I am not a seamstress. I have a sewing machine and I can sew in a straight line, that’s pretty much it. I’ve made a few things, but nothing that I’m a hundred percent happy with, and after more than a few bungled efforts on expensive fabric (chiffon, I’m looking at you), I now save most of my sewing for making minor repairs or alterations.That’s why, when I missed out on winning the 2015 Cinderella dress, I decided that if I ever wanted to cosplay as Ella, I had to save up and pay for the dress to be made.
I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions in the Disney Cosplayer Facebook group* before finally settling on Cosrea.
The reason I went with them was because they included a hoop skirt with their gown, along with offering custom measurements and shipping for no extra cost. I ordered this dress (which didn’t, as it says now, include gloves – which was fine because Ella doesn’t wear gloves in the 2015 film).
I included my custom measurements and the date of my event, which was Oz Comic Con in September. I received confirmation straight away, and then a notification to say that my dress had been shipped less than two weeks later. This was super impressive because I’d been worried it wouldn’t arrive before the con.
I was actually terrified when I arrived home to the package. At $135 USD when the exchange rate wasn’t great, I felt I could either have gotten a bargain gown or fairly ripped off. But the dress was really well made, lovely stitching and quite good quality fabric. The butterflies around the bertha (the ruffled neckline) were probably the cheapest looking part of the dress, outwardly.
My dress is a little short when I’m wearing heels (which you can see in the spinning picture above), but that’s my fault! I didn’t have my glass slippers when I did my measurements, and I didn’t do my length measurement in any shoes at all. The next time round, I’ll be adding quite a few inches to the bottom to compensate for both the lift with heels and the lift of the hoop skirt.
The hoop skirt is my next not-so-great part of the dress. This was very cheaply constructed and before the end of one day of wearing it at OCC, the hoops had started to come out of the fabric in several parts of the skirt. Before my next con, I pulled all the hoops out, reinforced all the stitching and then painstakingly stitched them back in. If I was going to wear this dress as a party princess, I would 100% be investing in a more heavy-duty hoop skirt.
When I ordered, at the start of August 2015, there was no option for boning in the corset/bodice of the dress, and I couldn’t choose the dress closure either. If I’d been given the option — and in fact, I’m going to buy another dress from them soon — I would go for the combination corset tie/zipper back with boning in the bodice of the dress. The bodice itself is fine without the boning, but I have a feeling I would get more support with the boning.
The zipper was honestly the worst part about this dress. It was white, which didn’t blend very well with the beautiful blue dress, but it was also sewn in unevenly which meant that the zipper wouldn’t connect properly. The last thing was that the first time I was zipped into the dress, it split all the way down the back and wouldn’t go back together.
However, I could not fault Cosrea’s customer service. I wrote them to tell them I loved the dress, but it was unwearable because of the zipper and they offered for me either to send the dress back for repair or to refund the cost of me getting it repaired here in Australia. With my event only a couple of weeks away, I chose to have it repaired here and the refund came through quickly after I sent them a receipt. It was excellent service.
The zipper issue isn’t an isolated one either; my friend bought a beautiful Rapunzel dress from them as well and had the exact same problem. She also didn’t find that their shipping or communication was as prompt as mine.
The only other thing to note is that while the skirt is quite full when upright, it’s not as full sitting down. That’s actually fine by me as I usually drive myself to cons and this was hard enough to fit into the driver’s seat!
I recommend any cosplayers lacking sewing skills consider the Cosrea dresses, but order in plenty of time before your event, especially if you go with the zipper option. It is a good budget option, which allowed me to spend more money on my wig and shoes than I otherwise would have been able to.
Have you bought a cosplay before? Where from and what was your experience like? Do you have an amazing seamstress to recommend to me? Make sure you let me know in the comments below.
All photos in this post were taken by Pandom Images