Tuesday, September 11, 2018

"Dresses of Arendelle" - A Frozen-Inspired Quilt

I'm so happy to share the second of three super meaningful quilts I made over the summer! It gave me SO much joy to find out that one of my oldest, closest friends was expecting her first baby (plus, this is the first of my friends to have a baby, so cue the excitement). Throughout my teens, this was that one friend that I talked with excitedly about growing up together, bringing our babies in carriers as we potentially meet up for coffee in 15 years' time.

Once we had squealed about the pregnancy for quite a while, Julie revealed her plans for a Frozen-themed nursery. She was thinking about asking me to make a quilt based on a picture that I have actually already made a quilt from (she didn't know!!). I told her it would be difficult to do on a larger scale, so she gave me free reign to come up with a Frozen-inspired design. I was secretly happy because I don't typically make quilts twice, and free reign is invigorating.

And then it hit me, pretty quickly. Like one of Elsa's icy blasts. Why not make a quilt based on three of the gorgeous, ornate, brightly-colored dresses from the movie? Here are some good pictures of the three actual dresses: here, here, and here. The pinks in the top and bottom quilt panels serve as the capes that accompany those two particular ones.

I hopped on Pinterest right away, pinning all kinds of ideas for "rosemaling," which is traditional Norwegian design - usually very flowery, repetitive, and literally on nearly ever surface in the movie (don't forget to come back here and read the rest of this post [there are baby pics at the end!] after you've jumped down that spellbinding Pinterest black hole). Back when the movie first came out on DVD, I sat and doodled motifs spotted on doors, across fireplaces, and on windows. So I used those doodles as a reference, too. Great job, Disney.

Recreating the dresses took quite a bit of sleuthing. It was really difficult to find detailed pictures of the designs from the movie itself, believe it or not. In screenshots, there are so many closeups and moving dresses! So I estimated and made it my own. After hand drawing and cutting out all the pieces, I adhered them to Heat-n-Bond Lite, which I then adhered to three pre-pieced panels.

The best part about this quilt was that it was entirely stash-made; I didn't have to buy any particular colors. I just stretched out what I had and substituted where necessary, and it worked out splendidly. It's in those moments that I'm glad I have a fabric and scrap stash.

 After about 4 hours of closely zig-zag stitching all the pieces down (thank goodness for quilt retreats - that made me get it done!), I excitedly moved onto the basting and quilting phase. This was a great opportunity to quilt in some of the beautiful Scandinavian motifs I had been ogling at for months. Thanks to my friend Jess for encouraging me to really quilt up those backgrounds. For a while I thought about simple quilting (me?!? Simple quilting?) just to let the appliqued designs show off. I definitely would have regretted that.


 Cape details - just like Anna's cape

For the back, I sewed together some pretty Anna Maria Horner fabrics that harmonized well together. Some of these prints felt Scandinavian to me, too.

It was so exciting to present the quilt to July at her baby shower, and now, baby A is here to enjoy it, too!

Pictures by Julie T., used with permission

Just check out these pictures of baby all decked out in Frozen. Can you even handle it? I can't!! I got to meet her last weekend and it was wonderful. :)

I'm so happy to finally share this quilt with the world! I'm sure I'll never make anything quite like this again. It was a really special experience.

Linking up to the Brag About Your Beauties Pageant (a new linky party over at From Bolt to Beauty!)


  1. What a perfectly made gift for your friend and Baby A. It's awesome that you have already been able to meet her, and I am sure that the quilt will be well treasured... and used as a cape among many other fun uses!!!

  2. Absolutely gorgeous. I love both the quilt and the baby. Your quilting is exceptional and I'm sure you had lots of fun exploring all the designs in detail. Congratulations.

  3. Never say never!! It is such a rich and sumptuous quilt I think the next of your friends with a bump will want something just as beautiful. I often think baby quilts can be a bit insipid (I’ve made a few of those!) but this is stunning.

  4. Awesome job, Jess!! All of Baby A's Frozen-loving friends will be quite jealous of her "Auntie Jess" original. :o))

  5. Such lush and gorgeous colors Jess. Your quilting is superb, as always. My granddaughter loves Frozen also.

  6. Gorgeous quilt, Jess! So incredibly thoughtful and special. And OMG that baby is delicious! Welcome to the world, baby A!

  7. I never get tired of looking at this quilt. It has such bold color, interesting details, and fabulous quilting! What a lovely gift!!

  8. What I love about this quilt is that it's a Disney quilt without being a Disney quilt. Like, you need to be a Frozen fan to look at it and see the dress designs it features. So. Darn. Brilliant.

    On a related note: I've never seen Frozen! My nine-year-old balks at the idea of watching a movie with a *princess* in it. I guess it's another viewing of Captain Underpants for me. (SIGH!)

  9. Awesome quilt Jess and exceptionally cute baby.

  10. Your quilt is beautiful and amazing! What a wonderful treasure for your friend. Her baby is completely adorable!

  11. What a wonderful gift of love and friendship--and your design, quilting, colors are amazing! And what an adorable baby--all smiles and sweet little toes. I hope you can visit her often--nothing like snuggling with babies :)


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