Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf are back in a new Disney short “Frozen Fever!” It’s Anna’s birthday, and Elsa is going overboard with party prep, planning a magnificent celebration for her sister. Now if only she wasn’t coming down with a terrible cold. Tooth-rotting fluff, loopy Elsa, and singing shenanigans fill the 7 minute short.
As self-identified real-life Anna and Kristoff, we jumped at the chance to revamp our cosplay. A slightly cooler ensemble for Mr. Mountain Man Kristoff, which is much appreciated due to sweltering California weather, and a bright and cheerful be-flowered swirling skirt for Anna. We quickly began amassing reference pictures and plotting out construction details, referencing blurry screen grabs and spending way too much money at the fabric store.
Since then, Cinderella has hit theaters and we’ve had the chance to see the Frozen Fever short on the big screen. We’ve also been singing the new song…over and over and over again. It’s an adorable short filled with fun and cute tributes to Frozen, touching family moments, and a lot of dorkiness–on everyone’s part. Well, almost everyone. Hans doesn’t have it quite as good. But a slightly loopy Ice Queen leads us through a day meant to honor her sister Anna on her birthday, growing progressively sillier the more she tests the limits of her illness. Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf are busy handling party prep, Snowgies are plentiful, chaos is on hand, and the Frozen family feels are piled on strong.
The short was a perfect way to remind us of our love for Frozen, and what inspired us to really start handcrafting cosplay in the first place. We’ve been hard at work building bodices, pleating skirts, mandarin0ing collars, and all around being in love with Frozen–especially with Kristoff and Anna.
Before physically starting any cosplay, I try to create a character profile, one that highlights cosplayable features and lays out the specifics of their outfits. I’ve been cosplaying as Anna for the past year, but this whole new look requires a new outfit breakdown!
Anna’s new outfit shares many basic components with her previous accouterments: decorative undershirt, bodice, skirt, stockings, cute hairstyle. In the spirit of summer, this colorful ensemble is finished with a bright green decorative vest and some black slip-ons.
Basic pieces required:
- Strapless Black Bodice
- Short-sleeved Pale Yellow Blouse
- Mid-Calf Length Teal Skirt
- Cream Stockings
- Black slip-on shoes
Most of the outfit screams “MAKE ME!”, but there are a few pieces that can be purchased pre-constructed.
I’m awful at fitting blouses, so I’m opting for a Goodwill find in pale yellow. It’s a cheap and time-saving alternative to making a blouse from complete scratch. A few modifications–creating a mandarin collar, lopping off the sleeves, and adding the gold trim to both–and you’d never be able to tell it was once a long sleeved button-up shirt.
Cream colored stockings are another easily store-bought item, and the neutral color gives you many options. Full tights, over the knee stockings–whatever fits your comfort best. I popped into Charlotte Russe and found a pair of knitted cream over the knee socks that looked absolutely perfect.
A tea length petticoat should be about right for this skirt, or custom options are available once the skirt is constructed. Making a petticoat is no joke, and the cost difference between buying and making can be slight when looking at the labor involved. This time, I decided to try my hand at making a petticoat. We’ll see if I’m desperately combing Goodwill or David’s Bridal the week before I need it…
And of course, the shoes. Black flats are widely available with all sorts of basic and adorable twists, so the limits are pretty endless here as well. The prices tend to be reasonable, as well, which means they should be an under $20 expense.
Well, that gets the easy stuff out of the way!
Anna’s supremely twirly skirt is a gorgeous shade of teal, voluminous at the bottom and pleated at the waist. The pleats make it annoying for those that love the ease of circle skirts, or a dream for those of us who love pleats (me!). My personal preference? Three yards of fabric cut to the correct skirt length (It falls just about mid-calf) and dramatically pleated to fit your waist size. There are 8 pleats in total (4 sets, 2 sets in front, 2 in back), and the fabric goes much faster than you might expect. Pleating does mean you’ll have to insert a zipper for a proper fit. Also, gods be with you on the hemming adventure that awaits once said skirt is fitted. Try to find a fabric that takes an iron well!
Once the skirt is constructed, there’s a myriad of ways to add the decorative flower hemline. It looks like it’s embroidered on, mush like her other skirts, but the time and/or money required for embroidery often make this an unrealistic choice. Using a stencil to paint on pretty designs with fabric paint is an easier and vibrant option. Or, get creative! I’ll be debuting my choice for decorating at Wondercon 2015, and I’m SUPER EXCITED about it! Just be prepared for this to be time-consuming…there are 12 repetitions of that sunflower design patterned on her skirt.
Anna’s bodice is reminiscent of the other two bodices she wears in Frozen. Strapless, like the coronation dress, this bodice is trimmed in gold and has a bright butterfly design embroidered (or ice magicked, I guess) on the front. Corsets are a pain, but the fitted look adds an amazing finish to the outfit. If you’re new to corset making, be sure to do your research–seriously, it’s nerve-wracking and terrible and takes immense precision and patience. Using a pattern, and using it properly, really saved my ass (I am often both imprecise and immensely impatient). Patterns are incredible. It’s a worthy investment.
The pattern on the right is the one I used. It’s the same basic construction as Anna’s, though I did add a point in the center and cut a straight line along the bust instead of giving it the sweetheart neckline. Everything else was cut and done pretty much as the pattern specified. Use bias tape (or make your own!) to line the top and bottom of the corset, add the grommets, and get ready to lace up!
It’s also clear that the birthday hat needs to actually exist in my life. I’m not worrying about construction of that baby yet, though. Let’s get the basic outfit laid out first!
Her look is completed with a festive be-flowered green vest. In many shots, it appears either fully sequined or very sparkly/shiny. A satin-y spring green does a pretty good job of giving off this effect, but sparkles never go remiss. The vest is constructed out of three pieces, two matching front bits and a back piece. Measurements around your arms and the distance across your back will go a long way in getting the correct sizing here. The vest is trimmed in a teal blue very similar to the shade of her skirt. Again, bias tape makes for excellent trim, though ribbon would be equally effective here.
Decorating the Vest
The designs on the vest are complex and bright. Ribbon, felt cut-outs, fabric paint, rhinestones, or any combination can recreate the fun swirls and bold colors. Another large sunflower is the centerpiece in the back of the vest, and a yellow gold ribbon dances across both front and back. Yellow tulips are also prominent on the vest, and the stems appear to be modeled as a butterfly.
Whatever method you decide to use when adding all of these intricate details, be it to skirt, vest, shirt, or corset, make sure you enjoy it! Cosplay creation can be tiring, time-consuming, and frustrating, but overall it’s the love of what we do that makes doing it absolutely worth it. The process is a constant learning experience, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop being amazed at what I pick up as I keep testing my limits and pushing what I know I’m capable of.
The Final Outfit
Ultimately, I decided that the spirit of the outfit, and the short in general, called for a 3D silk flower/plants/accessory overhaul, so my embellishments were of the silk flower variety as opposed to thread or paint. I liked the idea that Elsa’s Ice Magic would add more than a little glimmer to her dress, so I ran with it. Gold ribbon was carefully sewed down as trim, rhinestones used in kind to create a sparkling effect with every sweep of the skirt, and flower petals assembled to make tulips. The JoAnn springtime floral section was my best friend for a few weeks, and in the end I was left with a completely impractical and extremely fun skirt.
Questions? Advice? Comments?
Add your voice in the comments and let me know how your cosplay adventures are going! Any questions about how I did a specific part? I’ll try my best to help out. Hopefully I can make the process a little easier on someone else just getting started on this process. Resources are invaluable, and I’m happy to share my collection. Happy cosplaying!