My husband’s cousin looked so cute in her Maid Cinderella dress (see how I made it here), how could I refuse when she again came to me asking for a Tinkerbell costume? Little Tink has such a lively ensemble, it seemed too much fun to pass up a chance to design a costume based off the spunky sprite!
I started with the skirt. My husband’s little cousin asked for it to poof out a bit (she drew out some super awesome pics of what she wanted — check out the photo below!), so I sewed together seven layers of sparkly green tulle with a matchng silk fabric beneath to keep the tulle from scratching her legs. By cutting the silky bottom layer an inch shorter than the tulle, I kept it invisible yet still effective.
The tulle was a pain to sew together, but the final product looked so good, I couldn’t complain. The next step was the leaves, which ended up taking the longest, but being the simplest. I made my own pattern, which was as easy as tracing the leaves as I wanted them to look and adding a 5/8″ seam allowance. Since the costume was for a play, there was no reason to use complicated fabric — a simple forest green cotton would do (for some reason it looks brownish in the pictures, but it is, in fact, just dark green). Sew two pieces on top of each other, flip them inside out, sew the vein designs on with a lighter colored thread, and you have a leaf.
I attached the leaves to the skirt in two layers with three on the bottom and three on the top. To give them some extra texture and to keep them from lying flat, I bunched them along where they attached to the skirt. The final product looked great! A solid 9 out of 10! I loved all the sparkle! The only thing that could have made it better would have been to add a bit more poof.
My cute little client asked for the bodice to look like the fabric wrapped around her torso. Originally, I planned to do just that — wrap the fabric, sew it to the lining, and make a few well-placed cuts for the zipper. After doing some research though, I decided that it would probably look better to fake the “wrapped” look by gathering a high-sheen fabric around a sturdy lining. I tried it, and it looked great! For the lining, I used the same cotton fabric as the leaves. Cheap, sturdy, and the color matches! Awesome! 10 out of 10!
Putting it Together
Sewing the bodice to the skirt was simple enough, but the invisible zipper had to run all the way from the top of the back halfway down the skirt. Considering that there were seven layers of tulle to attach to the zipper, it got a little tricky, but worked out in the end. For the zipper to actually zip though, I had to leave half of the back leaf unsewn. My husband had the idea to attach the free half of the leaf to some ribbon that would then wrap around the whole dress after his cousin got it on and keep the leaf in place.
It was a good idea, and the ribbon doubles as a way to tighten the waist if it’s too loose!
Part of the commission was for a nude leotard to fit beneath the costume. Since it’s strapless, the leotard keeps everything modest, which is definitely important. Sewing it together was as simple as finding the right fabric and following a pattern. I’ll be the first to admit, though, that it may have been more trouble than it was worth. It turned out great, but the cost of the fabric plus the effort it took to work with the stretchy mesh may not have been a better choice than a $15 leotard from Amazon. Just a thought!
Overall, I think the costume came out with full marks! I can’t wait to see it on my husband’s little cousin! I’ll add some pictures of her in the dress as soon as I have them.