A Wind Waker Halloween Costume Journal (Princess Zelda): Dress

Man, long absences all over the place. Well, my excuse this time is that I got married (I know I still need to do more posts about that…) and went to Burning Man and thought that we were moving, but we haven’t yet. Which means another Halloween with my friends! Yay. It’s not that long until Halloween, at least in the complicated costume-making realm, but a friend of mine said she was going to be pajama Link from Wind Waker. I jokingly said I’d be Zelda, when another friend piped up that she wanted to be Tingle. Yep. Tingle. Then we got a Ganon, and were good to go.

By the way, this is a long post. If you just want to look at the pictures… I try to caption them so they get the info across and you don’t have to slog through my incredibly wordy prose. So read on, skim on, however you choose to experience it.

I thought about doing Twilight Princess Zelda because she’s so cool, but that would take a TON of time to do right. Wind Waker has the benefit of being simple shapes without too much in the way of armor, jewels and other fiddly bits. The big issues with this iteration of Zelda is keeping the lines really clean (Twilight Princess has visible seam lines, but Wind Waker is super cartoony and not very detailed) and bright. I considered using a stretch jersey for the top because of this, but ultimately went with an imitation linen. I know, real linen’s better, but it’s short notice, and I certainly wasn’t going to use shiny prom fabric. This is another benefit to not going for Twilight Princess — that Zelda really needs nice silks and linens to read well, I think.

My next decision was whether to include side seams on the top. It scoops down toward the back, so I considered just adding some grommets and adjusting the waist that way. This eliminates seams and makes it all one piece, but also creates funky wrinkles that don’t mesh well with the smooth cartoon look. Plus, it’s not super flattering and to me looks a little sloppy. I could also leave it loose, sort of like a scarf-shirt halter thing. This would create the blocky torso that the toon has, but I still want to look good. So I went with side seams, contouring them to eliminate the need for front darts. I kept the grommets in the back, though; a zipper looks too anachronistic to me.

Also: I ended up changing the shape of the back bodice. I sacrificed complete accuracy for utility, creating a scoop down instead of a tank top with wide armholes that is easier to fit, easier to put on, more flattering and easy to wear with a single button-tab closure. Forgive me, internet. If I were using stretch fabric I probably would have been more accurate… I might change the bodice for a future iteration, perhaps reverting to the stretch jersey after all. Or even a hot pink camisole.

The shape is just two squares on the side of a square with angled top edges. I should have done a facing, but the linen was so easy to hem that I just double-folded it.


The skirt is a simple long A-line. I thought about going poofy poofy princess, but in the game her skirt doesn’t look that crazy. Even Toon Zelda is a little more on the elegant side, I guess. It falls perfectly from my hips without any buttons or snaps, which I love, but I do have to wrestle it over my chest a bit to put it on. I did add a tulle underskirt, just a quick-and-dirty A-line to give it a little bit of oomph. I cut the A-line the full width of the fabric (which made it several inches too long), then folded up the bottom edge and gathered it into the rest of the skirt to add a little more oomph to the bottom edge. Pictures might help this.

My skirt is too long an A-shaped! What shall I do?

My skirt is too long an A-shaped! What shall I do?

Fold it up to the right length.

Fold it up to the right length.

Then fold it back down.

Then fold it back down.

Then, run a gathering stitch along the sides (I tacked my seams to themselves first to keep them lined up) and gather to fit. Now it's got a poofy ruffle at the bottom!

Then, run a gathering stitch along the sides (I tacked my seams to themselves first to keep them lined up) and gather to fit. Now it’s got a poofy ruffle at the bottom!

Is this the best way to do this? I don’t know, but it was easier than sewing on a new ruffle, in my opinion. Plus, I can wear the ruffly part to the inside for a smoothly poofed look on the outside.

For the shawl I just traced a scarf I already have and rounded the corners. It’s a mock scarf;  I folded the scarf into a triangle like I was going to wrap it around my shoulders, traced that, cut two and sewed them together. The reason for this is that it’s easier for me than double hemming a rounded edge, and because the faux linen drapes really well but it a little bit see-through and I wanted to give it some heft. I thought about cutting a curve into the neck to make it follow my body better, but the straight edge made some nice drapes that look like the artwork.

Some Zeldas treat the wrap like a shawl or prom-style wrap, falling off the shoulder. I decided against this because of the low back and form-fitting bodice; I didn’t want to sex Zelda up too much. Especially Toon Zelda!

The store didn’t carry linen in the color I wanted, so I grabbed some petal pink dye and lightly dyed the white. I always forget to dye the fabric before making the pieces. But that’s OK, I overbought on white fabric a little and it’s good to dye only the amount needed. Unfortunately, there’s a few dark pink spots… sigh. They’ll mostly be covered by the tabard and zig-zag embellishment anyway, I think.

I’ll do a little more shaping around the bust, probably putting cups in, to avoid the squashed look. But overall I’m pleased with this, and if I can get the jewelry right it’ll be a great costume!


This shot doesn't have the underskirt in it... I'll fix it later, but the underskirt picture turned out really badly.

This shot doesn’t have the underskirt in it… I’ll fix it later, but the underskirt picture turned out really badly.


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