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How to make a Princess running outfit: Queen Elinor

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How to make a Princess running outfit: Queen Elinor
If Brave's Queen Elinor ran in the Disney Princess Half Marathon, she might wear this running outfit! How to sew a running outfit

If Brave's Queen Elinor ran in the Disney Princess Half Marathon, she might wear this running outfit! Did I match the expression on her face? Anyway, here is how to sew a running outfit.

A few weeks ago, I entered my first race — the runDisney Princess Half Marathon. It was a fantastic experience! The Princess Half attracts mostly women, and runners are encouraged to dress up like a princess or other Disney character — even the villains! Of course, no one has to dress up, but because this was my first race, I wanted to get the full experience of it and decided to dress like Queen Elinor, the mother of Princess Merida from last summer’s animated Disney movie Brave.

I could have made it easy on myself and done what so many Princess runners do: Just pull on a tutu and a tiara. Or opt for a more-popular princess that has readily available costumes. But to me, tutus are more for ballerinas, not princesses. And I feel I can connect more with Queen Elinor because we are probably around the same age. I do have some Scottish in me. (My maiden name started with a “Mc.”) We are also mothers who fiercely love our children.

And? Why be a princess when you can be a queen?

I thought it would be easy to find an emerald green tennis outfit for the basic Queen Elinor dress — but no such luck. I looked in stores and online.

I was going to have to do this outfit the hard way.

I ended up buying wickaway fabric from an online fabric retailer that sells performance fabric.

Then it was time to come up with the design.

I knew I wanted to wear a running skort (a pair of shorts with a skirt overlay) and a simple top. I love Queen Elinor’s long, flowing sleeves, but I don’t think that is so good for running. I looked at my pattern stash, and this is how I made my running outfit.

These are the sewing patterns I used to sew the skort shorts, the running top and the sleeves for the running top.

These are the sewing patterns I used to sew the skort shorts, the running top and the sleeves for the running top.

I admit these are older patterns, but the great thing about having a stash of patterns is you can mix and match and rework patterns to fit a design you have in mind!

Except for the pattern I used to make the sleeves, these patterns are sized for stretch knits (important for athletic clothing) and have basic lines, so they are easy to sew.

The running top pattern cut out

The running top pattern cut out

I had never worked with this kind of fabric before. The wickaway fabric was nice to wear, but it sure didn’t like pins while sewing — and I probably should have gotten a needle for my machine that is for this kind of material.

Serging was OK, though.

Serging the seams

Serging the seams

The running top is sewn

The running top is sewn

I didn’t use the sleeve pattern piece from the same top pattern, because I wanted that flowy sleeve. So instead, I shortened another pattern’s sleeve.

Running top sleeves, shortened and cut out

Running top sleeves, shortened and cut out

To shorten a pattern piece, look for horizontal lines that show you where to shorten (or lengthen). I shortened mine quite a bit! Maybe too much. A little more length wouldn’t have bothered me.

(If I want to wear the running top after the Princess Half, I can just pull the stitches out of the armholes for a sleeveless tee.)

For the skirt, I had a pattern that might have worked, but I really wanted to stick with a true sports skort. So I traced a skort of mine.

Use a running skirt to trace and make another. Here, the skirt is folded in half and placed on the fold of the fabric.

Use a running skirt to trace and make another. Here, the skirt is folded in half and placed on the fold of the fabric.

The running skirt is cut out

The running skirt is cut out

The skirt came out in a bell shape. I don’t know how that happened, but it was fixed with a simple trim off the bottom. And a hem.

Sew the skirt sides

Sew the skirt sides

I used a pattern for the little shorts that are on the underside of the skort.

Cut out the shorts for the running skort

Cut out the shorts for the running skort

I could have traced my skort for this, too, but it would have been tricky with the skirt part already attached.

The completed shorts go under the skirt to make the running skort

The completed shorts go under the skirt to make the running skort

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the next step: putting the skirt over the shorts. You baste them together at the waist, then fold the waist over to create a casing (or tunnel) for a piece of elastic, and secure with stitching. Cut a piece of elastic that fits your waist, pull it through the waistline casing (I use a safety pin to do this like many people) and sew the elastic ends together.

(I can’t believe I didn’t take a single picture of this step!)

Then I just had to finish the edges on everything.

With the sewing done for the top and bottom of the outfit, it was time to work on Queen Elinor’s accessories.

Fortunately, the Disney Family site has a Queen Elinor crown craft made out of paper.

The Queen Elinor crown pattern is available on the Disney site. Here is the crown pattern, cut out.

The Queen Elinor crown pattern is available on the Disney site. Here is the crown pattern, cut out.

I knew the crown probably wouldn’t hold up well — and I was right, I accidentally ripped it after the race because it got soggy — but I knew a paper crown would be lightweight, which is important when you’re running. There is a reason most princesses don’t wear real tiaras and opt for plastic ones during the race!

Queen Elinor's crown craft

Queen Elinor's crown craft

The other great thing about making the crown this way is I altered it a bit to add a sweatband to the back of the crown. Since a friend gave me a couple of Sweaty Bands as a gift, I’ve gotten used to wearing something like this when I run. I used leftover wickaway material from making my outfit to make a band — just a rectangle the same length as the crown — that I folded in half and sewed to create a casing for the elastic that would keep the crown on my head — just like a Sweaty Band.

Thread a piece of elastic that fits your head through the sweatband casing

Thread a piece of elastic that fits your head through the sweatband casing

I glued the sweat band in place.

Place a strip of the sports fabric on the back side of the crown to create a sweatband for running.

Place a strip of the sports fabric on the back side of the crown to create a sweatband for running.

Queen Elinor also has a beautiful long, gold chain belt on her emerald gown. I thought of so many ways I could make a belt for my running outfit — but I couldn’t have a long chain swinging back and forth for 13.1 miles.

Then I found the perfect thing: sheets of glittery craft foam that have sticky backs. Essentially, I made Queen Elinor’s belt out of open-circle stickers.

Queen Elinor's belt is made out of open circles of glittery gold craft foam with a sticky back. Here, I used a juice glass and a medicine measure cup to trace circles on the back of the foam.

Queen Elinor's belt is made out of open circles of glittery gold craft foam with a sticky back. Here, I used a juice glass and a medicine measure cup to trace circles on the back of the foam. Then just cut, peel and stick.

I think all but one of those circles stayed on for the entire course. (I also wore a running belt, which probably edged that one circle out of the way.)

Less than a mile to the finish line at the Disney Princess Half Marathon in my Queen Elinor running outfit

Less than a mile to the finish line at the Disney Princess Half Marathon in my Queen Elinor running outfit

I love my Queen Elinor running outfit! I’m not sure if anyone recognized me as Queen Elinor — she is from a new movie, after all, and for most of the movie she has been turned into a bear. Maybe if I sewed a bear hat to put the crown on? And made bear paws to wear? That would have made my head hot, though, and I wouldn’t have been able to use my phone with the paws. The outfit was fun and comfortable and totally worked! And I finished the race with a smile on my face.

  1. I am sure that people knew who you were. Your costume is amazing. Love that you went with a queen and did not stick with a princess. You are a talent and inspiration :)

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