Sunday, October 21, 2012

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Princess Merida Costume (Pixar's Brave)


I wanted to do something a little different for Halloween this year. The past few years I've been a bit lethargic in my costumes, and I decided I didn't want to get into that rut again this year.

While browsing costume choices online (initially thinking I'd buy a nice-ish premade) I came across a great black velvet cloak lined in gray silk. I wasn't sure yet what I'd put with it, but it had the makings of a great costume, and I've always wanted to go as something that needed a cloak. The search was on after that to find the rest of a costume to match.

And then I was in Target...

They has a really awesome (and affordable) wig for Merida, from Pixar's Brave, and although it was technically child-size I have a teeny head. So I decided to give it a try. It fit. And once the red mane of curls was on my head I pretty much decided to go for it.

Materials List:
Dress (green with gold accents)
Curly red wig
Brown leather belt (slouchy)
Bow & arrows

After the trip to Target I had the wig, and I knew I had a brown belt that would work. The bow and arrow was scrounged from the budget accessories at Spirit Halloween -- it didn't need to be fancy to serve. The biggest piece was the dress, and I decided to convert an old renaissance faire dress to serve (it was, conveniently enough, a gold dress with green over skirt and vest).

Converting the dress seemed a little daunting, since I had no pattern to work from and I have a difficult time measuring my own proportions to use in patterns anyway.

What I ended up doing was taking the vest from the renaissance outfit and adding a few inches along the sides and across the shoulders, guessing that this would accomodate for the intervening years since I wore this in High School. This turned out to be a bit of a miscalculation -- it's always good to take note that you need to measure the front to back changes as well as side to side and up and down. I ended up with a shirt that was a wee bit snug. A panel down each side under the arms fixed this, however.

I then slit the front of the neckline to weave in a ribbon and achieve the "tied" effect that her dress has.

Finally, the sleeves. Now, Merida's dress calls for full length, tight green sleeves with just a hint of gold at the wrists, elbows, and shoulders. But, the gold under-dress from the renaissance outfit has beautiful bell sleeves (my Mom, who made the dress back in the day, is particularly adept at making these sleeves and they curve elegantly off the arm). I couldn't bear to ruin those, so I modified the outfit to serve -- the green overshirt has 3/4 length green sleeves, a gold detail at the shoulder, and the gold "detail" at the elbows and wrists became the swooping bell sleeves. It's not movie-accurate but I think it adds a little something.

When it came to the green over-skirt, I didn't have to make too many changes as I've not really gotten taller or bigger in the middle since those days. A small adjustment of the velcro, and an extra panel of green down the back to make sure it's solid green all the way around served.

I'm pretty pleased with the results, and it's going to be a fun (and affordable) Halloween costume for this year's round of parties.

UPDATE (10/31): Check out the finished costume!