Apparently it's been weeks since my niece, Anna, has voluntarily worn anything but a princess dress. A polyester nightmare princess dress. I wanted to make her something still princess-y, but a bit more practical and wearable. I am a practical New Englander at heart, after all. So, naturally, I decided on the dress her namesake wears in Frozen. And while I was at it, I had to make one for her older, occasionally dramatic sister, too: Elsa.
I've seen lots of DIY princess dresses around, including the Shwin and Shwin Maggie Mae versions (Elsa, Anna), the Kitschy Coo Skater dress version. But I knew, having made it a few times before, that the Fishsticks Playhouse Dress was the perfect jumping off point for my everyday princess dresses (see a Fishsticks Playhouse Anna here). The versions I made for my friends' daughter and for my nieces have gone over very well... I love the ability to combine knit and woven fabrics and the exaggerated shape of the skirt and curved bodice seam is so cute.
(the girls inspecting my work!)
Here are my quick sketches for how I envisioned the dresses:
The base dresses are just jersey, much of which came from my stash. But the dress is in the details: metallic piping at the bodice/skirt seam, gossamer cape the make it really princess-y, (not technically accurate, but pretty) rhinestones on the Elsa bodice, applique on the Anna.
Speaking of gossamer capes: I didn't have any sparkly cape fabric on hand, so I went to Joann Fabrics when I was in the States. We took my nieces. I hadn't mentioned anything about the dresses to them or even talked about them in front of them, but the second we turned down the sparkly sheer fabrics aisle, my savvy niece, Zoe, pointed to a light blue, snowflake covered bolt and said "This will be nice for my Elsa dress." ???!!! Did she read my mind?!
Anyway, we walked away with her chosen fabric for her cape, as well as some fuchsia sparkly stuff for the Anna dress (which I know is not really true to her probably woolen winter cape, but you can't give one girl a sparkly cape and not do the same for the other, right?). My cape fabric shrank a lot when I pre-washed, so they came out shorter than I wanted. For the capes, I just cut a second back skirt, hemmed it on three sides and attached it at the yoke seam. Hemming that slippery, terrible fabric was tough, too!
On the bodices, I used some iron-on rhinestones for Elsa. Hopefully they make it through the wash. For Anna, we used Wonder-Under to stick some jersey scrap leaves and a tulip onto the bodice, then zig-zagged around the edges (thanks, Mom!).
There are supposed to be cuffs into which the sleeves are gathered, but they were so tiny and were giving me a headache to sew, I decided to leave them off. I left the ends of the sleeves and the skirts unhemmed.
The girls don't seem to mind! I think they like their dresses!
Thanks for the photos, Mom!