Unleash Your Inner Princess

October 7, 2016By Brother SewsArticles, Costume / Cosplay, Sewing No Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

It’s the time of year to just “LET IT GO!” and unleash your inner princess. We reached out to the duo known to many as Cupcake Cosplay and asked them for their favorite tips to help achieve that perfect Princess costume. Here are their six simple tips to help you achieve that perfect princess costume.

1. Patterning:

Once you have figured out which princess you want to bring to life, it is extremely important to do some pattern research. Simplicity® currently has many incredible patterns that already mirror the perfect shapes and structures you will need, including costume patterns that are custom designed for princesses. Just visit Simplicity.com to check out which patterns that are available currently for purchase.

To create your own version of the Anna and Elsa dresses, we used Simplicity® pattern #1215 (with slight modifications/alterations, customizing the fit to ourselves). You must never be afraid to do your own alterations, especially since a pattern is only the beginning part of the creation process.

2. Fabric:

fabric-square
Your choice of fabric can make or break your costume. Knowing the basic differences in types of fabrics (as well as how those fabrics work with each other), will help to bring your costume to life. If you are unsure about different fabrics, we recommend getting small test strips of the fabric (also known as swatches). These swatches can be held against each other to determine whether or not a certain fabric will work with another. Also, visiting your local fabric store or fabric district can give your ideas on the types of fabric that are available, and how they might work with each other. For these costumes we used a combination of velvet, brocade, cottons, twill, and satin (for Anna), and chiffon, satin, spandex, and lamé (for Elsa). By using these combinations of fabrics, we were able to create definition and textures for each costume, while adding subtle appearances of coldness and warmth.

3. Construction:

construction
In general, making a costume requires the use of a mock-up, often referred to as a muslin, (which is the draft version of the costume). Made from fabrics like muslin or cotton, a mock-up is created to confirm the construction of the pattern and for applying any type of alterations for cutting and fitting. By using this fabric as a starting point, you can build your costume and make any desired modifications/alterations desired before working with the final fabric. In the long run, this would not only be considerably helpful but also cost-efficient. Muslin or a particular cotton can be purchased cheaply from your local fabric store through various sales incentive programs or “mark-down” racks. Once you have your mock-up looking the way you desire, deconstruct it and use the pieces as your new pattern.

Quick Tip: Writing directly on the pieces of your fabric mock up can help make it easier to identify once it has been taken apart.

4. Basic Corsetry:

Strong and ToughTo get the desired look, it is worthwhile to provide the top of your costume with shape and stability. Most of the princess costumes we create have some form of generic corsetry work to provide this shape and stability. To accomplish this, sew small fabric strips for tubing (we generally use bias tape) on the inside of your lining material. These tubes will serve as boning channels, which go inside and give the top of your dress with the stability and support it needs.

To sew through the lining layer, we recommend the use of the Strong and Tough ST371HD machine. The heavy duty features on this machine include: a metal needle plate for smoother feeding, heavyweight needles, a metal thread hook, a spring action zigzag foot for thick seams and a nonstick foot, making this the ideal machine for a variety of different fabrics (such as suede and leather). This machine also comes with an instructional DVD to help you get started.

If you are concerned at all about the fit of your top, add grommets it the back of the dress for lacing up in lieu of a zipper. This can give you several inches and size options for your dress.

corset

5. Finishing:

Unless your costume is fully lined, it is important to finish the seam allowances so that the raw edges don’t fray. Some of the easiest ways to finish a seam without lining are via French seams, pinked edges, overlocked edges, and zigzagged edges. A French seam will completely enclose
the edge of the material while pinking, overlocking, or zigzagging the edges will allow for easy access to the seam in case of alterations or changes needing to be made. Along with finishing the seams, the hem of the dress also needs to be finished in order to give a clean appearance. This can be done with overlocking, rolling a hem, or using a hem tape or ribbon to fold the edge under.

6. Embellishment:

Now that your dream princess gown has been completed, how can you make it stand out? Even if you are only adding a few embellishments here or there, it’s still nice to personalize your dress. Adding bead work and embroidery can help add richness and texture to a simple piece. Small, iridescent sequins and gems can be sewn in to add light and give a decorative twinkle. Used appropriately, these little bits of embellishment can add shimmer and beauty to your dress.

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