For years I’ve seen Jim Shore’s Disney Traditions figures and thought they were beautiful– they’re still Disney, but very unique compared to the original character designs, with intricate patterns and painting-like elements. When my friend showed me the series that this Ariel design was from, I was immediately hooked and knew I had to cosplay it. Having the boat scene from the movie stitched into the skirt sounded like such a fun challenge.
Ariel’s pink ballgown is like any other princess dress I’ve made, with three main elements: Bodice, poofy sleeves, and a giant skirt. My main fabric was Casa’s matte satin in Peachskin, along with a variety of polycotton colors for everything else. The major part of this dress, the front panel with the boat scene, required a long and drawn out applique process that I had already gained experience doing from past cosplays (Zelda + Aya). The basics of that are to heat-fuse fabric with a product called Heat N’ Bond, that turns whatever you’re working with into an iron-on material. I did this for every little part of the “painting,” from the ripples in the water to Ariel and Eric’s fingertips. After everything was ironed on to my base panel, I satin stitched (embroidered) over each part to give an outline to the overall look.
So for most of my princess characters, like Ariel, I’ll carry around a little wicker basket to put my phone/wallet in. When someone comes up and asks for a photo at a con, I’ll take said basket, pick up the edge of my giant hoop skirt, and hide it underneath– it’s basically free real estate for anything I’m carrying, picture-takers will usually get a kick out of that. While wearing Ariel at this past Anime Weekend Atlanta, one girl brought her whole groups of friends over to show how I hid my basket which was pretty entertaining for me.
The cosplay community is my go-to when looking for new friends to make or a group of good people to hang out with. Throughout high school, college, and now post-college when the majority of my time goes to my job, having an outlet both online and at these conventions to be socially active was/is extremely important to me, since it’s honestly hard for me to meet new people outside of cosplay. I met some of my best friends, my boyfriend, and a plethora of other friendly faces through this hobby, and I’m forever grateful for the kindness and support they’ve all given me. Of course, I have a couple people that I’ve grown up with outside of cosplay, but overall I think I would be very lonely without this community.
Link / Originally posted in 2019