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Sew a Vanellope von Schweetz running costume for runDisney

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Sew a Vanellope von Schweetz running costume for runDisney
I ran into Wreck It Ralph himself around mile 10 of the runDisney Wine and Dine half-marathon and had to stop for a photo

I ran into Wreck It Ralph himself around mile 10 of the runDisney Wine and Dine half-marathon and had to stop for a photo. (Yes, it's a dorky pose. I should have practiced Vanellope-like poses before the race.)

My family loves runDisney races! With the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend coming up at the end of the month in Walt Disney World, I thought I’d (finally) share the running costume I made for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend in November because my costume-making posts are the most popular posts on this site. It will give you tips for making your own Vanellope von Schweetz running costume if you want to be Vanellope from the Disney movie Wreck It Ralph.

(Read my Queen Elinor running costume post here and my post about runDisney for the whole family here.)

Vanellope von Schweetz makes a great model for a runDisney costume because she's all about speed and she's cute too

Vanellope von Schweetz makes a great model for a runDisney costume because she's all about speed and she's cute too

Making Vanellope’s top

I had some leftover wicking fabric from my Queen Elinor running costume, and it was even the perfect shade for Vanellope’s top. Vanellope wears a long-sleeve hoodie, but I knew running in that would make me too hot. So I opted for a sleeveless top. I also chose not to sew on a hood because it would flop up and down the entire race.

Vanellope’s top started with tracing a loose, comfortable top of my own.

Trace a running shirt to make a pattern for a new top

Trace a running shirt to make a pattern for a new top

In two layers, I cut about a half-inch away from the sides and top so there would be room for the seams and for finishing the edges. I cut the top longer on the bottom, though, because of Vanellope’s look.

It’s best to make the front pocket before sewing the front of the top to the back. I simply measured the top, deducted a couple inches from the width and cut out a trapezoid shape for the pocket. Turn the edges under and sew to finish the edges, then attach the pocket with some top-stitching.

Attach Vanellope's front hoodie pocket with some top-stitching

Attach Vanellope's front hoodie pocket with some top-stitching

Vanellope’s pocket is decorated with some pinkish-red stitching, but I ran out of time to do that step. Whoops! A few passes of the needle with embroidery floss would probably do the trick.

Sew the top together at the shoulder seams, then the side seams. Then finish the bottom hem, and neck and arm openings by turning the edge under and sewing in place. Now you have a top!

Making Vanellope’s skirt

The skirt is cute because it looks like two peanut butter cups stacked on top of each other. What I came up with was a two-tiered skirt with pleats and attached undies — essentially, a fancy running skort.

I couldn’t find good brown sports fabric, so I used regular stretch knit fabric.

I started by making a yoke for the skort. This is so the layers of pleats don’t start at the waist, but farther down the way Vanellope’s skirt does. Tracing a running skort I own worked well.

The top portion of a running skort folded in half makes a pattern for Vanellope's skirt yoke

The top portion of a running skort folded in half makes a pattern for Vanellope's skirt yoke

I cut two on the fold this way to make a pattern for the yoke. Then I sewed the two together.

For the bottom part of the skort, I traced the bottom of my own, cut two and sewed up the sides.

Make a pattern for Vanellope's skirt by tracing a running skort you own

Make a pattern for Vanellope's skirt by tracing a running skort or short skirt you own

I wish I’d photographed how I made the pleats. I probably didn’t because I am not a pleat person. I don’t like to wear them, and I don’t like to make them! I cut strips of fabric twice as wide as the actual skirt, then sewed the ends together to make a circle.

Because I didn’t have a pattern, I pinned the sewn-together pleat strip in equal spacing to the two sides of each skort layer (the yoke and the bottom of the skort). Then I pinned the strip in between each of those sides in equal spacing so that now the strip was pinned to the skort layer in four places equally distant from the others. I pinched and folded the fabric in small sections to make the pleats in each of the four areas along the layer. (I had to redo some of the pleats to make them even. See why I hate pleats?!) After both layers of the skort had a pleat strip pinned to them, I sewed the pleats in place.

Make two layers of Vanellope's skirt, with pleats

Make two layers of Vanellope's skirt, with pleats

Baste the shorter, yoke layer to the longer layer, with the longer layer on the bottom. Now it looks like Vanellope’s skirt!

For the attached undies, I used — you guessed it — a pair of my undies to trace. (And here they are for the world to see.)

You can trace a pair of your underwear to make a pattern for your sports skort

You can trace a pair of your underwear to make a pattern for your sports skort

I should have added some extra room at the top of the undies to make it easier to manage later…. Keep reading…. Sewing the crotch seam and side seams was a snap.

Just a few short seams, and the undies of the sports skort are done

Just a few short seams, and the undies of the sports skort are done

Then it’s time to sew the undies into the skirt to make it a skort. This is one place where you don’t sew right sides together. The outer part of the undies will face the inner part of the skirt.

Also, if your undies don’t come up to your waist — mine didn’t — keep this in mind when you pin and sew them to your skirt, and place the undies in the position that’s most comfortable to you. This is is why I say I should have added more to the top of my undies pattern when I traced my underwear. Longer undies would have let me pin the undies right in line with the waistband. Because the top of your skort will come up only as far as your undies allow. But hey, if you want a super-low-rise running skort, you’ve got it easy!

Sew through the layers of Vanellope's skort

Sew through the layers of Vanellope's skort

Next, it’s time to add the waistband. I folded over the top edge of the skort to the inside and sewed it in place, creating a “tunnel” where elastic would go. Then I measured my waist, cut a length of elastic and threaded it through the tunnel with a safety pin. Sew the ends of the elastic together or tie them in a knot to finish.

I didn’t finish the edges of the pleats or the undies because the knit material doesn’t fray much.

Making Vanellope’s accessories

Vanellope has two different candy-stick legs that are fun to create. Luckily, I found a pair of colored tights at Target that were just the right color. Then I picked up some wide white ribbon and narrow purple ribbon to create the stripes, and just glued them on. The white-striped leg I wrapped around in a spiral. (I could have angled it even more than I did.) The purple- and white-striped leg required me to make a few separate circles of ribbon, the purple glued to the white.

Glue ribbon onto green tights or leggings to make Vanellope's candy-striped legs

Glue ribbon onto green tights or leggings to make Vanellope's candy-striped legs

There is a problem with making the legs this way: The glue seeps through the tights and onto your skin. It was tricky to get the tights off, but they held up without a hole or run when I peeled them off my legs. The lowest circle of purple and white, though, was smaller than my foot was wide, and I had to cut the ribbon to get the tights off. That was all right because I just glued the ribbon back on before the race.

This leads me to an important point of making a running costume: Definitely try it on before you leave home for the race, and see if you can run in it comfortably. Yes, you will look silly running in a costume when you’re not at Disney, but that’s better than running 13.1 miles (or 26.2 or 10 or 6.2 or 3.1) in a costume that is uncomfortable or falls apart when you run.

On to the hair….

One of the best things about Vanellope is her hair candy. And it really makes the outfit. It’s easy to make, too.

I decided to make most of the candies out of polymer clay from a craft store.

Make Vanellope's hair candy by rolling out polymer clay from a craft store and using a small circular item, like a cake decorator tip, to make circles

Make Vanellope's hair candy by rolling out polymer clay from a craft store and using a small circular item, like a cake decorator tip, to make circles

Use a candy mold to make Vanellope's hair candy with polymer clay

Use a candy mold to make Vanellope's hair candy with polymer clay

I did cheat on the gummy bears — those were real, and I put spray varnish on them before gluing them to hair pins.

When the hair candy has hardened, glue onto hair pins or small barrettes or combs

When the hair candy has hardened, glue onto hair pins or small barrettes or combs

Vanellope uses a licorice rope to tie her hair into a ponytail. You want to hear a sad story? I bought something for this on Etsy, and then I lost it. It was a length of upholstery trim, held in place with a small, clear elastic. Brilliant! I didn’t have time to duplicate it, so without it, I ended up taking three or four red and silver pipe cleaners and twisting them together (for bulk) to make my licorice ponytail holder.

runDisney Vanellope is done!

If you can add a pair of black running shoes, your runDisney Vanellope outfit will be complete. (I didn’t get to break new shoes in first, so I didn’t have black shoes.)

I'm Vanellope von Schweetz! (if she were running a half-marathon)

I'm Vanellope von Schweetz! (if she were running a half-marathon)

I got the chance to meet Minnie at the race

I got the chance to meet Minnie at the race

runDisney races start with fireworks!

runDisney races start with fireworks!

After 13.1 miles

Vanellope after 13.1 miles -- at the runDisney finish line! Do I look exhausted or what? That's OK, it was a PR for me.

Running as Vanellope was so fun. I saw only one other Vanellope, but there were probably more. It was really helpful when volunteers recognized me and cheered me on, “Go, Vanellope!”

Wearing a costume in runDisney races isn’t required, but it definitely adds to the Disney magic.

I’d love to hear about your running costume making adventures or questions!

  1. Wow nice work, there’s always something so satisfying about creating a costume yourself. I especially love the hair accessories, great idea putting the varnish on the gummy bears to keep them from being sticky, I would never have thought of that!

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