Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Up-Close and Personal with Merida (Brave)

Seeing as how EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER wants to be Merida for Halloween this year (which I think is totally the greatest thing ever btw), I wanted to toss out an up-close look at how I made my Merida costume.  As always, feel free to comment, email or tweet me any questions on the process.

Also, check out my Etsy listing for your own custom Merida costume including under dress, over dress, belt and free goodies! (I also offer special orders for the full dress and wig set)

I'm going to start this breakdown with a bit of a rant.  Anyone who follows me on Twitter or knows me personally has heard this already, but I want to reiterate it for those of you who have not yet made the mistake:


I apologize if it comes off harsh, but there are a frightening number of people out there who are still convinced that her archery/lounge dress is green and it most definitely is not.

To those who may wish to argue this with me, here's how I know it's blue:

1)  Observe the following still from the film:

that sure looks like blue to me, you?

2)  Observe the following character doll approved and released by Disney:

I'm pretty sure Disney's been doing this long enough to not release a doll with the wrong color dress...

3)  At the Comic-Con 2012 Brave panel, an audience member asked the panel of creators what color Merida's archery dress is.  Their answer?  Navy Blue.

I will acknowledge to a slight green tint in a few photos, but her dress is most definitely NOT forest green like it is being depicted by so many cosplayers.  PLEASE, COSPLAYERS, DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!


Now that that's out of my system, on to the breakdown:

I started with the under dress.  I've seen a number of people create Merida's dress as one solid piece, which doesn't look terrible, but I like to strive for accuracy and since you can see that she has 2 separate layers on in many shots, I decided to do it a little different.

For the "bodice" part of the dress, I used the Under Dress A pattern from Simplicity 2573:

BUT, I replaced the sleeves of the dress with the B/C/D sleeves from Butterick B5008:

Merida's under dress has ruffles on the sleeve cuffs and neckline

I sewed the dress as instructed minus the neckline ruffles.  Then I sewed the sleeves with two alterations: I closed the wrist cuff so it made a small tube, leaving a space open for elastic and I folded the ruffles in half because the pattern calls for them to be too long.

Next I added the sleeves to the dress.  Once everything was lined up, I cut the sleeves to fit the shape of the dress and added the neckline ruffles and elastic:

Once that was complete, I moved on to the over dress.  For this, I used Butterick B4827:

For this part, I started by basically just following the pattern, except I left the sleeves off and closed up the sleeve edges:

I also added a little block to the middle of the upper edge lining in preparation for the opening later.

For the sleeves, I sewed them together so they fit and then lined out where I wanted to cut them.  I cut both sleeves into two pieces and used the sections I had cut out to make the little straps between the sleeve sections.

I attached those to the sleeve opening on the dress and cut the opening in the front:

In the film, Merida has lacing holding the opening in the front closed, so I poked a few holes and strung a little extra leather lacing through:

The belt was very easy.  I used the belt pattern included in Butterick B4827 with a brown faux leather.  Once the belt was sewed and clasps attached, I overstitched the edges with about 5 strands of a very dark brown thread to create the look from the movie.

The final step was to style my wig.  For my costume, I curled a straight orange wig I bought off eBay.  Stay tuned for that tutorial.

For shoes, I purchased a pair of brown leather flats from Payless and wore a pair of white stockings.  In some images, Merida's shoes look like flats and in others they look like boots, but they are definitely brown leather and she wears white stockings under her dress.

Hope y'all find this helpful!  Feel free to ask questions or send me pics of your version! :)

CosPlay with me


  1. wow,you are great, I like the Cosplay costume very much.

  2. I love your Merida cosplay! I'm doing Merida as well, and using the same pattern, but I'm having difficulty putting the back together >.< Could you please post a picture of the back of the dress? Thank you!