Upcycling clothes for DIY Elsa and Anna Costumes.

Elsa & Anna Costume Clothes made from Recycled Fabric

Project difficulty level: Hard (this one is not for the faint of heart) 

I usually try to stick to sharing projects that are easy to tackle, but this was just too cute not to share.  Also note, that because this was such a big project, I will be breaking this down into multiple posts.  

In this one we will cover: the overall idea, extensive before and after pictures, starting materials and accessories/notions used as well as the final budget.

The other posts will include:

  • Buying supplies, The Ultimate Guide to Thrift Fabric
  • Embroidering Elsa
  • Embroidering Anna
  • Constructing Elsa’s Skirts
  • Constructing Anna’s Skirt and Underskirt
  • Constructing and Fitting Elsa’s Top
  • Constructing and Fitting Anna’s Top and Jacket 

It all started with my three-year-old asked if she could be Elsa for Halloween. She and her younger sister had recently become obsessed with the song from the Frozen 2, “Some Things Never Change”.  And I was enthralled with the outfits from that scene.  You know the ones:

So, we started looking, but quickly became disenchanted with the purchasable frozen halloween costumes out there.   I might have been able to find a passable one for Elsa, but there was no way I was going to find Anna’s dress. Especially not in Evelynne’s size, as she was only 17 months old at the time. 

So the epic Halloween project was born!  

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING, I WILL EARN A COMMISSION IF YOU GO THROUGH THEM AND CHOSE TO MAKE A PURCHASE. PLEASE NOTE, THAT I ONLY INCLUDE LINKS TO PRODUCTS THAT I BELIEVE WILL BE HELPFUL TO YOU AND NOT BECAUSE OF THE COMMISSION I RECEIVE. REST ASSURED THAT THERE WILL BE NO ADDITIONAL COST INCURRED TO YOU IF YOU CHOSE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH ONE OF MY LINKS.

First things first, it was time to shop for fabric for the Frozen costumes. I LOVE THIS PART because its where my creative side meets up with my desire for a good bargain. As per usual, I went to my favorite fabric store, the Goodwill.  Yup, you heard me correctly.  I cannot stand paying top dollar on fabric, especially when I am sewing for people as small as my two little girls.  It is just too easy to find a really nice quality fabric in a gently used (very large) garment or curtain.  And you can’t beat that price point.  I also love that it forces me to try new types of fabric based on my exact color needs and what is available in them.  And, to top it off, it has the added bonus of me feeling supremely less wasteful in my crafting, because I am beginning with all recycled materials; I love that.  Click here for a full account of the whole thrift fabric shopping process.

Once I got my supplies home, I dutifully tossed each article into the washer. I disregarded countless tags that read, “dry clean only”. There was no way I was going to dry clean their finished costumes every time they got something on them, so I needed to know from the start what would happen in the washer. I have to say I was a bit surprised that all of them came out of the washer perfectly 😳🙌🏻

Once I had my materials it was time to fine tune my game plan for how I was going to construct these bad boys. For this, I had to keep a few things in mind. First, these are Frozen costumes for toddlers (ages 3 1/2 and 1 1/2) so they’re going to need to be able to move in them. Second, I want them to fit as close to movie quality as I can get. You should know that I am not a fan of an ill fitting children’s costume. Yes my daughters will wear the occasional night-gown-style princess dress, but I did not want these outfits to appear as “one size fits most” garments. Because of these two things, I decided not to make either child’s costume in the shape of a traditional dress. Instead, I opted for a tight fitting top/onesie and a structured skirt for each of them. This would allow each of them much more significant grow room so they can enjoy playing dress up in these longer.

Once I had things planned out, it was time to start embroidering. I hand drew all of the appliqués for each of the girls garments and turned them each into embroidery files. I then strategically hooped my starting materials and let the Brother luminaire do the rest. Click here for a full account of the DIY Elsa costume embroidery and the homemade Anna costume embroidery, each complete with the embroidery files for free download.

Next came the skirt assembly. I started with Elsa’s skirt. For the homemade Elsa costume I actually choose to do two separate skirts, an underskirt and an overskirt. This way I could ensure that both skirt waistbands had stretch room and once layered, you’d never notice there was give to them (i.e. no bunched up elastic look to either layer).

Anna’s skirt construction was complicated in a much different way. Anna’s dress has a full ball gown skirt, so I used as much fabric as I could and put many many deep pleats in along the waistline. I also added an underskirt with several layers of stiff crinoline to give it some shape.

Construction of the tops came next. Elsa’s was constructed like a robe, with two panels in the front that overlap, so we could achieve that iconic stylized side seam. The ends of her sleeves also have an elastic loop so that her pointed princess sleeve could extend to the base of her middle finger. I also left the shirt plenty long, so that if her torso continued to grow at her current rate, she wouldn’t outgrow it anytime soon.

Anna’s top was constructed in the shape of a onesie and her jacket was made to have a more structured look. To be completely honest with y’all, if I were starting this project over again, these two garments are the only things I would change. I wanted a structured jacket, but constructing a structured jacket for a 17 month old is seriously not for the faint of heart. Truth be told… it was a nightmare and I’m less than enthralled with the finished product. If I could do it all again, I would buy a white onsie and a tan cardigan. I would then embroider directly on the front of the onesie. With the tan cardigan, I would hem it first and then embroider right on it. Then I would attach the ivory cuffs to the tan cardigan, once I had everything else completed. In hindsight, I think the finished result would have looked much cleaner and I would have saved myself countless hours. But for the purposes of a toddler’s halloween costume, they still turned out pretty good all things considered.

Finally it was time to accessorize:

Elsa wore one of my costume jewelry necklaces and pink boots (from Old Navy).

Anna wore a *faux hair bunn piece and a *braided faux hair headband (both from Amazon) with synthetic wheat (from Hobby Lobby) and pink boots (from Old Navy). I was so in love with both of her hairpieces. They were really easy to use, even on a toddler! And, since I ordered them from amazon, I had my pick of tons of colors. They also had the free return option, so I could order a few and see what best match her hair and then return the one’s that didn’t work.

And since these costumes were for Halloween in the year of the COVID, they of course each needed a matching facemask:

Final Budget

ItemPrice
The Elsa Dress Fabric$13.37
The Anna Dress Fabric$17.17
Pink shoes for both costumes (they already owned these)
Anna's synthetic braid headband$14.99
Anna's synthetic bun piece$9.99
Anna's synthetic wheat$1.99
Stiff nylon tulle for Anna's underskirt ($0.97/yard)$2.91
Notions that I already had on hand (elastic, thread, ribbon, hook and bar fasteners, interfacing)
For a whopping total of:$60.42

once everything was completed it was time to let them play and take some fun photos of the finished Elsa and Anna costumes.

DIY Elsa and Anna costumes made with upcycled fabric

If you want to see more details about how these costumes came together, check out my other articles about them:

  • Buying supplies, The Ultimate Guide to Thrift Fabric
  • Embroidering Elsa
  • Embroidering Anna
  • Constructing Elsa’s Skirts
  • Constructing Anna’s Skirt and Underskirt
  • Constructing and Fitting Elsa’s Top
  • Constructing and Fitting Anna’s Top and Jacket 

Note that I am still in the process of writing some of these articles, so if you try a link and it’s not working, it is likely because that article is not live yet. Please join our email list so you’ll be the first to know when they go live!

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Well, friends, I hope you enjoyed seeing these costumes as much as I enjoyed sharing them.

until next time,

Allison

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST CONTAINED AFFILIATE LINKS (*), MEANING, I WILL EARN A COMMISSION IF YOU GO THROUGH THEM AND CHOSE TO MAKE A PURCHASE. PLEASE NOTE, THAT I ONLY INCLUDE LINKS TO PRODUCTS THAT I BELIEVE WILL BE HELPFUL TO YOU AND NOT BECAUSE OF THE COMMISSION I RECEIVE. REST ASSURED THAT THERE WILL BE NO ADDITIONAL COST INCURRED TO YOU IF YOU CHOSE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH ONE OF MY LINKS.

8 thoughts on “Elsa & Anna Costume Clothes made from Recycled Fabric”

  1. I love this so much! You did an amazing job. I so wish I could sew. I tend to buy from people on Etsy who do know how to sew.

    1. Thanks, it took me years to be brave enough to attempt a sewing project and when I did, I loved it! And I’ve definitely been there as a new mom…newborns take up a lot of your time, so you don’t get much time for projecting, but remember that it is a just that way for a season. And as for the knitting goes…it doesn’t in my house. One of these days I’ll try my hand at it but I’ve been too chicken as of yet.

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