Research: Frozen Undergarments

Anna and Hans

I am a sucker for Disney movies. I’m even more of a sucker for Musical Theater. Disney’s Frozen had such a perfect mixture of the two that it’s no wonder I loved it! When I first watched Frozen I immediately fell in love with Anna. She’s just so sweet and sincere and has an innate sense of trust and that’s something I love! I guess I also have the sense of trust because like Anna I trusted Hans to be the hero he claimed to be. While Hans ended up betraying Anna (and me!) I still loved his character. So after watching Frozen again and again and again I was finally able to convince Jeremy to cosplay the Hans to my Anna! So I decided to make the outfits from my favorite song in the show ‘Love is an Open Door’!

I’ve said this before, but one of this things I love about Disney films is how they are historical and still fantastical all at the same time. It becomes really interesting as a costumer to try to recreate something that is accurate to the historical period but also accurate to the show.

So let’s begin with Anna’s Coronation outfit and the garments she would have worn underneath her gown. While it isn’t official what time period Frozen was set in it’s assumed that it is set in Norway around 1835-1845.  We can assume this by comparing dresses from that era to dresses in the movie. We can see that many of the ball gowns worn to Elsa’s coronation look much like the ones shown below. They have large layered skirts, corseted tops and poofy sleeves off the shoulder.

During this time many undergarments were worn. They include; A Chemise, Corset, Multiple Petticoats, Occasionally a Bustle Pad, Pantaloons and Stocking. While Anna wears most of these, though she is not wearing a Chemise under her gown since the gown has the more modern twist of straps rather than full sleeves and she probably is not wearing a bustle pad.

Since Anna is not wearing a chemise we can begin by looking at the corset. Corsets in the 1840′s were made of cotton, which appears to have been quilted sometimes, probably for stability or have cording. They generally had steel or ivory bones, they also had a busk made of either wood or bone. They had gores on both the hips and bust. In the 1830′s-40′s corsets were beginning to transition more towards what people generally think of when they think ‘corset’. This meant more support and and smaller waists. These corsets had busks in the front and were laced up the back. Some examples bellow show American made corsets with heavy embroidery. If I get bored and decided I want to torture myself I will probably end up embroidering my corset. While I want to make my corset as historically accurate as possible I will need to make some changes so it will be extra sturdy and look good under my bodice. So I will be making my corset with 2 or 3 layers of fabric – the outer fashion fabric (Cotton or Satin), the inner structural fabric (Coutil) and the innermost fabric (Cotton). This will give the corset more structure and give more material for the quilting/boning/cording to hold onto. I also might not have a busk in the front as this could add too much bulk under my bodice. While I generally draft all my own patterns I may be ordering a historical pattern for this corset, since I want it to be as accurate as possible. Here are a few patterns that I might use.

Worn under the corset would be a pair of pantaloons also called drawers. These like the corset would have been made of cotton. 1830′s pantaloons had a drawstring waist band and most interestingly had an open crotch. To be honest I do not know why, though I can only assume it’s to make it easier for the wearer to use the restroom. During ‘First Time in Forever’ we can clearly see the bottom of Anna’s pantaloons and we see that they have a scalloped hem, an example I found on The Laced Angel had a very similar hem line, while lace rather than scallops it looked very similar. This is the pair I will be basing my pantaloons after. They have pin tucking at the bottom of the legs (I assume just for decoration, but I like it anyway) and darts along the waist, 2 in front and 10 in back. My pantaloons will be made almost exactly like these (yes, including the open crotch).

Finally comes the petticoats (Yes multiple!)! In the 1830′s they did not wear hoop skirts (or else I would cause I LOVE my hoop), generally they wore corded petticoats. These petticoats were again made of cotton and have rows and rows and rows of cording around the skirt. Starting at the hem the cording is very close together but as you get closer to the waist line the rows of cording become more and more separated. Over this petti went another two cotton petti this time without the cording. Sometimes these pettis were sheer or had lace on them. In Frozen we can again sometimes see Anna’s petti so we can see that there is a lace hem and that it looks like she’s wearing one maybe two pettis at max. One that is white with the scalloped hem (probably the corded Petti) and another that is light green, without cords, probably to protect the skirt and to make it so you don’t see the petti through the skirt. For sake of time and sanity I will probably only make one petticoat maybe two, but for sure not three. Over top of these petticoats was sometimes a bustle pad. This is basically a pillow that sits over the petticoats to give more poof or to give the allusion of a larger butt. This is something that I may or may not add to Anna. If I do it will be written about when I make it.

And lastly Anna is wearing white stockings. And that’s all the undergarments for Anna!
Hopefully in the next few days I’ll have information up on her main dress as well as a base pattern for it!

I hope this was helpful and I can’t wait to get started on all these undergarments!

Comments

  1. Bob Roberts says:

    This is fascinating. I hope you post more about it soon.

    Also, I would love love LOVE to see your process of making the Hans coronation outfit (and its undergarments). I have a young son who wants to wear that for Halloween and I need to get sewing. Seeing how a professional does it would help augment my meager skills.

    [And if you're willing to sell a pattern for Hans's coronation outfit, especially if I could scale it small, I'd be all over it.]

    Your blog is fantastic. I’m glad Frozen led me here. Thanks!

    • Hello! Welcome to my blog! (:
      When I do start making these I will for sure be posting my progress! I’m sure your son will be adorable! I am no where near a professional but I’m glad my blog can be of help!
      Sadly I probably won’t be selling patterns for these, mostly because I often do my patterning as I am sewing.
      Good luck on your son’s costume! I’d love to see it when you’re done!
      -Eli

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