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!