Dapper Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland

Usually I go all out for Dapper Day, but this year was…well, I just wasn’t feeling it. A lot of stuff was going on around this point in my life. Long story. But I still wanted to participate, just without a lot of sewing.

I ended up putting together a really simple outfit out of items in my closet. I had a black strapless Forever 21 dress with big fabric flowers on the skirt that had just been sitting around for ages, and I decided it would be perfect. I based my outfit off of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, so I added a thin black cardigan and a red belt with a silver heart shaped clasp. The red tights were from Target and the black flats with the red hearts were from Modcloth too (but from via eBay). And of course there was a petticoat stuffed up there too; it’s not Dapper Day if I’m not swathed in chiffon ruffles.

My hair was surprisingly successful. I used my little mesh donut from Target to shape my bun (since I have the WORST BABY FINE HAIR EVER) and I curled my bangs back from my forehead and pinned the ringlet in place. I sprayed the whole thing to death with hairspray and surprisingly it all stayed! What a miracle for Florida.

Dapper Day was held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and a bunch of us Icon cast members (current and former) went together. It was also the final day of operation for the Backlot Tour, so we rode it together. Honestly, while it’s sad that the attraction closed, it took up a lot of space without offering a lot to do. I’m looking forward to Toy Story and Star Wars opening up in the now-vacant space!

Also I bought a Sven plush. That happened.

Disneybounding 101

Ah, Disneybounding. One of the best and most controversial trends to pop up in recent years. Personally, I love it, but some people are divided on the topic, since there’s such a wide spectrum of possibilities.

 

For those who don’t spend all their time in Disney parks and feel a little out of the loop, Disneybounding was created by a blogger named Leslie Kay. Its a specific style of dressing in a manner influenced by a Disney character, film, or attraction. For instance, if I wear a yellow skirt, a navy top, and a red bow in my hair, I can be fairly identifiable as Snow White. It’s a great way to compromise when you can’t fully dress up to go to the parks.

 

Why can’t you dress up for the parks? That’s a great question! There’s a rule in place that no one over the age of fourteen can dress up for the parks. A lot of people think that’s unfair, but it’s really a great rule. Let’s say that five-year-old Jenny goes to Magic Kingdom for the first time, and she’s so excited to meet Cinderella. So they get to Fairytale Hall, and it’s a forty-five minute wait, and Dad isn’t too excited about that. But wait! A teenage girl in a Cinderella dress is standing outside Fairytale Hall. Close enough! Dad sends little Jenny up there, and Cinderella puts her phone away long enough to take a picture and scribble an autograph. But that’s not the same. It’s not the same at all. And imagine this- if Jenny goes up to “Cinderella” and the princess swears at her and says she’s just trying to have fun and leave her alone. Jenny would be heartbroken, right? Disney magic ruined. So yeah. Save your costumes for Not So Scary, when the party wristband can set you apart from the real characters. Maintain character integrity!

 

So that’s where Disneybounding comes in. It’s a great way to “dress up” as those beloved characters (or even attractions!) without being in full costume. The best way to do that is to pull from the color schemes of the characters- yellow, navy, and red for Snow; aqua, purple, and red for Ariel; red and white polka dots for Minnie Mouse. You get the idea. A lot can be done with makeup and hairstyles as well, although wigs should be avoided. Not only does that send you into costuming territory, but really, y’all. It’s Florida. It’s swampland. Y’all are gonna sweat to death.

 

Another way to pull inspiration is through accessories. I’ve used a necklace with a gold comb on it for Rapunzel, and a necklace with a thimble on it for Wendy. A lot of Etsy sellers create beautiful bows, custom ears, and themed flower crowns as well that can make you intsagram ready in no time. Some of my favorite shops are Ever After Bowtique, Soundsation Ears, and Magic by Courtney; all three of those shops are run by fabulous ladies who do good work.

 

But Caitlin, you say, have you ever Disneybounded? Have I ever! Here’s some examples.

 

I put together a Disneybound pajama outfit for the 24 hour day at Magic Kingdom the one year I went (RIP, but mostly RIP to the cast members who worked all night). I wore a white tunic from Target, lavender leggings from Walmart, and cream lace shoes from Payless. I made the flower crown myself, and the satchel was a gift from my friend Carrie (Pascal was hers but she lent him to me for the night). Her pajamas bound was even cuter- green plaid pajamas and bear slippers, because she was Merida!

My hipster Kylo Ren disneybound is probably my all time favorite. The dress is one of my faavorite Modcloth purchases, the Bells of London, Ohio dress made by Dear Creatures. I wore it with black low top converse style shoes and made myself a flower crown- the best part is the hidden Darth Vader.

I had a blast running around Studios and taking pictures, especially when I went to Starbucks. I had a conversation that went like this:

 

Barista: What’s your name?

 

Me: Can you please…can you please write Kyle Lauren on it?

 

Barista: …

 

Me: …

 

Barista: Okay.

 

So then flash forward to when they’re calling my name.

 

Barista: I have a venti peach green tea lemonade for…Kyle Lauren?

 

There was a dad wearing a Star Wars shirt leaning against the bar. He looked at the cup, then me, then back at the cup, and he started laughing hysterically. “Come on!” he chortled. “Kyle Lauren! Kylo Ren! It’s so funny!” Thank you, random dad. The barista might have looked at me like I had twelve heads, but I appreciate your laughter.

On St. Patrick’s Day a while back a bunch of us met up in our best green disneybounds. I chose to go as Pascal, so I wore a green dress from Pink Rose, a brown Faded Glory belt, a pair of Nicole sandals from Ross, and a Forever 21 flower crown that had been admittedly rather sparse, but I spruced it up with some extra blooms left over from another project.

Elsa is always one of my favorite cosplay choices, especially when my sister and I are disneybounding together. For Frozen Fever Elsa, I wore an aqua tank and white shorts and a flower crown made by my sister. As an extra surprise, she ordered the Frozen Fever bows from our favorite Etsy shop, Ever After Bowtique, and added them to the backs of our crowns. You can also see that Lindsay went a little more intense with her disneybound- she cosplays as Anna and has made three of her outfits so far, so she wore the vest from her Frozen Fever cosplay, but styled it with street clothes.

Our first Anna and Elsa Disneybound was a lot more intense. This was when the movie had only been out for a few months and the princesses were at their first meet and greet location in Epcot. Lindsay usually likes to wear wigs, so she wore her Anna wig, but the rest of her outfit was clearly street clothes in Anna-inspired colors, which balances out. I wore a dress from Ross and sparkly shoes, and we both wore the park tiaras. I also styled my hair and makeup to be Elsa-inspired.

For another example, I custom ordered a beautiful set of holiday Anna and Elsa bows (also from Ever After) for me and my sister. To be super honest, I don’t have any full photos of our outfits and I don’t remember what we wearing, but aren’t these bows cute? Amber custom made them after I had a terrible experience ordering from Caleigh’s Crowns (which has now closed), and not only was she brilliant to work with, she delivered them to us personally in cute holiday gift bags with candy canes!

I don’t always disneybound as just Elsa- this was my adorable Kristoff inspired outfit! I wore an embroidered peasant top and a gray skirt, both from Forever 21, navy leggings, my black Hamish boots from Blowfish, and my Kristoff bow from Ever After Bowtique. And of course I posed with a troll. I think that’s like a rule or something.

This is a sweet and simple Alice in Wonderland disneybound- a blue dress from Target, a white lace top from Forever 21, a blue bow from Ever After Bowtique, and my trusty iCarly sandals. It was cute, comfortable, and just identifiable enough.

Dapper Day is another great opportunity for subtle disneybounds! I’ve documented my Queen of Hearts, Queen Elinor, Rapunzel, and Wendy themed outfits before, but my very first one was a simple disneybound of the house from Up. I wore the Air of Adorable dress from Modcloth with the same Modcloth oxfords I wore for Rapunzel, plus a small petticoat, the Grape Soda pin, and a borrowed vintage hat. It was subtle, but effective.

You don’t even have to be at Disney for a disneybound! I went to Unviersal in a Hogwarts student disneybound (who else is a Hufflepuff?) I wore my Record Time dress in black from Modcloth, a yellow coat from Forever 21, black tights, black combat boots from Charlotte Russe, and a black hair bow from Forever 21. It was a great time (and my wand fit in my coat pocket!)

Here’s another example of a more subtle disneybound. I bought my sister these matching shirts from Tee Public for Christmas, and we styled them to be the stepsisters from Cinderella. She wore a lime green tank, aqua shorts, and an aqua bow to be Drizella, and I wore purple shorts and a pink bow to be Anastasia. (Even better, our mother disneybounded as the stepmother! We don’t have any pictures, unfortunately.)

And just for fun, here’s one of my favorite meet and greets in a Disney inspired outfit. I wore my Arendelle crest shirt from Tee Public and my Kristoff bow from Ever After for a VIP meet and greet at the Frozen singalong for my birthday. Clearly I had a little bit of fun (and was super embarrassingly excited to meet Kristoff!)

What are some of your favorite Disneybounds? Do you have any tips, tricks, or rules for disneybounding? Comment below if you want to see a follow up blog or video about disneynounds, and maybe you’ll be featured!

 

Running Races at Walt Disney World

I did my first Disney race completely on impulse. I’d thought about it before, but always chickened out before actually pursuing it. But one of my friends at work was thinking about it too, and she said if I signed up for the princess 5k she would do it too. So I did it!

(Did I train at all? Nope. I think I went running three times in the months leading up to the race.)

Of course, I felt super overwhelmed, especially when I went to the race expo surrounded by Experienced Runners in their short shorts and their KT tape. And there was so much stuff to buy. I didn’t realize that they sold so many things for runners! There was a lot happening. But I got caught up in the excitement and was so jazzed about running the next day that when I passed by a booth that was still accepting signups for the Star Wars race, I bit the bullet and signed up.

For the 10k. Because I am crazy.

The princess race turned out to be a lot of fun. Like all Disney races, costumes are encouraged, so I bought an XL Elsa children’s costume from Cast Connection and took it apart. I decorated a teal running tank from Forever 21 with silver glitter paint to look like Elsa’s bodice and sewed the cape from the costume to the back, then made a new waistband for the costume skirt to make it a separate piece. I added gray running leggings and braided my weave into my hair with some sparkly Elsa snowflakes from the Disney store, and it ended up pretty cute! My time wasn’t great, but I had a magical time running the race and was so excited for Star Wars.

Cut to Star Wars. I was not excited. I procrastinated (as I usually do) and waited till the night before to work on my Dapper Day outfit, since Dapper Day was happening right after I ran the 10k, and I had made plans to go with my sister and my friends. But something went terribly wrong with the dress (that’s another story) and I was a crying, panicky, asthmatic mess. Bless her, my best friend offered to fix the dress for me so I could get some sleep. I ended up getting pasta from Panera to carboload, fell asleep around 10 or 11, and got up at three to go to the race.

Surprisingly, I had a great time. My costume was distinctly less fancy this time; I cut an orange shirt from the boy’s section into a vest and added a patch that said Matt. So I was Matt the Radar Technician. It was a lot of fun, especially when people would call “Matt!” as I ran by and I’d give them the scowl and a thumbs up. And yes, I did go to Dapper Day afterwards and ending up clocking around 39,000 steps total.

My next race was another princess 5k, and this time I didn’t even bother with a costume. I bought a new running tank from Raw Threads, a company that makes great bamboo tanks and tees with Disney themeing. I bought one at my first race (an Ariel themed one that says “though she is little, she is fierce) and bought a purple Rapunzel one that says “make today the best day ever.” Did I wish I had a cute costume? Absolutely, but I loved my new tank.

My sister ended up helping me with the outfit for my Star Wars 5k. She found the most badass Leia tank at Hot Topic, which I paired with black shorts with cutouts on the thighs that I bought at Ross for like $7. The night before I had dress rehearsal for Mousetrap, so I did a bad thing and slept in my stage makeup. At three the next morning I rolled out of bed, added more glitter and a lip stain, put my hair up in mini Leia buns, and popped over to the race! I was really happy and perky that day, and you can tell. It was a good race and I felt great.

My next race is the Food and WIne 5k in November, and then I’ll be running the princess 10k and the Star Wars 5k. I should start planning those costumes now! Any suggestions? And do you have any experience with Disney races and have advice to give? Share it in the comments below!

Astrid Hofferson from How to Train Your Dragon

The only way I can describe this is “Princess Astrid.” Really.

I love How to Train Your Dragon, so for Not So Scary in 2015 I decided to make a costume inspired by her. Her full outfit was going to be impractical, especially for Florida (faux fur! Leather! weaponry!) so I designed a one piece dress reminiscent of Astrid using my trusty Simplicity 1873 as a base.

The bodice is made of a red brocade that I bought online. Sadly it is far too shiny in person and I wasn’t happy with it at all. I also wasn’t happy with the faux lacing- the neckline sits too high and the waistline sits too low, making me seem lumpy and uneven. The sleeves were fairly simple though; I used cream cotton from my stash and stitched on brown ribbon to look like the lacing of her arm guards.

The skirt was a brown cotton that I originally purchased for my Vanellope Von Schweetz cosplay (although I found a much better fabric later). I used a wide burlap ribbon to cover the waist and stitched stripes of narrow burlap ribbon onto the skirt to look like the fur and leather panels. I tracked down skull buttons on Ali Express that literally arrived at the last possible second.

The headband was a length of brown twill belting with elastic stitched to the center, and I wore navy Walmart leggings and my Rocketdog boots. Super classy, eh?

Here’s where I really messed up, though. Because…I’m a procrastinator. A really dreadful procrastinator. I waited until the day of Not So Scary to get started on my project. And I slept in too. And also I was working on my friend’s Belle costume, which I hadn’t completed either. I am literally THE WORST. I cried. Often. And I wasn’t happy with the final products of either cosplay. But oh well. We still made it to Be Our Guest on time (so Bri got to eat at the castle while dressed as Belle) and we still had a great time at the party. Will I wear my Astrid dress again? Not without significant changes. But at least we had a good time!

Dapper Day Queen Elinor from Brave

Fall Dapper Day is somehow always harder to plan for. Dapper Day in the spring naturally lends itself to soft pastels and fluffy petticoats, but picking something in a fall color scheme is harder. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s just me.

I went through multiple options for my Dapper Day attire until I finally settled on Queen Elinor from Brave. I love the character and I hadn’t sewn anything in that rich green color before. I also decided to make it easier on myself by making a skirt and cape instead of a dress.

The skirt was self drafted- if I’m making a dirndl or circle skirt, you can bet I’ve drafted it myself. (Comment below if you want to see tutorials!) I made a basic circle skirt (with pockets) out of a gorgeous green taffeta I had in my stash that had been sitting around for years, waiting for the right project. The zipper came from my stash too, so I ended up not paying anything out of pocket for the skirt! I also pulled out my trusty Malco Modes skirt.

The cape was a little more complicated. I wanted to do something special with it. I bought a super basic New Look pattern for a cape and used the hood pattern piece from McCall’s 5534 (it’s out of print, but if you can find it it’s a super cute hooded bathrobe pattern). I bought a cream and green plaid and a black textured fabric, and made the cape fully reversible. I also made little ears and sewed them to the black hood. Why? So I could turn into a bear, of course! It was lightweight, easy to wear, and added just the right touch to the outfit.

I paired the skirt with a cream colored lace top from Forever 21 and a brown leather belt from…someplace. Walmart, maybe? I’ve had it since college, so who knows. The boots were bought at TJ Maxx after a long, nearly fruitless search. Really, why is it so hard to find plain brown lace up ankle boots without zippers and cuffs on them? But I found them at last and paired them with lace trimmed socks folded over the tops. My hair was straightened and I added a pearl circlet headband from Claire’s.

Dapper Day was actually scheduled to be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the fall, but beforehand I needed to go to Magic Kingdom to meet Merida (obviously). It was by far one of the best meet and greet experiences I’ve ever had. Merida was very sweet when I came up, and in order to make things easier (I get weirdly awkward and nervous when I meet characters and I have no idea why) I blurted out “Hey, Merida, I’m dressed like your mum and I can turn into a bear.”

She stopped and looked at me in confusion, and I took off my cape and started flipping it inside out. You can actually pinpoint the moment that she realized what was going on.

It was so great. She adjusted my ears for me and we posed like bears, and then she told me to make my best mum face and scold her (but she kept sticking her tongue out at me). It was a great interaction, and as I was about to leave, she stopped me and with the most sincere expression said “you’re beautiful.” I’m not going to lie, I got a little teary walking away. It was a great moment.

After a few more shenanigans at Magic Kingdom, my friend and I moved on to Studios, where clearly photoshoots had to happen, especially in front of Great Movie Ride.

All in all, it was a really successful (and comfortable!) outfit, and one of the best dapper days I’ve experienced.

Genderbent Kristoff Bjorgman

So I sewed a young Elsa cosplay instead of the ice dress or the coronation dress, right? So of course I’d make one of those next.

Nope.

I made a genderbent cosplay of Kristoff’s outfit from Frozen Fever. As one does.

So I was going to the 24 Hour Day in Magic Kingdom with my friend Carrie and we were debating about what to wear (because of course you have to dress up!) She ended up being the Sven to my Kristoff and it was the most magical thing.

I’m sure you’ll be shocked about which pattern I used- Simplicity 1873! Seriously, so versatile. So great.

I used sportswear fabric (sturdy with a bit of stretch) for both the bodice and the skirt; the skirt is a nice simple A-line. The neckline and armscyes are edged in bias tape rather than a full lining (too hot for that!) and I wore the same blouse I used for my young Elsa cosplay underneath, rather than making the collar and sleeves. The sash was a length of maroon fabric stitched together to make an extremely wide long panel long enough to tie and drape. The best part was busting out the embroidery options on my machine- I never use them, but they worked so beautifully on the bodice. I might have used too much embroidery, actually.

For 24-Hour Day, I wore a pair of black T-strap flats from Blowfish (which were amazing, but I wore them out and I can’t find a replacement pair and ergo am devastated) and my custom made Kristoff bow from Ever After Bowtique. Simple, but effective. I also stuffed my Malco Modes petticoat under there, because of course I did.

I pulled the costume out again for my first Akaicon in 2015. The basic costume stayed the same, but I styled it differently. The biggest change was wearing my pale blonde Arda wig instead of using my own hair; I added a gray knitted beret from Claire’s too. It seemed very Kristoffesque.

I also skipped the simple flats and went with the more Kristoff-appropriate option of gray tights from Target and my black Seychelles Gallium boots (also the same ones from my young Elsa cosplay).

I also eliminated the petticoat and added my eyelet-trimmed Wendy Darling bloomers instead. While I truly love my petticoats, they’re not always necessary, and this cosplay definitely looked cuter and more character-appropriate with just the circle skirt. And look how cute the bloomers are with the lace peeking out under the hem!

I haven’t pulled this one out in a long time, but maybe there’ll be another great time to cosplay as everyone’s favorite weirdo ice harvester

Cinderella’s Rags

Why are these rags so pretty? I’ve always wondered that, even as a kid. Maybe it’s the color combination- the warm golden brown, the chocolate brown, the robin’s egg blue. There’s just something appealing about it.

I decided to make my Cinderella rags cosplay for Not So Scary in 2014. What pattern did I use? If you guessed my trusty Simplicity 1873, you are correct! It’s just the best fit and flare pattern there is. I used all cottons, mostly because I couldn’t find any linens that were the right color. If I ever go back and remake this dress, I’ll use a wider range in fabric textures. The skirt was cut as a half circle and I added pockets- really deep pockets, because if I’ve learned anything from my Not So Scary trips it’s that I NEED POCKETS. I mean, I had my car keys, my phone, and my umbrella in that bitch.

The first time I tried on the bodice, it was too small. This is why I always pin the zipper and test the bodice before I add sleeves or the skirt! Luckily I had enough fabric left to add gores at the sides, and that was all I needed.

The apron was a hemmed rectangle of white cotton pleated onto a waistband (super simple) and I wore black ballet flats from Target and a royal blue ribbon in my hair. My hair was surprisingly easy. I curled my bangs back from my forehead with a 1” curling iron and pinned the perfectly formed curl into place; the rest of my hair was curled, teased, and tied into a low ponytail. I was also very pleased with my makeup (although I can’t remember what products I used!)

I also made a Fairy Godmother costume for my friend Song using the same pattern. The dress was a plain blue, but the short cloak was self drafted. If I remember correctly, the cape part was cut in one circular piece; the cape and hood were both lined in pink and I added the big maroon ties in the front to make the bow.

I wore the Cinderella costume again for Akaicon 2015; I wanted a simple and comfortable cosplay for Sunday so I pulled this one out of retirement. This time I added my beloved Malco Modes petticoat, white gave just enough softness and fullness. My friend Kimberly also took some gorgeous photos of the costume, and my sister lent me her Cinderella mice toys (from a playset I bought her for her sixth birthday!)

Also I got to meet Jason Mardsen in this dress and I got super shy and he was literally the nicest and his chin scruff touched my shoulder when he hugged me and it was the best okay bye.