Monday, April 7, 2014

DIY Elsa and Anna Barbie Clothes

Try not to be too jealous--I actually got my hands on an Elsa doll, at a reasonable price, and in time for my daughter's 4th birthday!  After a few weeks of calling the Disney store and checking Amazon, this just happened to be on the shelf at Target for $25:

Luckily we didn't have an Anna doll yet either.

Problem signature sparkly Elsa dress.  But this presented a fun challenge for me!  Because I KNEW that the outfit would be an issue, I would have to make a dress for this doll myself.  And while I was at it, I might as well make Anna's outfit more like the movie too, right?

And what do you know--as soon as she opened her present, she asked if Elsa had another dress.  And then, lo and behold, she pulled the handmade one out of the bag and oohed and aaahed!  So satisfying.

Craftiness is not Optional has a great tutorial for a fancy Barbie dress that I was able to modify into Elsa's look pretty easily.  I had a too-small Cinderella dress-up costume that I could cut up (so the color isn't exactly right, but close enough) so I didn't have to buy any fabrics!
This is the exact dress--couldn't find any pictures of it out of the box!  But I used the darker blue with sparkly swirls for the bodice, and the light blue for the skirt.  One sleeve was enough for the band at the top and sleeves, and I needed both of the sheer "poofs" from the hips of the dress to make Elsa's cape.  

The modifications that I made to the tutorial are pretty simple (and obvious):

1.  When attaching the band at the shoulders, I pulled it down in the center to create the sweetheart neckline.  Then I just folded the blue fabric and stitched it down on the wrong side so that it didn't show.

2.  I made two small rectangles for sleeves.  I sewed the top of the sleeves right on to the shoulder band, then sewed them closed and turned them right side out.

3.  I made the cape in two pieces.  It's serged then sewn directly to the dress--I attached it under the arms (on the blue fabric--it doesn't actually touch the sleeves) and across to the velcro closure.

Then I sewed it down on each side of the velcro, and underneath the closure I sewed the two sides of the cape together.  I didn't have to finish the edges since I cut it from the existing Cinderella costume.

Anna's cape was really fun and SUPER easy!  Sorry I didn't take any pictures--I was in a hurry to get this all done for the girl's birthday present.  All the photos below are of the finished product.  I made it from a piece of knit jersey I had in my stash.  

1.  I cut an oval shape out of a piece of printer paper for my pattern, then pinned it to my fabric and cut it out using pinking shears (to give it some detail--the knit won't fray even if you use regular scissors).

2.  I decided where I wanted my cape to fold over; about 2" from the top of the oval, and marked both sides with pins.

3.  Using a double needle and two colors of top thread, I sewed a scalloped design around first the top part of the cape, then flipped it over and sewed the rest of the way around.  This is not necessary but it mimics the design on Anna's cape in the movie in a really easy way.

4.  Cut a piece of thin elastic so that it will reach across the top of your cape (where you marked with pins) when stretched all the way out.  Mine was about 4" long.

5.  Sew the piece of elastic on the cape so that it will be hidden by the collar when you fold it over (so, if you're looking at the right side of the cape that will hang down on Anna's back, your elastic should be on the same side as your decorative stitching that goes around the bottom of the cape.)

6.  Flip the top part of the cape so that it hides the elastic.  Stitch the cape together in the front and add a button.  It's super easy for little ones to pull the cape off and on over the doll's head without Mommy's help!

This was my first foray into Barbie dresses, and I have to say it was pretty fun.  I loved dressing my dolls up in the dresses my grandmother made, and I hope Little Sister enjoys it too!

I also have a small vent about the Disney Princess dolls.  Little Sister likes the princess dolls better than regular Barbies, since she knows their stories from the movies (I like that too.)  And while I appreciate Disney trying to make the dolls individuals, it's a little maddening that their bodies are shaped so differently.  A huge part of the fun of these dolls is dressing them up, and when the dresses don't fit all of the dolls it's frustrating for both of us!  She likes to switch their dresses and have the dolls play dress-up, but our Merida dress is totally ripped from squeezing Tiana into it.  Why can't they all be the same size?!  At least everyone can trade shoes.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing! We have a 4th birthday coming up, and due to the total lack of Elsa dolls I've had to settle for a Cinderella with sparkly blue accessories. I'm making a dress for the birthday girl, so the scrap fabric will be an Elsa dress for the doll. I'll use your cape pattern and I think it will turn out great!

  2. I'm so glad it was helpful! You'd think they could just save us all some time and MAKE MORE DOLLS, but your daughter is lucky to have a crafty mama. We did a Frozen birthday party too--maybe there's something helpful in my post about it for you!


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