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March 30, 2021

The Making of My First Cosplays: Jovie the Elf Costume

Background and Research

In the 2003 movie Elf, Jovie appears in two different elf costumes.  The one she is seen in most the department store elf costume from her job at Gimbel's.  This costume is what you would think of as a typical red and green elf outfit.  The second costume she wears is only shown in the ending scene where she and Buddy visit Papa Elf with their baby.  It is pink, red and white.

As the companion costume for Buddy, I chose to do the second costume even though she is seen in it for only a few minutes at the end of the movie.  I did this for two reasons.  First, this is supposed to be part of a couples costume.  The pink costume is what she wears after she and Buddy actually become a couple and are (presumably) married with a baby.  The department store elf costume is worn when she and Buddy have not yet hooked up.  Second, I feel that stylistically, the pink one looks better when paired with the Buddy costume, and is what a "real" elf (at least in the context of the movie) would wear.  On the other hand, the first costume in the context of the movie is the stereotypical department store interpretation of elf attire.

Replicating the Dress and Accessories

The Costume Elements

  1. Pink long-sleeved, skater style dress, likely made of fleece, trimmed with approximately 2 inches of fur at the collar, cuff, and skirt
  2. Red leather belt with silver buckle
  3. Cone hat with red trim
  4. Red embroidery at the collar
  5. A silver/shimmery organza underskirt
  6. Red tights/leggings and red leather elf shoes



The Dress

I compromised on this and purchased a basic pink skater dress in a knit fabric.  I already knew that I wasn't going to want to ever wear a fleece dress in our heat (Texas), especially for a costume that included leggings.  This style of dress is just too easy to buy for cheap, so I decided not to sew it from scratch.  The color and fabric are thus not quite screen-accurate.

The Underskirt

Jovie wears a shimmery, silver underskirt with silver trim.  I replicated this by gathering some silvery/gray organza and sewing it onto the hemline.  I didn't bother with applying a trim on the bottom, and doubled up on the hem to simulate a trim.

The crazy thing about this is that I could not find silver or gray organza or trim to make this.  There's a lot of white (for wedding dresses) and black (because black) available, but not so much in other colors.  While I was searching the internet to find organza, the only thing that was readily available in anything other than black or white was organza gift bags.  Hmm.  That made me recall that over the years, I've received gifts from Amazon where the giver paid Amazon to do the gift wrapping for them.  It used to be that Amazon would actually wrap their gifts in wrapping paper, but nowadays they just throw items into a pre-made gift bag made of....organza. 

Woot!  I had a couple of these bags in silver!

A few minutes and a seam ripper later, I got my underskirt material for free, along with some dark gray non-woven polypropylene material (the stuff they make reusable grocery bags from) that was used to give the bag structure and opacity.  As a side note, I got into sewing cosplay after catching the sewing bug (no pun intended) making masks for the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020.  Non-woven polypropylene can be used to make face masks and mask filters, so perhaps I may use the other part of this gift bag for that someday.  

I cut the organza into about 12" wide strips, folded it in half, and sewed a 1/2" seam at the bottom.  After gathering the strip using two rows of machine basting, I finished the top edge by sewing it into a folded-over 2" strip of scrap fabric to make it easier to sew into the hemline. 

The faux fur that I purchased was labeled as dry-clean only.  Since I wanted to be able to throw the dress in the wash, I did not directly sew the fur trim onto the dress.  Instead, I sewed strips of velcro onto the dress and trim so that I could easily detach the fur when it came time to washing the dress.

The Belt

Jovie's belt appears to be made of (p)leather, but since I already had some scrap red felt in my fabric stash, I chose to use that for the belt, hat trim, and elf shoe covers. I cut out two strips of the felt and top-stitched them together to give it a little more heft and structure.  I attached the strip to a 1.5" adjustable silver buckle that was purchased in a pack of two.  This type of buckle works on tension and has no belt pin, so I didn't need to fuss with cutting holes and installing grommets.


A friend gave me some red knit fabric and elastic to use for Covid-19 mask sewing that I never used for that purpose.  Since I had the materials to make the leggings, I decided to give drafting a pattern and making some basic leggings with an exposed waistband for this costume.

Pattern drafted onto cut up grocery bags and sewn up into leggings with an exposed wide elastic waistband.

Jovie's leggings are decorated with a snowflake/star pattern made from dots/sequins (?).  I made my own version of this decoration by dotting silver glitter fabric paint into a star pattern.   

The Hat

Jovie's hat is a a cone hat decorated with four strips of red trim.  Unlike Buddy's cone hat, there are little gaps between the strips of trim. I could have cut out a simple cone and made a hat from that, but since I the pattern I purchased to make the Buddy Elf coat included an elf hat, I gave that a try instead.  I purchased a yard of pink flannel to match the dress color and a yard of heavyweight interfacing to make the hat.  


IMHO, cutting out a simple cone would have yielded a more accurate replica.  The hat cut from the pattern has a floppy brim, and the Jovie and Buddy hats are closer to a true cone.  Since at this point I had not yet made the Buddy hat, I will do a simple cone for that instead.  I don't know if I will re-make the Jovie hat, although I do have enough extra material to re-do it. 


Final Costing and Bill of Materials

 Item Purchase Price inc. tax (USD)
 Pink knit skater dress   $24.89
Red felt (shoes, hat trim, belt) Scrap from previous crafts
 Silver adjustable slide buckle (2 pk)  $4.32
 1 yd pink flannel (hat) $6.48
 1 yd heavyweight interfacing (hat) $4.32
 Red leggings DIY from fabric and notions stash
 Silver organza "underskirt" Upcycled gift bag
 Glitter Fabric paint (snowflake decor on leggings) $3.45
 2 yds Sew-in 3/4" wide velcro (for attaching trim) $6.61
 White faux fur (trim)     Scrap from Buddy costume

 TOTAL $50.07

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