Recently I made a Rapunzel costume and I wanted to write a tutorial on how I made it. I prefer to draft patterns myself which is a learning process.
During the current pandemic, we are not allowed to go out and buy fabric (somehow that isn’t considered essential) so I challenged myself to make it entirely from supplies I already have. I did achieve this goal however I really need to replace one ribbon when I can go shopping again, you will see what I mean later.
I also made a felt Chameleon but that will be another post.
- White crepe back satin leftover from another project
- 3 yards of some unknown white fabric for the skirt (taffeta?)
- Lavender cotton for the lining
- Plastic whalebone
- Pink lace trim
- White lace trim
- Pink ribbon for the puffy sleeves
- Skinny ribbon for the lacing (yellow dyed pink which came out orange)
- Foam for stamps
- White stretch mesh for the sleeves
- Lots of tie dye
- Sewing machine and serger
- Cricut Maker
- Fluffy assistant
I based my bodice pattern off of the Anna bodice I made as my last project, but I changed the back from a zipper to on the fold. I would have preferred making the front lacing just decorative and have a zipper in the back, but I didn’t have any separating zippers in my stash. You may see this being a common theme for this project. Ideally the bodice would have 3 layers, the fashion fabric, a stiff base layer and then the soft lining, but I didn’t have anything for the base layer, so I skipped it.
The bodice pattern I made had 3 pieces: front, side and back. The front and sides have princess seams which aren’t accurate, but I didn’t really want to draft and sew as many pieces as she wears in the movie. The back was drafted with darts instead of two separate pieces and it ended up being a little tight in the hips. Next time I use this pattern I will widen it at the bottom and possibly split it into two pieces.
For the sleeves I used the puffy sleeve pattern I drafted for my blue Ariel dress and cut them shorter.
Much later I found some white stretch mesh for the 3/4 length sleeves.
For the skirt I did a lot of math on how to get the most skirt out of the length of fabric that I had. In the movie Rapunzel has a 7 panel skirt but I didn’t have the fabric for that. The unknown white fabric was thinner than I would have liked but again, it’s what I had. Her skirt is mid-calf length which is 32 inches on me. I cut it a few inches too long and trimmed it later.
To cut the fabric most effectively, I folded it in thirds, cut out 3 wedges, unfolded the leftovers and cut 2 more.
I also cut some scraps of both the bodice fabric and the skirt fabric as samples to test for dyeing.
Rapunzel’s costume is a pinky-purple color. I had a lot of RIT dye in my crafting stash and some of it was purple and pink. I didn’t take many pictures of this process because I live in an apartment and didn’t want evidence that I ruined my rental kitchen or bathroom. Things were dyed in a mostly purple dye bath with a splash of pink.
The center of the skirt is a darker purple than the others, so I dyed it in a more concentrated dye bath. The main problem I ran into was I didn’t have synthetic dye and the fabric was (probably) synthetic so it didn’t take the dye as well as I would have liked. I dyed it a few times and would have continued trying to make it darker except I ran out of purple dye.
Later when I found the white stretch mesh I dyed it very light pink for the long sleeve part. It ended up being around a half a teaspoon of dye in a cup of hot water to get the very faint color.
Rapunzel’s bodice and center panel of the skirt have flowers and swirls on the fabric, however hand painting fabric is not something I enjoy so I came up with a better way to achieve this. I recently upgraded to a Cricut Maker which cuts craft foam very well so I cut out some Rapunzel inspired flowers and swirls and glued them together to make stamps.
To get an even layer of fabric paint on the fabric I used a paintbrush to apply paint to the stamp and then stamped the fabric. Repeat for several hours in a random pattern.
I started sewing with the bodice. I sewed the pieces of the lining and the fashion fabric together. I added plastic whalebone boning along the seams of the lining fabric and also the front edges to keep the front stable for the lacing. I added white lace trim along the top edge and a wider pink lace trim along the bottom edge. I sewed the lining and the fashion fabric together along the top and front/side leaving the bottom edge open, turned it right side out and hand stitched the bottom edge closed. Done, right? Nope. It still needed sleeves and eyelets.
I had never sewn eyelets before and I didn’t have any metal grommets so I looked up how to hand sew eyelets. I stabbed my fingers many many times but they came out pretty well. I plan on buying thin pink ribbon to replace the orange when I can get to the craft store again.
To make the puffy top part of the sleeve I sewed pink ribbon onto the dyed fabric. I found that sewing a straight stitch down each side of the ribbon was neater than a quick zigzag down the middle. I sewed the seam and then a channel on the bottom edge for elastic.
The long sleeve part is just a rectangle with some lace sewn onto the bottom edge. I hand sewed the top edge above the elastic channel with whip stitches which stretches more than a running stitch.
For the skirt I sewed the panels together with the darkest panel in the middle. I used my serger to keep these seams from fraying. It’s not the prettiest internal seam but it works. I sewed some white eyelet lace to the bottom edge to look like her lining. I top stitched the leftover pink ribbon from the sleeves along the edge of the center panel and along the bottom edge of the lighter skirt panels. Unfortunately there was no way to hide pockets in such a sheer fabric.
To make the waistband I used one of the scraps I had used to test dye since I had forgotten about it and it wouldn’t be visible. I knew it was going to have visible top stitching so I used one of the pretty stitches on my sewing machine. It’s beautiful, right?
Unfortunately I forgot to measure this and had to cut it off and make it again because the skirt was 2 inches too small! Oops. The second try was just as beautiful.
Here is where I realized just how see-through the skirt was and I will be making a lining for it at some point, which is more accurate, but I didn’t have enough white fabric in my stash.
To finish the skirt I used more stamps instead of embroidery. I don’t have an embroidery machine and my fingers were still sore from the eyelets. I alternated between pink swirls and purple flowers which isn’t quire accurate but I liked how it looked.
I made a few accessories for this costume too. I definitely could have done a better job on the tiara and probably will go back and fix it some day when I can buy the right gemstones. Meanwhile I used my Cricut to cut glitter craft foam and hot glued it to a wire circlet I had painted gold to the back. I added a few crystals and traced the gem facets with glitter glue.
After rewatching the movie I realized how pivotal the purple sun flag Rapunzel gets in town really is. So I made one. I fused interfacing to yellow fabric, cut out the sun shape on my Cricut and then fused it to the purple flag. Well, I tried to, it didn’t fuse properly. Luckily I was going to stitch it on anyway.
I used Adobe Illustrator and my Cricut to cut out a Pascal from green felt and hand stitched him together. If I were going to remake him I would make him a bit bigger and have a larger head to be more like Pascal in the movie.
I painted a fake lily to be the magic sun drop flower from the beginning of the movie. Finally I already had the lantern from when I made Emmie a Rapunzel costume that she didn’t feel like modeling.
The last part of this costume was what I called the wig disaster. I tried to sew wefts into a base wig but it was a mess. I had planned on braiding the wig and adding flowers but I realized the scene I was going to recreate was before she has a braid. Maybe someday I’ll figure this part out.
I took pictures in my kitchen since I can’t get out right now. I also did a video of part of the song “When will my life begin” which can be found on my instagram highlights.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and I can’t wait to show you what my fluffy assistant and I have gotten up to next!