daughter looks beautiful and agree that a costume doesn’t need to be perfect, as long as it represents the character. Great job!

  2. I think you are an amazing mum to sew your gorgeous girls costumes for Halloween! I last did mermaid tails and called it a day several years ago lol.

    I agree with everyone on the “Let it Go” front (sorry couldn’t help it! Hah!). Your lovely girl is a beautiful Elsa and wore the costume all day. Success.

    I love the jumpsuit too. Clever mum that you are.

  3. I feel your pain. For me, half the satisfaction of sewing a costume for my daughter comes from knowing that I did better than the box stores. There are a great many costumes in this world that are good enough while simultaneously being not very good.

    I did Elsa last year, before all the great snowflake prints were out. We probably used the same ill fitting pattern…and I ultimately had to fix it because there were 6″ of ease over her bust measurements in what is supposed to be a fitted bodice. It all worked out, but I wish I had known the pattern was a dud before I spent all the time and effort of pattern matching chevron sequins across the princess seams.

    I bet your Elsa loved her costume in spite of your troubles, and I bet YOU would have loved it too, if you hadn’t kept surprising yourself by moving up the Sewing bee levels. Good luck no matter what you decide to do!

    1. Matching chevrons? Across a princess seamed bodice?!?! I so feel your pain, and you have my admiration! And thanks for the kind words. It was a surprise to get through to the finals in the PRSB.

  4. I agree that if you recognize the character and can’t see any serious issues from a reasonable distance its a winner. Your daughter made a great Elsa and probably had a fine time at school.
    For future reference, when I work with a commercial pattern I always measure the actual pattern at the major fitting points to see how that compares with what I expected. Sometimes it is further away than desired so it came be sorted before you hit the cloth.
    Pat yourself on the back – you made a good costume.

  5. Despite the fit issues she looks lovely. Feel your pain having constructed two Elsa costumes for my oldest daughter, who uses one for childrens’ parties as well as costume opportunities. The first was was more restrained and designed to function as a cocktail dress sans cape. As a result it wasn’t showy enough as a costume and of limited use elsewhere! Second used a store bought bodice 😦 covered with matching fabric and a much more appropriate skirt with train. Fits the bill as a costume but is hellishly uncomfortable due to the poorly fitting bodice. Meh!

  6. Your title made me laugh!
    Your daughter makes a lovely Elsa. What a great mom to make such a lovely sparkling dress.
    The good thing about a costume is it is just for fun and then it gets passed along to someone else to wear.

  7. Your daughter looks beautiful in her costume, seriously, I wouldn’t beat my head on any desk over it, it’s done a lovely job. But hey, if you wanted a stretch sheer, how about looking at bra fabrics…

  8. I’ve been there – costume requests from my daughter that end up being chiffon or sequins, urgh! Having said that, I agree with other comments that you should “let it go” (and move on to something more fun!). Maybe if you put it aside for a while the urge to fix it will go? It is just a costume, she got to wear it, and even though the fit isn’t perfect she looks beautiful and serene; very much a princess in it 🙂

  9. You can salvage this floaty garment by attaching a 1.5 inch wide band from side seam to side seam inside just above the waist and running some 1 inch wide elastic through it to snug it up.All will not be seen under the cape. It just needs to be snugged up somewhere to pull the front flatter. I agree with demented…if the viewer can recognize the character…it’s a winner!

  10. Not gonna lie… I am so glad my girls did’t really take to Frozen all that much (probably because they were like the only people on the planet who had to wait to see it until the DVD came out… bad mommy!). That dress is beautiful, but boy it looks like a nightmare to recreate! Check out the store bought costume versions and you’ll feel a whole lot better about your own. As long as your daughter loved it, that’s all that really matters. Plus–halloween means you get a pass on great fit! I do love how you did the cape; so smart to split it like that!

  11. I agree with Dementedfairy; costumes are not couture. If I work on similar things the same rules apply: looks enough like the character, fits well enough, did’t cost a fortune, and if you can’t see a flaw from 5 feet away then forget it. She looks like Elsa and is happy.

  12. Nowhere near as bad as you think! Costume quality is NOT couture. You have to be able to step back and say- ‘can they tell what character it is?’ ‘can they breathe/walk/sit down’? ‘did it NOT cost the earth?’. All is then good! As for sizing, because she is a little dot [my girls both were as well] you should stick to child size patterns, ignore ‘Miss’ sizes, and just add in length where needed. She’ll look better for it, and you won’t need to get so stressed. Repeat after me: ‘No perfectionism allowed for costumes!’

    1. Gosh, I needed this perspective while sewing it up! Hmmmm… maybe I shan’t hunt up some of that stretch mesh. We’ll see if I can convince my inner perfectionist. 🙂 Great idea about the sizing, too. Thanks!

  13. I’m sure she was the most beautiful Elsa! I hope your daughter is in love with a different character next year, but she can enjoy this costume for many more dress up days. I quickly steered my niece out of the “costume fabric” room because we were thankfully searching for corduroy. Such itchy, stiff stuff, but soooo sparkly!


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