by admin, November 18, 2014

I posted much of this to Tumblr as a video of the behind the scenes got blogged. And wow. What a beautiful job they did. They really did 🙂 Both Anna and Elsa were beautifully crafted and the fabrics were stunning, absolutely beautiful in texture and fit and making real what wasn’t 🙂

I admit to falling in love with this gown just a little bit more and it’s keeping me on track with my own. I can’t afford the fabrics used, but it’s pretty much what I thought. My thought process was “what would Mackie do?” But I probably should have thought “what would Eduardo do?”

So, just briefly Bob Mackie is a designer, very well known for creating gowns for divas, Cher being perhaps the most well known. Super super vibrant and sparkly but almost solely in bugle or double cut beads on a silk ground. There were even a range of exclusive Barbies produced!

There were two fabulous behind the scenes videos that were released. With a fabulous huge moniter and high resolution youtube I managed to stang some great screen caps that highlight the gown with an eye for costumer geeky details 🙂

First of all, the gown is in two distinct parts that blend so well. A boned and fully supported bodice over a lined skirt- fitted but with great drape. The fabric of both parts are made with the same fabric as a shell and all of the same pale cool blue:



As mentioned the body of the gown is overlayed with a sheer chiffon over a fully supported bodice and gently flared skirt. The cape and undershirt are made from a silvery knit. Not confirmed as being the dame fabric however stills show the cape is unhemmed at the sides (and some rolling of the side hem) and there is the same speckled silver effect. They may not be the same but they are very similar.

The beaded fabric is silk chiffon with a regular repeat of lines of chain stitch holding clear Ab bugle beads. The AB (Aurora Borealis) effect gives extra dimension to the refracted light and helps blend in the kind of sparkles of the skirt with the bodice- the bodice has many flat rhinestones of a variety of sizes.

The bugle beads are of a regular size and alternate in placement in each row.


The sheer bodice fabric is a slightly warmer tone of blue with a fine silver thread knitted in. It is a mesh but is knitted for a close fit and with very fine and narrow seam allowances.

The sheer bodice has chain rhinestones at the neckline (flat silver backs in a clear-white plastic base) and individual stones scattered over the bodice. The rhinestones on the bodice and cape are a mix of flat silver backed as well as AB coated flat round sew on types.


The shoes are a pearlescent blue leather with a satin finish.

The cape is sublimation dyed, so is likely a silver/white base colour and the blue is printed on. Sublimation dyeing uses a dye rather than paint so this makes the most sense.



The bodice has an underlining to the sheer fabric and is fully shaped and supported. It is slightly bigger at the top of the bodice to allow for movement. It is possible to see the width when the actress raises her arms.

The fabric shell is underlined to support the sheer fabric, this is obvious at  the bust seams where there are no seam allowances visible.


The fabric shell however appears to not be boned, but a separate lining does appear to hold the bodice up. There is no boning visible.There appers to be a waist tape to hold the bodice in place as well as accentuate the hourglass effect of the bodice.

The back of the bodice dips in to a short V while the front is deeper but less sharp. The bodice also sits lower on the hips than the original film version, in part as it is more flattering and in part makes for a much more stable bodice that can be more easily fitted.


The bodice back is considerably lower than the front and the fastening appears to be a zip up the centre back and hidden by the cape.


The cape is a good half circle in basic shape but made from gores that taper from the bodice to the hem. The seams are incredibly fine and narrow and there are three at least. It is very  gently eased to the top of the bodice and draped based on the stretch of the upper curve and the flare of the seams. The hem extend from the sides to the back into a train, it is considerably shorter than the film version



Like the film it has seams that follow the diagonal lines of a raglan sleeve, leaving the shoulder and top side of the arm seamless. it is likely the undershirt is a bodysuit as there s a clear centre back seam but no room for an invisible sip. It also stays very well in place and with no wrinkles under the arm. This suggests it is anchored well, which is most easily achieved in a stretch knit with a bodysuit/leatard type fit.

Just some screen caps, fabric and seam details.

To note especially:

  • The bugle beads are chain stitched, which makes me think cornely machine but I think there are more suited machiens that can do multiple rows at a time.
  • the v points will have a facing of bias fabric most likely
  • the bust has some amazing shaping, note the curve comes back on itself over the bust and there is a dart to the outside of it as well.
  • The cape has at least three seams for flare, and much of the edge is eased not gathered

Also note, the shredding of the hem of the skirt. That is what happens with this stuff, unfortunately. So if you are going to go the couture fabric route remember that $1000 skirt will shred like the blazes as it was not meant to be dragged on the ground.

Yep, standard width silk chiffon with beads, many lots of dollars for the base fabric but sigh.

Sub dye? Yep, you can get that done many places. Not saying to use the design.. just the method… It’s basically printing, like with an inkjet printer:


Heat and pressure are used to transfer images from an ink jet printed paper negative, to the fabric. 

And it is best on polyester fabrics… Not that it will get you the silver print, but you can get full width opaque printing done as well.. *edit* I think the silver is part of the fabric and the sub dye is for the darker blue areas, but if you wind up needing a foil print type effect due to where you are what you have available it is an option. Better done as in industrial job than trying to weed sheets of vinyl foil at home…

So kind of the opposite of what people have been doing at home. Sigh, now I want to see if I can get a similar effect on my net.

And my previous notes:

Wait what’s that? Beaded fabric for the skirt? You don’t say… This is how the skirt has the same weight and yet flow as in the movie. The beads pull the fabric smoothly over the hips and then the weight makes the hem swish but also not flick about. I think it’s a standard chain stitch with the double cut bugles spaced evenly, and alternating. I haven’t seen the exact fabric but it is the standard method of doing beaded fabric.


Do not be fooled by the word “novelty”….


I wanted this in AB clear beads on white so I could ombre dye. But… The fabric plus shipping plus customs would be closer to $2000….




Just to give an idea of how how much this would actually be to reproduce….

Oh check it, raglan sleeve for the sheer top (which Elsa does definitely have) and I love how they committed to the smaller surface decoration on the bodice. Just doing it :)

I’m a big fan of how these work on TV. And goes to show how moving vs static images change what you see.

And I have my Elsa wig on the way as well as have set aside exactly what layers I want for the skirt and bodice structure. So, I will get Elsa done! but it will be a summer project :)

Leave a Comment

Filed under garment construction, projects: media recreations, rock the frock, Uncategorized

Leave a Reply