Monday, February 29, 2016

The New Dream

30 Day Disney Challenge Day 2: Who is your Favorite Disney princess? Rapunzel from Tangled is my favorite. If I was a princess, this would be me. She's silly and quirky, but more importantly she has faith in her dreams. I love how Disney makes strong and confident women who have hope in themselves. So many little girls can look up to them.:
“I’ve got a dream!”
(She’s got a dream!)
“I’ve got a dream!”
(She’s got a dream!)

Even before my family saw Disney’s Rapunzel, I’ve been fascinated with her pretty pinky-purple dress because, not only is Rapunzel the first Disney Princess to wear purple (my favorite color), but while watching the movie, I found myself thinking the style is something I’d design myself:
·        Small puff-sleeves (not poofy), with fitted lower sleeves—one of my favorite sleeve styles!
·        Sleeves are ¾-length—warmer than short sleeves, yet keep out of the way for hands-on tasks
·        Sweetheart neckline (so feminine! ’Though I’d have made it higher or filled in)
·        A-line skirt (fitted at the waist—no bulk!—flared at hem)
·        Mid-calf-length—long enough to be modest and elegant, short enough to keep out of the mud :-P
·        Subtle lace trim
·        EMBROIDERY!

I tried to make my own version of this frock a few years back…let’s just say I didn’t know what I was doing, and it didn’t turn out well. But the desire for a Rapunzel-inspired dress never really left, and this year it’s come back in full force. By God’s grace, I was able to buy the materials needed for this project this past month (what weren’t already in the Stash, that is). PTL! See, Grandma sent me some Green $tuff for my birthday this year, plus some extra to buy my “Snow Queen” jewelry set, so this was kind of a birthday present from her. :-)
I’ve decided, however, not to try and make a 110% screen-accurate reproduction. :-P Not only is that stressful and obsessive, but it can also be very expensive (and if you don’t believe me, just check out the prices of various fabric options for the fan-made “authentic” print on Spoonflower). So I’m aiming for an “inspired-by” version—made from fabrics that will still evoke the look of the movie costume, but be easier to care for than silks or satin [read: machine washable and –dryable].

Here are the materials for my frock:
Clockwise from top: Bodice fabric, piping, lower sleeve fabric (with embroidery floss, sewing thread, and zipper), skirt pattern, skirt/upper sleeve fabric
The color-scheme is admittedly a bit more purply than Rapunzel’s dress, and you’ll notice I got purple piping instead of opting for pink embroidery or binding. That’s because it looked better to my eye. A bit classier and less blatantly Disney Princess (which is why I’ll also be using lavender for the lower sleeves instead of pink). 
…but then again, the movie dress is computer-generated silk brocade and –taffeta, so it shifts hues with the lighting. Sometimes it looks really pink…
Full body screenshot of rapunzel from tangled for dress reference:
…other times it’s more orchid/lilac…
“Eew, there’s a lizard on my lap!”
…and by moonlight, it’s almost a true lavender...
Rapunzel - Tangled - Beautiful <3:
So I guess we could dub this dress “Rapunzel by Moonlight,” LOL
(and then there’s this odd little GIF, where her dress is almost periwinkle…???)
"Just ask my frying pa--oh!"

I’m going with this color scheme because it’s what I could find. Plus I look awful in really pinky-lavenders. :-P

~The Bodice~
I saw a print like this on Etsy and immediately thought of Rapunzel. Thankfully, the local fabric store had it in stock, so I didn’t have to pay shipping. Yayness! I’ll be using my drafted princess-seamed pattern, which is based—I think—on McCall’s 4107 (and heavily modified to fit my shape). This is probably one of the biggest differences between the movie costume and my dress. Rapunzel’s bodice is constructed more like a corset, with multiple seamlines and boning channels and stuff. There’s also an odd little buttoned bit in the back (someone suggested she wears a blouse under a corset). My bodice will have a high neckline in back with an invisible zipper, and I plan to dress it up with piping in the princess seams and decorative lacing. I’ll probably cut the sweetheart neckline in front about the same as the movie costume’s and wear a higher-necked sleeveless layering tee underneath it for modesty. (The reason: I like sweetheart necks, but they look awkward when cut up high enough to be modest. Laying Tees to the rescue!)

~The Skirt~
Originally, I was going to get a darker version of the bodice print for the center-front skirt panel, then use solid orchid-purple for the rest of the skirt. However, I couldn’t find the darker print locally and didn’t want to order online (color matching should be done in person as much as possible), so I decided to get two solids…unfortunately, the only matches I found for my bodice fabric were on a swatch card at Jo-Ann, and both colors had been discontinued. :-( Then the nice girl who waited on me mentioned a new fabric store in town, so Mom and I dropped by…and I found this:

The color was a perfect match, and just a little deeper than the bodice fabric. The print goes surprisingly well with it, too, even though they’re not a bit similar. It adds a bit of Gunne Sax pattern-mixing to the project, which is cool. :-D

The plan is to use Butterick B6179, View C, for the skirt, as it’s fairly close to the movie skirt. My only modification at this point (other than eliminating the waistband, of course) will be to cut the center-front panel on the fold instead of having that seam up the front.

~The Sleeves~
Ideally, I’d like to make the upper sleeves in the deeper print, using my drafted puff-sleeve pattern based (loosely) on another one, the number of which I don’t have right now….
And while I like the look of the ribbons on Rapunzel’s sleeves, mine has to double as a Real World party-frock, and nothing says “costume” more plainly than stripey sleeves for some reason.

~Trims and Embroidery~
Disney's Rapunzel Costume Analysis! Close-up of the skirt:
Obviously, I’m not going to find the *exact* trims used in the movie costume. That’s OK, ’cos I’m not going for exact here. ^.^ I do, however, hope to add some subtle lace trim to the sleeve-edges and neckline, and possibly the hem of a new petticoat I have in the works. So a look through our Stash of vintage laces (some of which belonged to my grandmother and great-grandmother) is on order soon….
I’m omitting the lace on the bottom edge of the bodice because, unlike Rapunzel’s, my bodice will be sewn to the skirt instead of separate pieces. Plus it feels a bit excessive.
The embroidery on Rapunzel’s skirt is cute and fun, but I can’t figure out the pattern, and I’m not going to try, especially since this isn’t an exact replica. I’m thinking of this design, which I used for my cousin’s Russian(esque) peasant costume:

I’d work it in the variegated orchid-purple floss in the first materials picture, rather than in pinks and blues like in the movie. Seems like any embroidery on my frock needs to be a bit more subtle because the whole skirt will be printed, rather than just the front panel. I mayn’t even need embroidery on the skirt, so I may just do something on the sleeves. We’ll see when I get to that point.

I’m so happy to be one step closer to realizing a pet dream I’ve had for several years! It’s still a wee bit unreal that God has actually made it possible…proof—once again—that my little projects matter to Him, too. :-D Sole Deo Gloria!

It’ll probably be a while, realistically, before I do anything more with this project, as there are several other Real Life projects on a higher priority. But they’re none of them very difficult, so Lord willing, I may get to this dress sooner than I think. :-)

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,


  1. The fabrics and colors look beautiful, Tom! I look forward to your progress on this!

    1. *Squee* It's still a bit amazing to me that the two prints go together.

      I'm hoping (Lord willing) to get the dress at least wearable by Resurrection Sunday...but we'll see. I very seldom meet my sewing goals. :-P


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