Anna Costume, The Completed Bodice

Sorry this took so long to get up. I had meant to post this sooner, but I ran out of the trim. Couple that with the fact I had to pick up my new embroidery dongle, and the manager of the sewing store is only there certain days, and…. Long story short, I was forced to wait so this wasn’t finished until the other day. I am done now, and here’s my completed bodice!


I like it, and I think it looks pretty good. If I had to do it over I’m sure there would be changes but I’m not 100% sure what those would be. I suppose I would raise the center design slightly and maybe widen the shoulder straps. Possibly trim the trim, I’m not too sure. I feel the trim is the right width, but to widen the straps would make them too wide. I couldn’t bring them out any  further, so they’d have to come in, eating into the neckline. I suppose that would be okay, but to me the size of the neckline feels right. I guess this is where the difficulty of creating a real life dress based on a CG one comes into play. I know a lot of people have complained about Elsa’s dress because the color shifts throughout the film. Anna’s bodice is one of those things that’s a bit difficult to bring to life. The embroidery is also slightly wonky on the back. In reality it’s only slightly off, but the trim seems to exaggerate it, it’s also on the form a smidge lopsided. Everything else was pretty much a mirror image though so I can’t complain. The fact I managed to hoop everything separately (and not even really hoop everything but float it) and have it come out so symmetrical is pretty amazing considering it was my first time doing, well, all of it. I’ve never floated anything before, I’ve never tried to do matching designs, and I’ve actually only used the embroidery feature a dozen or so times since I bought the machine. I can’t see beating myself up over a few millimeters given all that.

The skirt is going to be another issue, but probably not a huge one. As you can see I’ve pinned my (junky wrong color) fabric to the dress form adding four large pleats. It’s obvious in certain scenes she has pleats (like the moment she’s about to jump out that window into the storm with Olaf), but in other scenes it looks like a basic a-line. I’ve pretty much decided on pleats because it’s going to enable me to keep the right volume, pattern on the bottom, and it is the “right” design at least some of the time. And I don’t know if I mentioned this previously, but the green skirt she wears at the very end of the film has more obvious pleats. Here are some of my reference images.

tumblr_n4id6prd7Z1rbez1bo3_1280 tumblr_n4id6prd7Z1rbez1bo4_400

The blue skirt appears to be designed in a very similar fashion. I’m no expert but I’m guessing we don’t see that detailing because it’s usually covered by her cape, and it’s a lot of time and money to spend adding such a tiny detail that’s very rarely, if ever, seen. I just think it’s fair to assume these two skirts would be designed similarly if Anna were a real person. In the time period she’s supposedly from (1840’s, but I’m guessing more 1890’s due to Anna’s hemlines and the bicycle) it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume most of the dresses and skirts available at that time were basically the same. So I feel pretty confident going with this design. It’s also really easy to pull together without a pattern. I just hope I have enough fabric, the fabric I’ll ultimately be using kind of shrunk a lot- like a lot, a lot. Really the fabric drama has been more stressful than necessary. I’ll eventually do a post on what’s going to become known as The Fabric Incident of 2014. But for now I need to focus on just getting the skirt done.

Last night I trimmed and hemmed the skirt fabric, and I added in the horsehair braid (yeah, I’m using horsehair braid). I’m planning to measure and cut the lining material and will probably also add the ric rac tonight. I don’t know if I’ll get more than that completed tonight. I’m hoping I do but I’m trying to manage expectations. I’ve been extremely tired lately and I haven’t a clue as to why. I’ll be so glad when this is all finished. Although then it’ll be time to start my husband’s Kristoff costume. Stay tuned….


4 thoughts on “Anna Costume, The Completed Bodice

  1. This looks fantastic. I can’t believe this is the first time you’ve created something like this with the hooping (floating). When you try to compare a RL dress to a CGI one (like you say) the colour must be so difficult – but also – my first thought was how do you create a shape that doesn’t really have have to conform to physics or physiology?! Looking back at Belle in beauty in the beast for example those shoulder straps defy gravity and that waist defies female physique! Lol. So it seems impossible to exactly represent the fantastic Disney fantasy in fabric identically. Re pleats I think thats a good choice, you’ll get so much more movement then, not to mention you have the legs carry them off 😉 I can’t wait to see the completely finished piece – did you say you are going to wear it on Halloween? Ahh that sounds like so much fun!

    Your site looks so pretty! I honestly could not manage to multi task the way you do – WP seems to take me forever to get little things done – you EMBROIDERED A DRESS and revamped your site in about a week (among many others things I’m sure). Shame on me! haha xxx

  2. Oh my goodness, thank you! Admittedly I have been sewing free hand since five and on a machine since six so I have over two decades of experience from which to build on. I’m not a novice by any means. I’ve also done a lot of hand embroidery and needlepoint over the years. Not to the extent of what my mother has done, but enough I understand the process. I’m actually planning to get some cool printed fabrics and do a little “old school” embroidery embellishment on them just to hang as artwork in my new sewing room. It’s just sort of one of the things I can do. I can scarcely stay upright on a bike, and I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I can figure out just about any kind of stitch!

    The whole CGI to RL transition is not an easy one. I think my initial challenge was accepting I could never create a screen accurate costume. Once I accepted it I was able to actually embrace it and work it to my advantage. These characters are an unrealistic shape, and that affects they way a pattern may lay. There’s also the fact that some of this stuff just isn’t physically possible to create. Elsa’s dress is made of ice, Ariel has a fin, and like you mentioned Belle’s dress has sleeves that defy gravity. There’s also the fact that she has what look like only a few thin layers of lace under her dress, there’s no visible cage or hoop, and it’s smooths out when she’s sitting. You just can’t get that level of volume without something underneath to support the top layers. And once you add that it can’t just disappear when sitting or dancing. So I just decided to take the few images I had and make an “inspired by” costume. It has the look and feel of Anna’s outfit, but conforms to real world limitations. The bodice will never be perfectly flat and centered on the body, the shirt will wrinkle and maybe bunch up, the skirt will blow in the wind. These things are okay. Even the Face Characters at the park don’t wear screen accurate costumes, that defiantly comforts the control freak in me. 🙂

    My legs are a little crazy. 😉 My fabric was 42″ long and I had just barely enough. I would have preferred a wider waistband but it just wasn’t possible, lol. The pleats did work out. I finished the skirt last night and I’ll probably post photos tonight. I am wearing it to the park. The only time adults can come in costume is during the Halloween party and we’ve decided to attend this year.

    Thank you! I have the Forever theme and it’s really easy to change. I literally just did a search for wallpapers on Google, saved one, and hit upload. I too have a bit of trouble with WP, it’s oddly difficult to navigate. I’d like to change my header but for the life of me I can’t figure out how. And don’t try to compare, cause I assure you you’re probably doing better than me right now. Sewing is easy for me, but I’m still up till like 6am on days I’m working. Meals have been quite tardy, and my house could also use a good scrubbing…

    • You make me miss my slow cooker I think it might be worth dusting it off again as tardy meals and copious dirty dishes are taking over here too! I’m very excited about this time of year autumn/winter there are so many things to celebrate we are taking LO to chatsworth house for Halloween/bonfire night here, he tells me he wants to dress up as the gruffalo, had chicken little got a costume sorted too? Can’t wait to see your dh’s once you get sorted; it’s so exciting watching projects like this realised. I have just rescued my mums old 70’s singer from her loft and am about to to give it some tlc after years of neglect – she used to make me fantastic dresses when I was small but runs her own business now so hardly has any time. I hope to carry the torch lol. X

      • I really need to buy one or bring the one I own back the next time I’m on Hawaii. I’m truly horrible, that one’s been sitting in my kitchen for years and has never been used. I wasn’t thinking when I bought it, it’s just too hot there for slow cooker foods. It’ll be so nice when we move and I have space to own one. The kitchen in this rental is very small, I had bigger kitchens in Boston!

        I know what you mean, I’m thrilled it’s fall. After so many years without seasons I’m freaking out! I’m looking forward to the end of the month and next when it’s a bit cooler out (most days are still quite warm). The leaves are already changing though and it’s exciting.

        Your Halloween plans sound fun, still not sure what we’re going to do. We are doing the Halloween party at Disney and we got CL a Olaf costume. It’s a 3T though so he looks like he’s melting, lol. I’m trying to get him a smaller size but I’d probably have better luck getting my hands on the original copy of the bible… With my husband going as Kristoff and my friend as Elsa it should be a lot of fun. I don’t know if we’ll do anything on the actual day, but maybe. 🙂

        I’m so excited about your machine! Those old Singers are solid, the new ones are a joke. It’s a complete and utter travesty IMO. I hope you can get it fixed up and running smoothly, there are still plenty of places that care for them. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. My mother used to make many of my outfits as well. I think there were even a few years where almost everything I owned she made. She’s extremely talented and her skills far outstrip my own. I’m the same as you, I really hope to teach my son and pass on the tradition. Even if he doesn’t plan to make his own clothes, he’ll have the ability to hem his own pants or mend a tear. It’s a basic life skill that most of this current generation will grow up not knowing I’m afraid.

        I’ll be sure to post some photos on here as I go with my husbands costume. I love watching them come together too. Even though I’m making them, I have to wait until it’s all finished to really appreciate them. I feel like the blogging gives me real opportunity to examine all the details. The pattern making and fabric cutting is so boring, it’d be easy to get bored and stop there. But once you start piecing things together, it all somehow changes. And that moment when you place it on the dress form… It’s just the best. When I finally finished the whole thing I just put it on the form and admired it. It’s crazy to be able to actually see something like this come to life. And it’s a bit addicting too, I really can’t wait to make something else. I need to make my RunDisney outfit so that’ll probably be next. I’m still unsure who I’ll be, but I’m sure that costume will be just as exciting. Especially since I’m going to have to make real modifications to whatever costume I pick. So it’ll be fun trying to keep true to the character while still being able to move!

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