Elsa From Disney’s Frozen Costume Walkthrough Part 1-Patterns, materials

I should apologize now for my horrible grammar but I just took a major Bio exam and my brain is kinda out of it. Alas I promised to produced this weekend so let’s begin!

I decided back in early November when I first saw the trailer for Frozen that I was going to have to make Elsa’s ice dress. I feel in love with the design and character immediately and sold my soul to make this dress for Ohayocon 2014. It is my biggest project to date and though stressful at times I did really enjoy making it. I estimate I spent about 300 hour total hours on the dress and still want to add more detail work to the costume.



I bought most of my fabric from joann fabrics because I had a bunch of coupons. I bought my sleeve material from spandexworld but I had a friend in New York buy it in person because you must buy over $20 worth of fabric and the shipping was very expensive

8 yds of BLUE RADIANCE organza casa collection

3 yds of BLUE RADIANCE satin casa collection

3 yds of BLUE RADIANCE lining casa collection

1 yd light aqua glissenette


For the dress I used this pattern as a base:


I heavily altered the pattern to add the train and fit my awkward body shape though. The train was drafted by me so there is no pattern you can buy sadly :/

To get the silver lines on my dress I bought lumiere metallic paint in silver and turquoise and painted the organza myself. I needed 2 jars of each color.

Here is the different colors of Sequins I bought for my top. I bought circles and out them into rectangles I recommend the hologram spa blue as your primary color. It was the closest to the actual color. I bought about 1500 sequins :

20mm Metallic Paillette cool water blue

20mm Paillette Hologram Turquoise

20mm Paillette Hologram Glacier

20mm Paillette Hologram Spa Blue

20mm Metallic Paillette turquoise

20mm Metallic Paillette blue bell

20mm Metallic Paillette aqua


The glitter to make the snowflakes was bought from artglitter.com. This was very very pricey but well worth the cost for the quality. This company specializes in ultra fine cut glitter hence the extra costs. I bought a pound of “Ultrafine glitter in Misty”. There are so many choices it is insane. If I could redo this I would have gotten a few colors and mix them to make a gradient effect. I did buy their fabric glue and it worked  well unfortunately I spilled half of the bottle and needed to buy “fabric mod podge” it worked just as well so I would recommend that over artglitter’s glue.




Like I explained above I bought a pattern for the main dress but heavily altered it to fit my body and add the extra train in the back. Here is an example of the shape I made to add the train. My train was only 14 inches in the back. Anything longer and it would have been too hard for me personally to walk.


To make Elsa’s top I used a base pattern Mccall’s  M6460. I used dress B as my base and again heavily altered the design.


First I made a mock up of the top out of some muslin and tried it on. I marked a line where I wanted it to lay on my shoulders and cut one half of the top. I seamed ripped the shirt apart and used the side I cut as a base for my new pattern. I made the new pattern out of muslin to make sure the top fit properly. After I was happy with the design I cut out the good fabric and assembled it. I used a zigzag stitched on all the seams since the fabric was a 2- way stretch. I just hemmed the top with a zigzag stitch too. I am going to cover that hem in glitter anyways, so I was not too concerned about making it look extremely appealing. For the hands I took some extra blue fabric and zigzag stitched that to create my finger loops. Since the fabric was stretchy it worked perfectly. After that I sent my zigzag stitched to the smallest width and hemmed the hand since it would get quite a bit of wear and tear. To finish the top I sewed a simple elastic band to the bottom of my top to ensure it would not ride up. I used 1 inch thick elastic. This what I happen to have in my notions drawer but I am sure something half of the size would do the job nicely. I measured where the bottom of the top hit my stomach and subtracted 1.5 inches from that measurement. After that I just gather the bottom and sewed it to the top.


Moving on to the biggest part of the costume, the train/cape. *cue death march*. Ok, it was not that horrible to make but it does require a lot of room which I did not have due to holiday decorations. The pattern is 100% drafted by me so make sure to give me credit if you use this style. I apologize in advance for my crappy diagrams made via paint in 5 seconds. I am pretty a five year could have done better but I hope they get the idea across. I would recommend anywhere from 6-8 yards of a 58 inch wide fabric. I personally used exactly 8 yards of fabric to make mine. I would not suggest making the train any longer than 100 inches because it will be hard to walk around in and quite heavy with all of the snowflakes. I am also kinda tall (5’8″ft) so if you smaller than 5’5″ft I would suggest 80-90 inches long.


Before you dive into the costume I would take time to sketch up the measurements and maybe even make a mockup if you have the resources. In the movie Elsa’s train is pleated just like her coronation gown cape. There are two main pleats on each side which I did add to the train. To figure out how much fabric I need for the top I measured myself with the dress on to see where I wanted the train to be. Mine was 20 inches in total but I added almost 12 extra inches for the pleats and seam allowance. The first pleats in the back were 3.5 inches (7 inches total) and the side pleats were 2.5 inches( 5 inches total). I would suggest playing around with these to see how your fabric falls. After I figured out the top I moved onto the actual train, I divided each side into 4 sections. The largest section is illustrated for you below. To get the 87.5 inches for the other side of the pattern I used a very weird math process which I will try my best to explain. I decided how long I wanted my cape to be (100 inches) then I decided how short I want it to be in the front (50 inches). I subtracted the two numbers (100-50=50) and divide that by 4 (50/4=12.5). I took that measurement (12.5) and subtracted that each time from the four sections to find the opposite sides. My personal measurements were (100, 87.5), (87.5, 75), (75, 62.5) and (62.5, 50). Each width was different due to trying to hide the seams in the pleat. To create the curves at the bottom, I just free-handed the design so it ran nicely into each section.

To make my cape appear seamless, I made sure to cut the largest section on the fold so I did not have a seam in the middle. After this I had all my sections and sewed them together then rolled hemmed them on my serger. To attach the train to the dress I sewed some heavy and medium weight snaps along the inside of the dress and on the back of the train. Basically I just fold over the train into the dress and snap into place. It holds up quite well and I have not had any issues wearing it at all.


Thanks for reading! I hope this was helpful and actually made sense. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I will try my best to answer. I hope to publish part 2 tomorrow which will be all about glitter and snowflakes!


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29 thoughts on “Elsa From Disney’s Frozen Costume Walkthrough Part 1-Patterns, materials

  1. Ilona

    Yes. I am that friend in New York. I am also her husband/wife.
    Nice tutorial, dear.

    • Madyson Cordie

      BTW your wife did a fantastic job and I want to thank her so much! it would be cool to meet u and talk about that kind of stuff I’m a crafter too

  2. Incredible work and a great inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your hard work and ideas!!

  3. Madyson Cordie

    I’m 10 yes old and now the to whoever made this dress I can have one to wear in my play I’m doing frozen

  4. Cassie

    Wow!! You did an amazing job.

    • Thank you so much!

      • You are amazing thank you so much now me and my friend can follow our dreams and become designers but most of all we want to thank you for your tips now our best friend will have an Elsa coustem when her birthday comes around. Thank you!!

      • That is so great to hear 😀 That means a lot thank you so much. I am having trouble deciding what I want to do with my future at the moment. I really just want to make beautiful costumes for everyone. Sorry for the random comments but I am trying to decide on whether or not to apply to a fashion design program right now. Your comment just spoke to me about following your dreams. Anyways, tell your friend a very happy birthday for me! Good luck following your dreams 😀

  5. Mary Kay Klaus

    wish there was a picture of the whole thing all together (with the top). Thanks for all the info, you did a wonderful job!

  6. Rose Weasley

    Wow you did an awesome job.

  7. Ruby's Mimi

    great job!! Thanks for the photos! Now to make one for a 3 year old following your suggestions!!

  8. This is the best, easiest to understand and follow instruction anywhere on the internet and Pinterest that I’ve seen. Thank you and my 4 yr old thanks you…now I have to redo that cape I made her cause now I can do it better after reading this!

  9. Hey great job now i can give my daughter a present

  10. Ellie

    I looked at Spandex World’s website, and they don’t have any Aqua? Do you know why that is? Also, is the Glissinette shimmery or a sparkly finish? We can’t seem to find the right fabric anywhere. Tulle is too scratchy and fragile…. Though it’s the only thing close we can find. Also having a hard time finding the right color… Please help!

    • I used light blue in a matte finish and added the glitter myself. I had a friend buy it for me directly at the store in NY. I have heard some pretty bad things about spandex house online orders. Apparently some stuff they have in the store they do not list online, so it is very likely this is the case.They also will send samples that are completely different than what you order :/ But I was at my local Joanns the other day and they had the same mesh material in the performance wear section. It comes in a light pink and blue with some glitter on it. It just came out so it is not online yet. I would check that out first before ordering offline.

  11. Hi! I’m fairly new to cosplaying and my Elsa costume is a terminal WIP, haha. I’m redoing the train again, but I was wondering: where on the train are the pleats? I’m not understanding how to get the train to fan out to the sides rather than just the back. Thank you! And amazing job!!

    • The pleats are on her back, but they do little to help the actual cape fan out to the sides. Mine fan out to the sides because the cap goes all the way to under my arm holes.If you need a good reference image for the pleats I would recommend google searching “Elsa’s cape back view”. Hope this helps and have a good day!

  12. Ash

    How much did it cost to make it? Just curious

    • I cannot remember the exact cost at this moment but it was around $200 for me. The biggest cost for me was the wig and glitter.

  13. Caillie

    Hello! How did you attach the sequins? I ordered the same ones and they have one hole to sew but then would be sticking out. Thinking about gluing them but not sure if they’ll stay on.

    • I punched holes into the the opposite side of the sequin and sewed them down that way. I used the tiniest hole punch I could find. I did use glue on some of the sequins. I used e6000 and it works pretty well.

  14. Patricia A Wolfenbarger

    Wow! This is a wonderful tutorial, thanks so much for the really detailed post! I’m sure that it took almost as much time to write the post as to make the costume! LOVE LOVE LOVE the shoe tutorial! I do have a question though. I am making a costume like this for my granddaughter and I am wondering how you did the end of the sleeve that attached to the middle finger. What material did you use to attach to the glistenette?
    Thanks again!

    • Thank you so much!! For the middle finger hole I used my serger to created a rolled hem. I just used the rolled thread as my finger string and sewed it into the sleeve. Here is the video I used as a reference.

  15. AMAZING!!! Question, is the fabric you used for the dress multicolor or did you do something to it? I went looking for that fabric at Joan’s and doesn’t look the same. Help please. Thank you 🙂

    • I hand painted the sliver details on the blue satin from Joanns. If I could redo it though I would have bought a more sparkly fabric instead of painting.

  16. bre

    Can you add a picture of the dress all finished please. I mean of the front. Please. I need to make one for a fundraiser.

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