UPDATE: For Disney Frozen Elsa Costume Tutorial, click here.
I wrote this article to share the result of my efforts regarding the making of the Rapunzel costume. Hope you’ll like it! The tutorial is splitted into five parts: each one is focused around a specific topic or costume part.
Before we start, let’s take another look at the dress as it was designed by the Disney illustrators: I made the following patchwork trying to put all the main details into view.
Table of Contents
Choosing the right fabric
The hardest part of the work here is to choose the right fabric type and color. Don’t underestimate the task – it’s not going to be easy. The good news is, once you do that you’re halfway done.
The fabric of the dress featured in the movie is likely a shimmer taffeta or satin: furthermore either the corset and the skirt’s central panel have a mild damask pattern. Chances to find an identical one in your neighborhood clothing store? Close to nothing. You’ll most likely spend a lot of time trying to find something close and you will also have to worry about the “hey, I’m wearing a table cloth!” effect, which happens to be just around the corner.
Don’t worry tho: Rapunzel’s damask clothing effect is almost inappreciable, so you can just fake it by sticking on solid color cloth and then modding it up a bit – we’ll get on it later.
Now let’s move to the big question: What colour is the dress like? Lilac & Violet? Pink & Purple? One of the most frequent mistakes made during the crafting of this princess handmade costume is about choosing the wrong tones:
Left picture: too much blues. Right picture: too much reds. None of them is right, neither they come any close to Rapunzel.
The dress we want to sew is arranged using two different tones of a beatiful (and quite hard to find) pink/violet hybrid color, which answer to the following Pantone names: “pink lavender” for the corset, “radiant orchid” for the gown.
Point is, if you want your hand-crafted costume to look just like the animated one you’ll definitely have to look around a while in order to find the right color tone.
- “Pink lavender” satin (or eye-equivalent) color for the corset
- “Radiant orchid” satin (or eye-equivalent) color for the gown
- White lining
- Pale pink net tulle (better if slightly stretchable) for the sleeves
- White and pink lace ribbons to decorate the edges of the corset and the soutane
- Pale pink satin ribbon (1cm top)
- Candy pink tubular ribbon to be used as string to tighten the corset
- A grommet press (like the one used for the belts)
Rapunzel’s top is tightened by a braided string placed on front and it has a heart-shaped collar.
When I put the front pattern on the fabric I folded the satin towards the inside before cutting in order to have two “wings” of cloth pointed towards the middle of the corset.
I then pierced the fabric with this grommet press (any other press should work as well) and made the holes for the pink ribbon string.
The top features two pairs of sleeves: straight tulle longsleeves up to the wrists to the inside, puff shortsleeves decorated with pink satin ribbon to the outside.
To strengthen the corset and give it a solid look – since the satin is very thin – I lined it using the same satin used for the outside: I then applied the tulle longsleeves to the inside lining and the puff shortsleeves to the outside.
I also decorated either the corset collar and the tulle longsleeves edges with the white and pink lace ribbons.
To enforce the “puff” effects on the shortsleeves I applied a very thin elastic net.
Sewing the skirt
the skirt is apparently a seven panels one. The fact is, no matter how much you try, this kind of skirt won’t reproduce the result you want to achieve because of the satin’s lightness. That’s why I chose to draw an half-weel skirt pattern, splitting it into multiple segments so that it would have the same sewing signs featured by the movie. I wanted to split the half-weel into five parts, but you can have seven if you prefer. I also emphasized a bit the central panel, which happens to be quite different from the others.
To recreate the damask effect I manually painted (using fabric colors) the floreal pattern which decorates the central panel of the Rapunzel’s skirt.
Then I sewed the segments togheter to assemble the skirt:
We can clearly see that under the skirt there is a white lining soutane having the same length: that’s where you need to apply the white lace, so the soutane edge will come into view from below the skirt just like the one in the movie.
Connect the corset and the skirt
Eventually I combined the two components togheter. I attached the soutane to the corset’s inner lining and the skirt to the corset accordingly. I also decorated the corset front and rear edges, both having a “V” shaped ending, with a light pink lace ribbon.
The junction flanges enclosing the skirt’s central panel can also be decorated with fabric colors in order to recreate the floreal pattern featured by the movie.
Either the rear side on the corset and the uppermost 10 centimeters of the skirt should be secured with an invisible zipper.
All is left to do is to properly hem the skirt. Keep in mind that Rapunzel’s dress is not lenghty: it ends just before the ankle.
And there we go: a nice hand-made costume for your princess! Very feminine but also comfortable to play, run, dance and doing all kinds of cosplay related activities.
How does it look?