Yesterday I showed you how I made all of the accessories for the Princess Tiana costume, today I will show you how I made the dress! Dreaming up this pattern took a lot of work, as you can see in the illustration below (clearly I am not known for my drawing talents!) But it was a lot of fun, and I really hope you will enjoy this tutorial!
Here is what I used:
1 yard of cream colored or off white satin
1/2 yard of light green satin or similar (mine was like a crepe satin)
1 yard of green non-fraying material (such as tulle, nylon chiffon, etc) Mine also had sparkles all through it, if you can find something with sparkles it really makes the dress come to life!
Scraps of medium-heavy weight fusible interfacing
1/4″ elastic (measure around child’s chest, under the armpits to get the length needed)
Thread and basic sewing supplies.
Pattern – I will teach you how to draft your own.
First we will work on the bodice. Your main bodice pattern is going to be shaped like a trapezoid, and the lily petals and leaves will be applied over top of the main bodice. Here are the instructions for drafting your bodice:
When you have your main bodice pattern drafted, you will need to cut two of these pieces out of your light green satin material. You can either cut the pattern in half along the dotted line, and cut your material on the fold, (the fold being where the dotted line is) or just cut it out as is. Now that you have your two bodice pieces (front and back), take one of the pieces and fold over the top edge 1/4″ to the wrong side of the fabric; press with your iron. Fold over again another 1/2″ and press again. Sew the bottom of the folded edge down, this will create a casing for your elastic. Repeat these steps with your other bodice piece.
Cut a piece of 1/4″ elastic that is the same measurement as your child’s chest, now cut this piece in half. (My daughter’s measurement was 20″, so I had two 10″ elastic pieces. Take one piece of elastic and attach it to a safety pin. Thread it through one of the casings at the top of your bodice piece. Sew each end of the elastic into place at the edges (make sure the ends of the elastic are just inside of the casing and not peeking out). Repeat for second piece of elastic and the other bodice piece. Place your two bodice pieces right sides together. Sew the short sides together with 1/4″ seam allowance and then finish the seams with a zig zag stitch.
Next we are going to work on the ties/straps. Cut two long rectangles out of your light green satin that measure 2″x20″ for sizes 1-4. Add a couple more inches of length for larger sizes. Fold one of your rectangles in half, wrong sides together, so that the long edges meet up. Sew all the way down the long edge with 1/4″ seam allowance. Turn strap right side out and press so that the seam is at the back of the strap. Fold one of the short, raw, open edges over 1/2″ towards the back of the strap, and then again another 1/2″ and sew it into place. Repeat these steps with the other rectangle to create a second strap.
Fold the bottom, open end, of the strap up 1/2″ towards THE FRONT of the strap. You are now going to attach the strap to the front of the bodice. Slip the bodice over your child’s head and measure about 1/2″-1″ out from the armpit and mark that spot. This is where you are going to attach the strap. I found that 2 1/2″ from the seam of the bodice was a good spot for my daughter (size 2). Place that edge that you just folded on the inside of the bodice at the spot that you marked. Attach the bottom of the folded edge of the strap by sewing it to the bodice along the seam from the elastic casing. Sew it again along the top of the bodice. DO NOT stretch the elastic straight when sewing or measuring where to put the strap, just leave it as is. Repeat this process for the second strap, measure in from the side of the bodice, the same measurement as your first strap.
Now you should have two straps attached to your main bodice that will tie around your child’s neck. Let’s move on to dressing up this bodice! We are going to make the pattern for the lily petals that are in the center of the bodice. Take a piece of paper and your bodice. Measure the bottom edge of the front of your bodice from seam to seam. Mine was 10″. Take away 4″ from that number and you will get the length of the bottom of your lily pattern – so mine was 6″ long. Now measure from the top of the bodice to the bottom, mine was 7 3/4″. Draw a line perpendicular to the bottom line on each end that are the same length as your measurement (my lines again were 7 3/4″) . Now to that number, add 1 1/2″, the top of your lily petals will be an inch and a half higher than the top of your bodice (so my number equalled 9 1/4″). Draw a line from the centre of your bottom line (this is the middle dotted line in my picture) that equals this measurements. One of the neat things about the Tiana dress is that nothing is symmetrical or uniform. I decided that my middle petal would be higher than the two outer petals, so I made those petals 9″ high. Divide the space between your middle line and your outer line in half, and this is where you will draw the lines for your other two petals. My middle petal was 3″ from each side, so I drew the lines for my other two petals at the 1 1/2″ mark. In between the petals draw lines that again are the same measurement as your bodice from top to bottom. Draw a line along the top to connect the petals. Lastly, draw a line 1/2″ around the outer edge of your pattern to allow for a seam (this is the red line in my drawing) And if these instructions are all terribly confusing, have a look at the drawing below!!
Cut your pattern out around the outer line. You will now cut two of these from your cream colored/off white satin fabric. Pin your lily bodice right sides together. Sew around all of the edges EXCEPT for the bottom edge – leave it open. You will sew it together with 1/2″ seam allowance.
Clip around all of the curves and turn your lily bodice right side out. Press well with your iron, making sure that all of the points on the top are showing. Next you are going to edge stitch around all of your sewn edges. I decided to use a nice decorative leaf stitch and some contrasting light green thread, you can use whichever type of stitch you like.
Place the lily bodice, right side up, on top of the front main bodice. Line up the bottom edges. Center the lily bodice; it should be 2″ in from each of the side seams. Pin them together along the bottom and use a basting stitch to attach the lily bodice 1/8″ from the bottom.
Now we are going to make the leaves for the front of the bodice. Just like for the lily part, I suggest you take a piece of paper, and your bodice and draw your leaves the size that you want them, and then add 1/2″ around the edge for your seam allowance. The Tiana dress has a smaller leaf on one side, and a larger leaf on the other side that overlaps across the white lily part and over top of the leaf on the other side. One thing to keep in mind is that you do not want the leaf to stick into your child’s armpit, so make the outer edges of the leaves curved inwards. Here is how I created my leaf pattern.
When you have your two leaf patterns cut out you will need to cut two (opposites of each leaf) from your light green satin fabric (four pieces all together). Then you will cut one of each leaf from your sparkly green non fraying fabric. You will also cut one of each from your medium- heavy weight fusible interfacing. Apply interfacing to the wrong side of your inner leaf that you cut from your piece of light green satin fabric. If your leaves are not symmetrical (mine were not) you should apply the interfacing to the piece of fabric that will be right side up (does this make sense? If not email me at email@example.com, I would be happy to talk you through it!) When you have finished interfacing, place your interfaced leaf piece right side up. Next place your sparkly fabric on top, also right side up. Now place your opposite leaf piece from the satin fabric on top, wrong side up (right sides together) Your non-fraying sparkly fabric should be sandwiched in the middle. Pin the curved edges together, leaving the bottom open. Sew the leaf together using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Clip around all of the curves and turn right side out, press with your iron. You should have a nice sparkly layer on the top of your leaf.
Edge stitch around the sewn edges of your leaf. Repeat all of these steps to create the second outer leaf. You should now have two leaves that look something like this:
Take your inner leaf and your bodice and follow these three steps.
Step 1: Line up the bottom left hand corner with the side seam. Baste the leaf to the bodice along the bottom.
Step 2: Make sure your lily bodice is nice and straight. Pin your leaf to the bodice, it should be overlapping the lily part. Sew along the edge stitching all the way up to the bottom of the elastic casing. Don’t forget to back stitch at the start and finish. Repeat along the other side of the leaf (see the black dotted lines) This will also secure the lily bodice to the main bodice.
Step 3: Sew an inner leaf pattern, starting at the bottom of the bodice (see picture) This will secure everything to the bodice and give the illusion of a second leaf.
Repeat these steps for the outer leaf – and your bodice is all done! Phew, now lets get to work on that skirt!!
For the leaf parts of my skirt I used the non fraying sparkly green material. I created six different leaves. First I started by cutting three rectangles that were 10″ wide by 12″ long. I measured from my daughter’s hips and decided what length I wanted it to be (down to the mid calf) and then I added a half inch for seam allowance. When I had these three rectangles cut, I then took my rotary cutter and made them into a leaf shape, keeping the top of the leaf 10″ wide.
So I made three leaves like that. My fourth leaf is the one that you see at the front of Tiana’s dress. It is wider, starts where the outer leaf on the bodice ends, and sweeps down to the side. For this leaf I made a rectangle that was 17″ wide, and again 12″ long. For bigger dress sizes you can make your leaves wider. This is how I cut it:
If you look carefully at Tiana’s dress, she also has a symmetrical leaf on the left hip. For this one I started with a rectangle that was also 18″ wide by 12″ long. I folded it in half width wise and then cut a curved line up the outer edge to create a symmetrical leaf.
Next I sewed a gathering stitch along the top edge of each of the six leaves. Starting with the leaf that you want to be on the outermost edge (this should be one of the wider leaf that sweeps down to the side), pin the bottom edge of it to the bottom of the bodice, right sides together. For this leaf I lined it up with the left edge of the outer leaf on the bodice, the other end of the leaf was around the back of the bodice. Sew it into place using a 1/2″ seam allowance, make sure you are sewing just above the gathering stitch. Next take your symmetrical leaf. Place the one end beside the end of the leaf that you just sewed into place. Again pin it to the bottom edge of your bodice, right sides together and sew it into place. Take your remaining three leaves, decide where you want them, maybe to fill in any holes, just wherever you think they look good. Pin and sew them into place.
This is what your dress should look like now:
Last step, let’s create the lily skirt! Your lily skirt is going to consist of 6 arrow like pieces of cream colored or off white satin. First of all measure your child’s waist. Add 34″ to this measurement and then divide by 6″. This will give you the measurement for the top of your arrow pattern. Ex. My daughter’s waist was 20″ add 34″ = 54″. Divide by 6″ = 9″. 9″ is the measurement for the top of my arrow pattern. Next, measure from the waist down to the ankle to get your length. Add 1/2″ for seam allowance. Now measure from the waist to just above the knee, add 1/2″ for seam allowance. This measurement is for the sides of the arrow. See picture below to use these measurements to make your pattern.
Cut out six of these arrows from your cream colored satin. You can cut the arrow in half down the dotted line and cut the fabric on the fold if you wish. Take one of your arrow pieces and fold the lower, diagonal, edge over 1/2″ to the wrong side and press. Repeat this step for the other diagonal edge. Sew both edges into place, creating a hem for your skirt. Repeat these steps with all six arrow pieces.
Iron all of your arrow pieces nice and flat. Take two of your arrow pieces and place them one on top of the other, right sides together. Pin them together along one of the raw side edges. Sew them together with 1/2″ seam allowance. Finish the seam with a zig zag stitch and press your seam nice and flat. Add a third arrow piece to one of the outer side edges in the same fashion, until all six arrow pieces are connected. Take the last two remaining raw edges and pin them, right sides together. Stitch them together to make your skirt into a circle, again finish with a zig zag stitch and press your seam. Sew a gathering stitch along the top of the skirt, make sure that it is now the same length around as the bottom of your bodice.
LAST STEP!! With your bodice turned right side out, and your leafy skirt pieces flipped upwards towards the top of your bodice, flip the whole thing upside down. Make sure your lily (arrow) skirt is inside out, pin the top raw edge to the bottom of the bodice (so right sides should be together!). Sew the lily (arrow) skirt to the bodice with 1/2″ seam allowance. Finish the seam with a zig zag stitch. Lastly, turn everything right side out and press the skirt nicely with your iron. Voila! The Frog Princess is ready! Don’t forget to visit my post on the accessories to make the Lily pin, Crown, and underskirt!
I really hope you have enjoyed this post, it certainly took a lot of time and effort!~ Please pin it for Halloween or whatever occasion you would like!
Thanks for stopping by!