Victorian Ariel and Ursula: Accessories

In my last posts I covered how my mum and I made our Victorian Ariel and Ursula dresses, and how I styled the wigs. Today I’m going through the last parts of our costumes – the accessories!

Seashell Broach

As I designed my Victorian Ariel cosplay, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to have a seashell broach to pin at the collar. Ariel’s dress at Disneyworld has a seashell broach, and I knew it would help complete the “look”.

My mum bought a big bag of seashells with the intention of us using them to decorate our hats. I sorted through them and chose a shell that was the right size and was roughly symmetrical. Then I painted it with nail polish! When we went to Walmart to look for paint, I didn’t see any that had the opalescent quality I was looking for. My mum suggested we look at the nail polish selection instead, and I found just what I was looking for! The bottle to the far right of the line up is the one I used for my broach. It’s Sally Hansen’s Color Therapy brand in “Reflection Pool”.

Victorian Ariel Seashell Broach

First, I painted my shell with a coat of a purple nail polish I already had, and then used a tissue to wipe off most of it. This step was repeated with the Reflection Pool nail polish. I hoped that doing this would leave more color in the grooves and give the shell more dimension. However, it didn’t seem to make a noticeable difference in the final product. The shell got two more thick coats of Reflection Pool, and then I let it dry.

Victorian Ariel Seashell Broach
Victorian Ariel Seashell Broach

Given the concave nature of the back of the shell, I had to glue several layers of craft foam to the back to create a flat surface to glue the bar pin to. As a final touch I glued small crystals we had in our stash around the edge of the shell. Once it was all dry, I took a scrap of the lace I used around the hem of the dress and pinned it all at the collar.

Victorian Ariel Seashell Broach

Hats

No Victorian lady was properly dressed without a hat, so we knew that our costumes would not be complete without them. While I would have loved to wear one of the massive hats ladies sometimes wore during this era, it would have looked overwhelming on Ariel. I played around with a hat base we had leftover from Spring Dapper Day, but didn’t love the shape.

Victorian Ariel Hat

This meant, of course, that it was time to ignore my mum’s warning that making hats from scratch is difficult and make a hat from scratch. I started out with a cardboard box we had. A mixing bowl provided the perfect circular template.

Victorian Ariel Hat

Victorian Ariel Hat

Once I had my base, I cut 2 strips of the fabric used to make Ariel’s dress. I actually used a formula calculate the diameter of my circle – I guess math class wasn’t a total waste of time. This number got roughly multiplied by 1.5 – 2 so I would have enough fabric to gather. For both strips I sewed gathering stitches up the sides and roughly gathered the strips down to my diameter measurement. Then I sewed both strips together with a piece of piping in the seam.

Victorian Ariel Hat

Victorian Ariel Hat

With this gathered circle, I placed it around my cardboard and pulled my gathering stitches tight in the center. I had anticipated that this would be all I had to do, but I ended up needing to stitch the fabric to the cardboard to make it even. This bent a needle and resulted in many pricked fingers (luckily I’m not Sleeping Beauty). Finally, I had the fabric lying mostly flat. In order to decorate it, I would need an anchor of sorts. So I cut a circle from the Ariel dress fabric, and created a small poof for the center of the hat. I didn’t bother making it look great because I knew it would be covered up.

Victorian Ariel Hat

Victorian Ariel Hat

I thought that creating the hat base would be the hardest part, but I struggled a lot with the decorations. At first I tried a bunch of different kinds of looped ribbons, but even after hours of fiddling, the hat didn’t look right.

Victorian Ariel Hat

Frustrated, I turned to Pinterest and Google. It turned out that the reason the hat looked wrong was because I hadn’t made the decorations crazy enough. In the 1890s the trend for hats was (by my interpretation) if you could see the hat base, you were doing it wrong. This was the era when women wore whole stuffed birds on their heads. Hat decorations were big, and they were loud.

With this in mind, I ripped off the ribbons I had stitched on the night before. I replaced them with big pieces of fabric that I stitched down to create lots of volume. Then I sewed on lots of ribbons and seashells, and even a “dinglehopper” I painted gold.

Victorian Ariel Hat

While I had stitched on some hair clips, on the day of Supercon it was clear that these clips were insufficient. I ended up having to use multiple safety pins and bobby pins to get the hat attached to my wig. In the future I need to experiment with a better method for wearing it.

Victorian Ariel Hat

I don’t have any making of photos for my mum’s Ursula hat because she made it one night after I had gone to bed.  She used a black place mat from Target, black tulle, black lace, purple taffeta, and a plastic octopus toy. The hat was mainly black, so the details didn’t show up well in most of the photos I took. Here is a detail shot I got that is wonderfully framed with a trashcan in the background.

Victorian Ursula Hat

Ursula Necklace

I didn’t get any photos of the making of our version of Ursula’s necklace, because it only took about five minutes. We found a cameo necklace at Jo-Ann’s. My mum popped out the cameo that was in the center and glued in a picture of a shell. Then she strung it on some black ribbon and called it a day.

Ursula Necklace

Ursula’s Walking Stick

In the Victorian era decorative walking sticks were fashionable. When it came time to make Ursula’s accessories, my mum and I agreed Ursula’s ensemble wouldn’t be complete without a villainous pimp cane walking stick.

We bought some air dry clay and took a wooden dowel from my dad’s wood stash. I love working with clay, so I was really excited about this project. However, this clay was different from the cooking clay that I’m used to. I don’t know if it was because this was cheap kid’s clay, or if air dry clay is just different, or even if it was the humidity. The clay was just sticky and didn’t hold fine details well. It worked fine for my octopus design, but it took some getting used to.

Victorian Ursula Walking Stick

I let the octopus dry overnight, then we spray painted the whole thing black. Once that was dry I painted the octopus with the same nail polish I used for my Ariel broach. Then I glued two tiny pearls on to be eyes. Presto! One Ursula approved walking stick.

Victorian Ursula Walking Stick
Victorian Ursula Walking Stick

Shoes

For shoes, I wore a pair of these Capezio shoes. They were ridiculously comfortable considering they had a low heel and I hadn’t worn them before. I didn’t end up with any blisters and my knees weren’t too sore at the end of the day. My mum wore a pair of historical reproduction boots from American Duchess.

From start to finish, that’s how we put together our Victorian Ariel and Ursula cosplays!

Raleigh Supercon Victorian Ariel
Raleigh Supercon Victorian Ursula
A special thanks to our little helpers, who did their best to sit on the fabric we were using at all times.

Cats on Fabric

Katie and Cat

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