DIY Princess Outfits for Disney World: When you need a comfy alternative to itchy polyester

The countdown is on. We leave for Walt Disney World this Friday!! We had no plans to visit again so soon after our last trip (only a year and a half ago) but grandparents, super cheap accommodations, free transportation, discount plane tickets, and C still getting into the parks for free added up to an opportunity we just couldn’t refuse! This will most likely be our last big family trip for a while, so why not make it a big one? πŸ™‚ For our previous trip I decided to make simple applique shirts for C to wear each day. They turned out super cute, but I had no plans to make shirts again for this trip. Instead I assumed Baby Girl would want to wear a princess costume every day, like all the other two to ten year olds we saw at the parks last time. We even got her Ariel and Tinker Bell costumes for Christmas this year to go along with her Cinderella Halloween costume. The week after Christmas Mom and I found a major score – an Elsa costume priced originally at $62 (??) on sale for $25. We pooled our Kohl’s cash and paid $4!

Thrilled with our purchase I excitedly asked C to try it on to make sure it fit. She wore it for about two minutes before she started bawling, scratching at the shoulders and screaming “Take it off! I don’t like this costume!” Bewildered I took it off her, disappointed and annoyed. The only answer I got when I asked why she didn’t like it was “It has a tag.” I don’t know if the tag was really bothering her or if it was too small or tight or what, but I began to realize that my child may not be as enthusiastic about donning an itchy polyester costume for the day as I thought she’d be. My fears were confirmed when she refused to try on either the Ariel or the Tink costume from Christmas. She loves to look at them, she just doesn’t want to wear them. Well that’s what I get for assuming my two-year-old would prefer fashion over comfort (note to self: Never EVER assume what your toddler’s preference will be. You’d think I’d learned that by now). Anywho, I decided I needed to come up with some alternative “princess wear” for our visit to Disney. After searching Pinterest I found a few ideas that I thought could work. Basically I’d pair a comfy t-shirt type top with knit leggings and skirt in the colors of different princess outfits (blue and white for Cinderella, yellow, navy, and red for Snow White, etc). Unfortunately it proved easier said than done, especially when it came to the skirts. I couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere. But then I found this tutorial for sewing a double layer skirt, and decided it was the perfect solution. I’ll include a note on how I sized the skirts for my tall, skinny toddler, but first I’ll show you the outfits.

I found a plain purple shirt at Walmart ($4.88 I believe) and dressed it up with some lace and ribbon from my stash.

I found this purple floral fabric at Hancocks that just happened to be the exact same shade!

I hemmed it with light pink bias tape, and voila! A perfectly respectable Rapunzel costume. I’ll pair it with some white leggings (since even in Orlando January can be a bit cool) and C will be a perfect princess and comfy all day.

Here’s Snow White, with an applique apple on a navy t-shirt.

I thought about trying to add red ribbons to the sleeves, but couldn’t come up with a way to attach them without it possibly feeling “scratchy” which would defeat the whole purpose of the outfit. I think it looks adorable anyway.

Mom found this Ariel shirt on clearance, and I dug out this teal and aqua chevron print from my stash.

I think it looks sort of like scales, don’t you? πŸ™‚ I’ll pair it with purple leggings.

I’d completely forgotten about this Minnie shirt I’d bought on clearance months ago, before we had even thought about going back to WDW. Charlotte loves Minnie Mouse, and I don’t usually like shirts that are too “character heavy” but I thought this one was just so cute.

Paired with this red and white polka dot skirt with blue trim? Totally adorable. C insists we call this her “Mickey skirt” so he doesn’t get left out. πŸ™‚

This one might be my favorite. Again the skirt fabric breaks my “no huge characters” rule, but when C picked it out at the fabric store I just couldn’t resist.

The topsy turvy, vintage Minnie and Mickey print, the red trim…topped with a jean jacket over the shirt and silver ballet flats? I die.
And of course I just had to do a set of matching family shirts. πŸ™‚

Notice Little Sister gets recognition too! πŸ™‚
And because I just couldn’t resist making one more shirt for C to wear on the plane…

I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures of C actually modeling the outfits. The skirts have elastic waistbands that make it super easy for Baby Girl to pull them on and off herself, a definitely plus for my independent two year old! She’s taken to wearing them around the house, pulling the skirt on over whatever she’s wearing then switching to another skirt a few minutes later. I’m glad she loves them, but it’s been impossible for me to get her to stand still long enough to take a decent picture. I can only hope she’ll be more inclined to pose (and keep the same skirt on) when we are at Disney World (ha…wishful thinking but I’ll post an update with pictures if this dream comes true! :))
I’m not going to post a full tutorial for making the skirt, since I pretty much followed this one completely. It’s got great, easy to follow directions. I highly recommend watching the video tutorial instead of just reading through the written instructions. I did make some adjustments on the size of the fabric and elastic. The author gives the dimensions for a 3-4T skirt, but C wears a 3T normally and the given measurements were way too big for her. I cut the bottom layer for the skirt 38″ by 10.5″ and the top layer 38″ by 7.5.” The finished length was 9″ which hits my (tallish) daughter just above her knee. I cut the elastic at 17″ and overlapped each end about an inch, so I estimate the finished elastic length to be 15″. My daughter is pretty skinny, and it took a couple of tries before I found a fit on the elastic that was tight enough to keep the skirt up without being too tight. Definitely check the fit by just overlapping and pinning the elastic and having your model try it on before you actually sew the elastic and casing closed. I also used 3/4 in elastic rather than the 1in called for in the tutorial since I felt like it was less bulky.
I hope this gives you some fun ideas for an alternative to wearing a costume all day. Or maybe your princess is normal and insists on wearing her royal polyester duds all day every day! πŸ™‚ I’m sure C will go through that stage eventually, but until then I’m pretty happy with this solution. Bring on the most Magical Place on Earth!

10 thoughts on “DIY Princess Outfits for Disney World: When you need a comfy alternative to itchy polyester

  1. Super cute & a great solution. While your kid is still young, it may be that she has what is called “sensory defensiveness.” I have a 9yo w/it & clothing can be a challenge. (Every day would be pants & shoes optional, if she ran the world.) She also just might be a toddler who grows out of it. I found having a name helped me understand it. I think it made me more patient, knowing this was actually a thing & not just my kid being a diva or something. She has a higher threshold for clothing if things are good. If she's already in a mood, nothing works. We've learned this, and now I can say to her, “I don't think anything is going to work for you, go find something that doesn't bother you at all.” (Usually some kind of t-shirt dress.) Just thought I'd throw that out there, since your description of what bugged her sounded very familiar. πŸ™‚


  2. I can't even imagine walking around Disney World, let alone riding rides, in one of those polyester glittery princess gowns. I love what you did! I'm hoping to do something similar for my 7 year old this fall when we go.


  3. Thanks Brenna! I made them myself! I googled the images I wanted, printed them onto cardstock, cut them out, and traced around the pattern onto fusable webbing. Iron the webbing onto fabric, cut it out, then iron it onto the shirt. I went the extra step and stitched around each applique also. It's a really easy way to personalize any shirt! πŸ™‚


  4. I'm so glad I came across this page. I was trying to find a simple DIY princess costume for my almost 2 year old to wear to a party. I ended up making the Snow White one, I added red rick rack to the sleeves but other than that, it looks exactly the same. I think I even ended up with the same yellow fabric for the skirt. I then showed this page to my 4 year old and she is excited for me to make a bunch of princess outfits now. We live a few hours from Disney World so we take long weekends there a few times a year and these will be great for her and her little sister, who both love to be princesses but also hate to wear those itchy scratchy dresses for more than a few minutes!


  5. Oh this makes me so happy! I'm so glad we had an alternative to polyester princess dresses on our trip to Disney, and I love that you will be able to get so much use out of your outfits! We are going back next spring to WDW for my daughters' birthdays (two and five) and I will definitely be making some more outfits for them (if I can find time.) πŸ™‚


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