How I Made a Princess Anna Dress Cutting and Sewing Only Straight Lines

A few caveats on that mouthful-of-a-title. First, this is actually a great pattern for ANY princess dress. If it looks familiar, this is actually the exact way I sewed the very first princess dress I ever made, which my daughter wore when we took Maid Marian and Sleeping Beauty pictures. This time, she wanted to be Anna, and I, being a busy mommy to three, didn’t have time to be fancy.

Anna Frozen Dress Tutorial

Which brings me to my second point: if you want the most accurate and perfect Princess Anna dress, there are other tutorials out there for you. HOWEVER, if you have never made a dress for a child before, but can cut and sew straight lines, AND you want to be your daughter’s hero and impress yourself to boot, give this one a shot. If you don’t have any distractions and you have all your materials assembled, you can probably complete this dress in under two hours. The stars did not align for me in that regard, but it was still a really quick sew.

Materials:

-Half a yard of fabric for the bodice and straps (Fabric.com is a great place to get some good deals for your costume projects)

– Between one and two yards for the skirt, depending on how full you want it to be. I also used 1/2 yard for the bodice lining.

-Velcro

-Ribbon

-Thread

1). First you need some measurements:

A). Chest/waist measurement. With little girls, these are pretty close, so measure both, take the larger one, and add 4 inches.

B). Bodice length measurement. measure the length from armpit to waist. Add 2 inches. 

(Admission: I swapped these measurement additions in my head and added two inches to the bodice width and four to the length. While it all sort of came out in the end, my daughter’s torso looks REEALLY long, and the back barely closes. So be a little more careful there than I was).

C). Shoulder straps: Go ahead and measure what you think the length of these will be (armpit front, over the shoulder to armpit back), but add at least 4 inches so you can adjust as necessary. You will make the adjustment in the sewing step.

C). Skirt length: Measure from the waist to where you want the dress to fall. I always make this a little long so my daughter can wear her dresses for a long time. Add two inches.

2). Cut out your pieces:

A). First, cut a rectangle for the bodice. (Chest/waist measurement + 4 inches) x (bodice length + 2 inches)

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Oh, also, I’m not colorblind. I know Anna’s dress has a black top, but I made a short-lived vow to myself to use only fabric I already had around here, and the green velvet was my daughter’s favorite.

B). Now cut another one. This will be your lining.

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C). Cut out your skirt. For mine, I cut (the entire width of fabric) x (the skirt length), TWICE. This was quite full, and it was a royal pain to gather. If you want to be a little kinder to yourself, double the waist measurement for width, so the dimensions would be more like (waist times two) x (skirt length + 2 inches).

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D). Shoulder Straps: I made my finished shoulder straps about three inches wide. Whatever you choose for the width, double it and add an inch. My cut width was 7 inches wide x (shoulder strap length + 4 inches). Of course, you could make this a lot easier by just using ribbon for the straps.

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3) Okay, we get to sew now!

A). Sew your straps closed, right sides together, then turn them inside out. Pictured on the right, we have one sewn shut. On the left, we have one turned right side out again.

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B). Okay, stay with me, because this will be more complicated in explanation than execution. We’re sewing the straps between the blouse and blouse lining (skip down a few pictures if you want to see what this looks like as a finished project). Find the top middle of your blouse piece (mark it with a straight pin, if you like). From this middle marker, measure out to either side a couple of inches and lay your straps down, right sides together (for example, I wanted my straps to be about four inches apart, so I measured two inches from the center pin to the right for one strap, and two inches from the center pin to the left for the other). Lay the lining fabric on top of this. Make sure all the “pretty” sides of your bodice fabric and lining are turned inside toward one another. Pin the straps to the inside.

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Sew across one strap, through the middle and over the other strap. This will only be 8-10 inches of sewing.

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At this point, go ahead and make any adjustments to your strap length. I turned the bodice right side out, tried it on my daughter really quick, shortened the straps a bit, and figured out the best place to attach them in the back. Laying the bodice back on the table, place your straps, making sure they are not twisted incorrectly and are equally spaced. Pin them between your bodice and lining.

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Sew both sides and the top of your bodice here, as shown:

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When you turn it inside out and press it, it should look like these next two pictures- one from the back and one from the front. Now pat yourself on the back, because that was the hard part- and check it out- it wasn’t too bad!!

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Oh, see where my son took a sharpie to the table? Yeah, that was awesome.

C). Sew your skirt closed in the back, leaving an opening at the top where it will attach to your bodice (and give some room to fit over the hips, etc). Four inches would be a good length for this opening. Iron this seam.

While you have the skirt on your ironing board, go ahead and turn up the bottom of your skirt 1.5 inches and press it. This will make hemming easier.

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D). Hemming! Once I begin hemming, I have serious momentum because I feel like I will be finished in mere minutes, and I suddenly feel like it’s okay to get fancy and add ribbon WHILE hemming, as pictured below. Don’t worry- you can do this in two steps. First the hem: since you’ve ironed the raw edge up, now you have to merely roll it under a bit at a time as you go and sew. Once you finish, you can add lace or ribbon or skip it altogether. But you wanna know how to make this even EASIER? Buy a fabric with a pretty edge around the bottom that doesn’t have to be hemmed (I managed this with the Maid Marian/Sleeping Beauty dress).

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E). Now we need to gather the skirt so we can attach it to the bodice. Sew two rows of VERY WIDE stitching at the top of your skirt.

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 Take the two back threads at one end of the skirt and knot them (not pictured). Take the two back threads at the other end of your skirt and begin to pull VERY gently. You do not want to break these threads (and they will wear a little thin as you go), so take your sweet time. We need to make this whole full, lovely skirt fit into the waist of the bodice, so keep a measuring tape handy.

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Once you have it gathered to the correct width and fairly even all around, tie your strings off and sew a big, wide basting stitch over the top to hold it in place.

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Remember earlier when I said I made my skirt a little too full? It seemed like a great idea until I had to gather all of it.

F). Almost THERE! Sew your skirt to your bodice. Start by pinning the skirt to the front (or back, but definitely not both). Sew it in place!

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Now pin it to the back of your bodice and sew the whole thing closed. NO MORE ugly edges!

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G). Put in a closure. To be super easy, I bought velcro (the sticky kind), stuck it in, sewed it down, and called it a day. When I made a dress on this pattern previously, I got all fancy and sewed ribbon loops down both sides so I could have a criss-cross back. Either way, you’re at the finish line!

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 Whew! Okay, here are pictures of this pattern of dress in a couple of different settings, with different props and processing, so you get an idea on versatility:

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

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And FINALLY, if you are going for Frozen, check out my post on the photo shoot we did and my free downloadable snow effect for Photoshop!

3 thoughts on “How I Made a Princess Anna Dress Cutting and Sewing Only Straight Lines

  • Thank you for sharing your work online. It’s so inspiring! I love sewing and photography, and can’t wait to try out some of the ideas you posted.

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