Elsa The Snow Queen – Photos

I’m absolutely blown away at the amount of feedback I’ve gotten on this costume – though I make costumes because I enjoy it, It always thrills me to know that other people like my work.

Today I had planned to post the first installment in a new project, but since there seems to be so much interest surrounding Elsa, I will post these instead!

I had been rushing the final bits of this costume with hopes of photographing it in the snow….which didn’t really work out. All the snow ended up melting, but a week later Long Island got yet another snowstorm, which provided excellent Frozen photoshoot conditions!

Though the snow was beautiful, and reminded me very much of scenes from “Frozen” it didn’t end up being the best for taking photos in. Since it was a storm, it was very overcast, and without sunlight there was nothing to reflect light onto the hundred thousand rhinestones. The details I worked so hard on are almost invisible.

I did take photos the next day, this time with sunlight, that show the details off a little better. Those are still unedited, but should be posted in a week or two. I posted a little preview on DA here.

Although these don’t show my hard work, I think these are really gorgeous photos, and I wanted to share them.

For detail shots of this costume I would suggest checking out my forth the making of post here.

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The Making of Elsa – Frozen – Part Five

I’m currently babying my dog who just had her teeth cleaned – she looks so pathetic I can’t bear to leave her, so instead of being productive I’m going to write the final post this series with her on my lap.

This post will cover making the mesh top, the wig, and talk a bit about my corset and makeup. If you are curious about any other part of the costume I would suggest you check out the other four posts I have on this costume, which can all be found here!

Weirdly enough, this was one of the first things I made for this costume, and it’s the last i’m blogging about. This was honestly one of the easiest costume pieces I have ever drafted, it took ten minutes and the alterations were super easy.

I started by putting the mock up of the corset onto my dress form.

(please ignore the episode of say yes to the dress in the background, ha!)

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Then I used yarn and a line of pins to mark the neckline and the arm holes.

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 I draped mesh overtop of that and cut it to the right size, I had to be careful not to stretch it as I went. Which was the most difficult part, since this material really wants to stretch.

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I did a real quick draft for the sleeves and made a mock up, which ended up being successful.

I turned my mock up into a paper pattern, but instead of using regular paper I used poster board. Then I drew out the design I wanted onto the poster board and covered it with wax paper.

Much like with the snowflakes on the cape, I could lay material on top of this and use the drawing as a guide.

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Then I put rhinestones on top of that…

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I did the same thing with the bodice

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I sewed all the pieces together and it was finished!

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At this point I wasn’t super happy with the corset (honestly i’m still not) so I decided to repaint it with iridescent paints. Then I slathered the thing in glitter glue…and you can’t tell at all. It still photographs very matte, which I find upsetting. If I were to wear this costume somewhere important, I would remake the corset entirely.

I embellished it with lot’s of little rhinestones and declared it done…at least for now.

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Moving on from that, and onto the wig! I ended up purchasing two “lace front” wigs on ebay with plans to sew them together. But when they arrived there were two problems – I was only sent one wig, and it did not have a lace front.

So I spent several frantic hours trying to find something usable, and eventually stumbled upon a nawomi wig on amazon in the right color, and it had a lace front. It’s the most I’ve ever spent on a wig before, but I think it was worth it!

Styling this scared me since i’m not very good with wigs – I can curl them and detangle them, but I suck at everything else. I ended up decided to jump in and hope for the best, other wise I knew I would stress about it for weeks and never actually style it.

I started by separating out the bangs from the braid.

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Then I sectioned off all the spiky bangs and cut them as I went. I teased the roots for volume, and used an eyebrow razor to thin out the points. I set them in place with got2be glued hairspray and used pins to hold them in place while the dried.

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I braided it and it was mostly done! Later on I used a small hot roller to tighten up the front curl, and trimmed the sideburns.

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Then I tried everything on together! I noticed some changes I had to make, but overall I was pretty pleased.

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The last thing to do was figure out makeup. I think makeup is important regardless of who you are cosplaying since it will make you look nicer in photographs, and overall more put together. But with Elsa it’s especially important, since she is very clearly wearing makeup, and it’s very specific in shape and color

I’m not someone who wears bright colors on a regular basis, so this was slightly tricky for me. I ended up making use of a freebie from clinique, some cheap fake lashes from ebay, and eye glitter from ulta.

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And that was it! Elsa is finished, and i’m looking forward to sharing the photos of the complete project. I thought I would feel disappointed or relieved or sad or something when I finished this, but i’m sort of indifferent. I enjoyed this project, but was completely ready for it to be over, and i’m looking forward to working on other things!

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Thank you for joining me throughout the making of this project! I hope you will stick around for the next one.

The Making of Elsa – Frozen – Part Four

This has been the a very difficult and unusual post to write. Usually I pick costumes that are challenging, but relatively quick once I figure out how to make them. This was the opposite – It was a easy, but very, very time consuming. It’s also not a very interesting process, so I’ve padded the post with a lot of photos.

If this if your first time visiting my blog I would suggest checking out my previous posts about this project, they can be read here, here, and here!

Immediately after seeing the movie I knew what I wanted to use as embellishments. From prior experience with rhinestones, I knew that they shine in a way that almost looks like freshly fallen snow, producing a much prettier and sparklier look then anything else.

They can be used closely together to create designs, farther apart to create a gradient, or applied individually. This meant that I could use them to create the sparkles on the cape, sleeves and bodice, and since they would all share the same embellishments, it would made the entire outfit look more cohesive.

I have decided that I won’t bore you all too much with explaining the types of rhinestones, glues and applicators that are available.If I did, this post would be around five thousand words long. But if that sort of thing does interest you, you are in luck! I have created a separate post on my tumblr that can be read HERE. It answers a lot of the questions I’ve gotten, and has information and tips on everything related to rhinestones.

Moving onto talking about the costume! I originally purchased seventy thousand rhinestones, which didn’t end up being enough, so I made another order several weeks later. In total I used a little over a hundred thousand rhinestones on the entire costume, ninety thousand were 3mm stones, and ten thousand were 2mm stones. Seventy percent of them were clear (silver/white) stones, and the rest were a light aqua color.

This picture shows around half the stones I ended up using.

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I also bought six tubes of E6000 glue from amazon, a set of syringes (glue applicators), cotton swabs (rhinestone applicators), and a bit of fabric glue. Once I had all my supplies I was ready to get started!

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In my last post I talked about drafting the patterns for the designs. Once I finished drafting the designs, I did something very important – I taped wax paper over top of them. The glue I used for the majority of this costume is E6000, and the chemicals in it make both sharpie and printer inks run, which can leave permanent stains on the fabric. Like this…

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If that doesn’t happen, you will still be screwed since there is no good way to get paper off of dried industrial strength glue. The wax paper creates a barrier between the paper and fabric which fixes both of these problems. When I ran out of wax paper, I used plastic wrap and found it worked well, but was tricky to perfectly smooth.

This is what my set up looked like when I was working on the large designs. The whole thing laid out flat as I could get it with the space I had available, with the edges weighted down by mugs and jars.

Thanks to a wonderful christmas gift, I had the ability to watch netflix while doing this.

(though I ended up running out of shows I was interested in, oops)

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As I said earlier, the process is very easy, it’s just slow. You have to spread the glue over a small space, usually a square that’s no more then two inches by two inches (any larger and the glue will dry before you can get to it) or a line that is less then ten inches long.

Then use a wet Q-tip to pick up rhinestones and deposit them where they need to go.

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I estimate that this back bit of snowflake ended up taking forty hours of work.

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And though this seems pretty minuscule, just the sections pictured below is around 10~ hours of work.20131224_161742

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Eventually, I had enough of this finished that I could take it off of the paper.

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It didn’t look like a whole lot at this point. But I was happy because this meant I could move on to adding the snowflakes. In my last post I talked about resizing them to fit properly, and that process continued on and on until I had enough snowflakes for every panel.

This is the front panel – this photo shows how easy it was to see the pattern through the fabric.

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And the (tentative) layout for the side panels.

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In total I embellished fifty snowflakes, and here they all are (well, half of them, since the cape is symmetrical)

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The process of embellishing snowflakes was very similar to the main design, but instead of spreading the glue with a brush I used syringes, which allow for very precise dots and lines.

Not long after I started I ran into the issue of fabric not staying in place properly. It tended to wrinkle or move while I was trying to apply stones, and it became very frustrating. So I taped two pieces of foam board together and covered it in wax paper. Since it was foam, I could pin through it, and pin my fabric in place so it stayed taught.

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Back panels (almost) done!

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The front panel almost finished.

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The side panels…

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And then I was (almost) finished with all the snowflakes!

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So I got back to focusing on the main design. We happened to get a snow day, which meant my view got way prettier and more inspiring then usual.

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It also distracted me. Some much so that I ended up dragging my dress form into the snow for some fancy WIP photos.

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Though it looks relatively close to being done, I had to put twenty more hours into it before it was actually finished. At this point I was so tired of the project that I stopped taking photos. (oops)

And though I don’t have photos of it completely finished just yet, here it is at 99.9% done. In total I spend around 170 hours on the cape, 168 of which were spend embellishing.

It was super time consuming, but in the end I’m happy I did it this way. It’s always been a dream of mine to make something really sparkly and wonderful, and i’m happy to say that it’s come true!

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Upcoming posts: Making 17th century bodies, Making a Grey dress, and the final post in The making of Elsa!

The Making of a Merida cosplay – Brave – Part 2

Alas this costume is complete! Unlike my other project (which I shall blog about later) this costume has been a joy to work on. Usually boring simple designs don’t keep me interested, I get tired of them very quickly and my work becomes sloppy and rushed. This happened when I was making Mizore and I was really worried it would happen again with Merida.

Luckily, that was not the case at all. I really enjoyed making this and I actually really like wearing it too! It’s comfy and easy to get on/off, plus it’s actually flattering – quite the rarity in my cosplay closet.

Anyway, On with the post! If you missed the previous post on this costume you should read it here.

There wasn’t a lot left to do on the dress. All it really needed were ruffles and a good hemming. The first of which proved to be a bit more time consuming then I would have liked.

I cut strips of chiffon, folded them in half, and top stitched the fold.

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I used the tension method of gathering, which works really well on lightweight fabrics. All you have to do is set your tension as high as it’ll go, and set the stitch length to the longest length. Then you sew and enjoy the perfect ruffles.

Some of these got sewn onto little strips of wool which got hand sewed into the sleeves.

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The others would later go onto the neckline – but first I had to cut the neckline! I did this by putting on the dress and drawing it out with dressmakers chalk. Then I measured out and cut the “V” I cut a rectangle of muslin which would fit beneath the V. Then that rectangle was covered in chiffon that had been gathered on each edge.

If that doesn’t make sense go back to post #1 – it’s the same method I used on the sleeve poofs!

That got pinned into place…

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And sewn! I later cut off the edges.

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Then ruffles were added to the neck. The bottoms of these were sealed with nailpolish to prevent fraying.

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Once completed it looked like this!

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When it came to the lacing I used some cream colored cording I had laying around, a VERY large needle and pliers. I measured out where each hole should be and worked the needle through each one. This was really annoyingly difficult and I would not recommend it – but I personally think it looks better then grommets so I guess it was worth it.

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There we go.

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Moving onto the cape! I thought this would be really easy, but I struggled with the pattern. Unlike most all cape patterns, I didn’t want mine to have a seam down the center of the hood. I wanted it to be three pieces.

I quickly learned these do not exist and are a pain in the ass to draft. Made more challenging because you have to account for a GIANT hairstyle that needs to fit in said cape.

But I did it! 

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The piece on the far left is my lining. The back seam has a french seam.

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Which looked like this when put into place

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The actually cape part is a half circleish sort of shape that was double hemmed on each side, the top was gathered by hand and sewn to the inside of the hood.

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This cape also doubles as a dog bed so that’s pretty cool.
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And in the end it looked like this! The hood is pretty floppy here because I don’t have a giant head of gingery locks like Merida.

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Speaking of gingery locks…

This pile of hair arrived for me!

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What you see there are four wigs.

This is the base wig – which I dyed to match the other wigs I used. And one of these, and two of these.

Those links will probably be dead in a few weeks so here are pictures. At the time I ordered these they were all on sale and I think in total I spent $65ish.

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So the three long (100cm) wigs were turned inside out and seam ripped apart!

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Each weft was sewn to another weft, making them twice as thick.

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Then I laid them all out on a towel and used alcohol dye to make the roots and certain strands darker. I brushed the dye on with a large paint brush, and after a few days I washed each weft.

My entire bathroom floor was covered in hair.

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The “base” wig has a lacefront which makes it look more natural. Sadly this wig did not come in orange, so it got dyed via the spray bottle method. Each strand was heat sealed before I rinsed it.

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And then I started sewing the long fibers onto the lace front wig. SO MANY PINPRICKS. Dear got it was miserable, but you know what was worse? Curling it. My fingers still hurt. They still burn. 

I honestly wish I had more photos of this process, but it’s tricky to photograph. The curling process especially since it requires both hands and  has to be timed to the second (otherwise the wig melts, yeah, fun.). Also my hands were orange from the dye so it was a big mess trying to wash them! Plus in my bathroom lighting the wig photographed as a big orange blob.

Here we are maybe 1/2 done. With a lovely shot of my bathroom floor (wefts that still had to be sewn in.

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And here we are two nights later! After another five hours of work (and a ‘Say yes to the dress’ marathon) it was almost complete!

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And then the next night the bangs got styled and I could proudly say it was DONE! This beast took longer to make then the costume it’s self did. If I had to guess I would say it took 12-15 hours. Crazy.

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Today I did the very first makeup test, which I actually filmed since people on tumblr were curious. The makeup is pretty boring and straightforward – I kept it natural since a lot of makeup goes against both Merida’s appearance and “spirit”.

Anyway – that can be watched below!

And here is the finished product. I’m quite pleased with everything, next time i’ll use more blush but that’s about it!

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With the cape:

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And of course, a photo of the finished dress. Hopefully I can get pictures of these together later on this week – I would love to have a shoot in the woods before I take this to animenorth and the wig get’s all messed up.

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I do believe that is everything!

As always, thanks for reading!