Thursday, August 28, 2014

Disney's "Brave" Inspired Costume Dress

Good Afternoon!
Today is a lovely, warm, sunny day....the kind of day that just makes you happy...and I have been perfectly happy all day :)  Let's see if it lasts...

For the past couple of days I have been working on caulking and puttying my fireplace.  I would be finished by now, but I ran out of I will be finishing that this afternoon.

Today I am going to share with you the dress I made for my one-year-old niece's birthday party a couple of weeks ago.  It was a "Brave" themed party and my sister was having a hard time finding a Brave costume for her daughter that was small enough to fit her newly one-year-old daughter.   I started thinking about it, and decided I could make one for her.  I can not believe how awesome it turned out!  I made this before I started back blogging, so I regret that I don't have a lot of "detail" pictures of it.  I did take a few though....because I just couldn't resist texting them to my sis while I was mid-project.
Disney's "Brave" Inspired Costume Dress

The materials I used were this:


  • 3 yards of dark teal netting
  • 1.5 yards of kelly green netting
  • 1.5 yards of light blue tulle 
  • 1.5 yards of lime green sparkly tulle
  • green crocheted headband stuff on a spool (yeah...I'm not sure what it's called...see picture below if you're confused) 
  • 1/8th yard of dark teal satin (ish) material
  • 1/8th yard of gold satin (ish) material
  • 1/8th yard of blue and green tartan plaid material
  • a whole bunch of gold rope trim.  I bought three different kinds.  
  • gold ribbon
  •  two sheets of brown felt
  • a small section of leather cording
  • hot glue
  • more gold rope trim
  • head of a fake daisy
bow and arrows: 
  • stem from a fake flower
  • gold elastic cording
  • small piece of leather cording
  • three strait sticks (or dowel rods could work)
  • brown "real looking" craft feathers
  • glitter gold felt
Total cost:  around $25 dollars and I bought it all at Hobby Lobby...I used my 40% off coupon! 

Here is the skirt after I got it all assembled:  

It's just your basic "tie tutu."  I measured my niece's chest and then stretched out the stretchy crochet mesh so that it would fit her well, and then I sewed the crochet mesh closed into a circle.  I used a zig zag stitch and sewed the heck out of it over and over so I could be sure it would hold up. 

I cut all of the netting and tulle into equal lengths and folded them in half.  I took the center fold of each tulle piece and put it through one of the crochet holes on the very bottom row of holes.  I inserted it from the front so that a  little loop of tulle was sticking through to the inside of the crocheted mesh.  I then pulled the loop down, stuck my fingers through the loop and grabbed the tails of tulle that were hanging and pulled them through the loop and tightened, so that it made a knot.  I wish I had a detail picture of this, but I don't. It's really easy though....just knot the tulle into the little holes....and repeat!  until you've used up all of your tulle. I did a little math with mine so that it had an even pattern of the different kinds of netting and tulle.  Here's a close up: 

Side note:  Using both netting and tulle will make for a stiffer tutu.  I loved the netting, but if you want it to be really soft and flowy, then I'd go all tulle...but you will need a lot more than what I used here.  

After I finished the tutu, I took two pieces of braided gold rope to make straps.  I hand stitched them into the inside of the front of the tutu only.  I left the back pieces free so that I could adjust them on my niece when she put it on.  Those were just safety pinned in when she put it on.  

This much by itself is a perfectly good tutu dress, but I wanted it to be special, so I made an adjustable bodice to fit, unattached, over the tutu dress.  Here's what I did:  

This is the finished front of the bodice:  

and the finished back:  

I measured by niece's chest circumference and made the length around approximately that length.  I cut two matching pieces of the shiny blue fabric in a basic long rectangle, but added a little dip down to a point in the front, to make it look more medieval ....the length of this rectangle needs to be as long as the chest measurements.   No pattern, I just eyeballed it.  I made sure to keep in mind that I was going to do a 1/2 inch seam allowance around the whole thing.  It looked kind of like this:

After that, I figured out how wide I wanted the plaid fabric to be and I cut out the piece of plaid fabric to the same height of the blue fabric.  I then cut only one of the pieces of blue fabric (the one that will act as the front of the bodice....the other will be the lining of the bodice) in half and then cut off the part where the plaid fabric will go, except I left a 1/2 inch seam allowance on both the plaid piece and the space where I cut to make room for the plaid piece.  Does this make sense?  I am basically replacing part of the blue fabric with the plaid fabric....but you still want your entire front piece to perfectly match your still intact back piece.  Jeez, I wish I had a real photograph of this. In my lovely diagram, pretend the green part is plaid.  

Before sewing this together, I cut several tiny pieces of gold rope and pinned them in a zig zag pattern across the plaid part in the middle.  I would recommend gluing these in place before you sew it, because the seam itself wont' keep them in place.  They slipped out a bunch.  

Now you want to put your right sides together and sew the plaid piece to the left blue side and then do the same thing to the right blue side, so that you have the same shape you started with of blue, plaid, and then blue.  Take this piece and then match it up to it to it's matching liner piece and set aside. 

  I then cut four long rectangles out of the gold shiny fabric to make two sleeves. Two pieces for each sleeve.   I put two pieces together, right sides together and sewed them along each long side, but left the ends open.  I then turned it right side out using a safety pin to pull it through....and then I repeated for the second strap.  These were about two inches wide and looked like a long strap before I added them to the dress. 

 I then dry fitted them into the bodice (everything right side out, and you have to fold the bodice around so that it makes a it's folded in the picture above) to see where I wanted them to go.  I ended up putting them in at an angle so the strap would go off of her shoulder.  Make sure they are long enough for an arm to fit.  Pin the straps in where you want them at the front of the bodice and at the back. Only pin on the front piece of fabric, so that you can turn the pieces inside out (right sides together) while you sew.  Once you have your straps pinned in place, take the bodice pieces apart and put them together with the shiny sides together....the tops of the strap pieces will be weird and squish up inside.  I recommend pinning them down, so they won't sneak up and get caught in your seam.  The ends of the straps will be sticking out of the seam.  Pin all around, and then sew all of the way around on both the top and the bottom of the bodice, but leave the ends open. Be careful to remove pins as you sew...or some of them will wind up sewn inside of the bodice. Turn it inside out and it should look a lot like the above picture, just minus the rope. 

 On the open ends, I folded them in on themselves and then took two pieces of gold rope trim and made loops.  I stuck the loops into the opening and then sewed it down.  I repeated on the other side.  I then got some of the skinny gold rope trim and threaded it through the loops like you would a shoelace and tied a bow.  This way the top is somewhat adjustable. After that, I glued some braided rope trim on top of my stitches where the loops are, and then I glued the twisted rope trim all of the way around the bottom of the bodice.  I used hot glue...but a better alternative is fabric glue.  I just told my sister to only wash it in cold and not put it in the dryer.  Fabric glue would be better...but you use what you have...

Here it is put together (not the skirt is not attached to the bodice, this is a two piece outfit).  I also added a little bit of gold ribbon that I had to make a bow on the front of the dress.  

After this I added some embellishments to the skirt.  On the back, I tied in some of the braided gold rope into the loops on the crocheted mesh and then did the same with the ribbon.  I got lucky and it curled by itself.  :)  

I also made her a bow, arrows and a quiver for them to go into.  Here is the bow:

I made this by cutting the flower head off of a fake flower and using the bendy stem to bend into a bow.  I then notched the ends with a knife and tied some of the skinny gold elastic cording to both ends, and then I hot glued a little bit of leather around the handle.  It was the perfect size for a one year old and pretty child proof too.  

I ended up adding more embellishment to the front of the dress too.  

I googled how to make a celtic knot and used my left over twisty gold rope to make one.  I then looped some more gold rope through the top of the celtic knot so that I could hang it down the front of the dress.  I just safety pinned it on the inside of the green crocheted mesh.  I covered the ends of the rope with a little bit of blue fabric and hot glue.  

For the quiver, I used all hot glue and brown felt.  I cut a circle, cut little slits around the edge of the circle and folded them up.  Next, I glued a rectangle sheet of felt around the folded up edges of the circle to make a cylinder.  I then made some little holes in the felt and threaded through some extra leather laces that I found around the house (not sure what that belonged  I took the flower that I had already cut off of the stem to make the bow and glued it to the front of the quiver.  I also made a shoulder strap out of the same brown felt and glued it on.  I finished it off with a little bit of extra braided gold trim that you can barely see going around behind the flower. 

For the arrows, I found sticks in the back yard, hot glued some craft store feathers to one end, and I cut two triangles out of gold glitter felt and sandwiched the stick in between them with hot glue.  I don't have any great pictures of the arrows.  My sis is supposed to be sending me one, but it's not downloading....I gave up trying to get it from her, lol.  You can see them in some of these pictures. I'll add a better picture of the arrows later if I can get a hold of one.  
Little princess in her dress! 

With her little baby best friend who also had a Brave tutu on. My sister, her husband and a friend are also pictured. 

I really love love love how it turned out!  Funny step-mom loved this so much, she asked me to make her an adult sized version for her to wear to work at a pediatric dentist's office on Halloween.  It's just cracking me up that she wants to wear this! I'll bet the kids at the dental office will love it though.  
I'll be back soon with more updates on the fireplace soon!  Have a great day! 

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  1. This is so pretty. Any little girl will look lovely in it.

  2. Oh my goodness it's gorgeous! I love how you interpreted it! Great job!

  3. I'm impressed. Don't know if I could make this. It's really nice.

  4. Oh my, how cute! I've been looking for Halloween costume ideas and this one is a real contender!

  5. This is so cute! I always try and make my kids costumes way better than store bought!

  6. This is so great! I always try and make my kids costumes so much better than store bought that fall apart!

  7. I love the way it turned out! I am always so impressed by people who can make outfits like this. I barely know how to sew on a button ;-)

  8. Gorgeous! I love the colors, too. I really wish I knew how to sew, I'd love to make something like this for my daughter someday! Thanks so much for sharing this at our Motivational Monday link party!

  9. How adorable! My daughter loves all the princess dresses and she'd be a BIG fan of this Merida dress! Thanks so much for sharing this at the Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop! I pinned this to our link ups board!

  10. I bet you made some little girls very happy with that!

  11. This is absolutely adorable - love all the fine details you did on it. Thank you for sharing with Share It One More Time. Cathy

  12. This is really cute tutu Merida dress!

  13. What a fun costume for your little one! I'm featuring it this week on Fridays Unfolded!


  14. Very impressive, Anna! What a lucky little niece you have. She's such a CUTIE!! Love your creativity - especially that you used the bendy stem of a fake flower to make the bow!! Love that idea. Well done! Catherine (latest follower of your blogging adventures!) :)