DIY Merida Costume (Adult) + Hair & Makeup Tutorials

I’m in love with the movie Brave and Disney’s Princess Merida, so I thought it was the perfect costume to tackle next in my Disney character dress up series. Remember my Modern-day Cinderella Costumes?

This time, I really wanted to do something fun and different, and Princess Merida was the perfect choice. I must have watched the movie Brave five times over the weekend just to get the look and costume down, and I fell deeper in love with it each time I viewed it. It’s a different story than most of the Disney Princess Movies, and it’s really fantastic. You should definitely give it a watch if you haven’t seen it yet.

Dressing up is too much FUN and with Halloween just around the corner, hopefully I can inspire some exciting new ideas! Flip through the photos below for my step by step DIY Merida Costume from the movie Brave, which can be worn short & saucy or with a long, full skirt for a more authentic look.

  • DIY Princess Merida Costume 1 of 21

    Flip through the photos to learn how to make the base for this Princess Merida costume from the movie Brave.  Wear it short and saucy or add a long, full skirt for a more authentic look.


    See more photos of both costumes at DIY Merida Costume from Brave + Hair & Makeup

  • Princess Merida 2 of 21

    This is Princess Merida from the movie Brave. This is the outfit she wears during most of the movie and what I used as inspiration for my DIY Merida Costume.

  • DIY Merida Costume 3 of 21

    I needed a base from which to begin since I didn't want to sew up a dress from scratch... And because so many women today opt for saucier Halloween costumes, I thought I'd use this mini dress with an option to be worn in two different ways.


    Merida's dress is a rich, deep teal and this deep green stretch velvet mini dress was the best option.  I purchased it at American Apparel for $44 in Green


    If you can find a fitted, long sleeve velvet maxi dress that flares at the bottom in green, then that would be your best option for an authentic look.  They were popular in the 90's, so you may get lucky at your local thrift shop.

  • DIY Merida Costume ~ Materials 4 of 21

    In addition to your dress you will also need the following:

    1. Ivory lace, mesh, or chiffon. I used a stiff vintage lace

    2. Scissors {large + small & pointed, & pinking sheers {optional}

    3. Needle and matching thread

    4. White crayon, chalk, or fabric pencil

    5. Pins

    6. Fine leather cord or lacing. I used raw but brown would work as well and I found it at my local fabric shop in the jewelry making supplies section

    7. Bead Reamer {not shown, to create holes in your V for the laces}

  • DIY Merida Costume Step 1 5 of 21

    Try on your dress, locate the center of the neckline, and carefully cut straight down into it about 2 inches. I suggest doing this while the dress is on so you know exactly how deep to cut your V. When it's lying flat, it's easy to cut too far.

  • DIY Merida Costume Step 2 6 of 21

    Cut a 2-inch wide strip of your lace, mesh, or chiffon. I used pinking shears on one side to create a jagged edge. You will stitch this onto your neckline, so depending on the length of your fabric, you may need 2 or more strips to work with. You can cut as you go.

  • DIY Merida Costume Step 3 7 of 21

    Pin your lace to the underside of your neckline beginning at your V and work your way around. Allow a little over a half of an inch to peek out from the top and hand-stitch into place, gathering the lace heavily as you go. Try to stitch along the seam line that is already there to hide your stitches. If you have a Serger or are a sewing pro, you can easily do this on a machine.


    Make sure to stretch your garment as you go. The lace {mesh or chiffon} shouldn't be taught or keep you from being able to stretch your neckline to its full capacity.

  • DIY Merida Costume Step 4 8 of 21

    It will look a bit messy underneath, but that's okay. Trim away the excess material, or flip it up for extra fluffiness around your neckline.

  • DIY Merida Costume Step 5 9 of 21

    Follow the steps above to create your sleeves, allowing a bit less to peek out. Don't forget to gather and stretch as you go or you won't be able to get your hands through without ripping the stitches.

  • DIY Merida Costume Step 6 10 of 21

    Turn your garment inside out and try it on. Using your white crayon, pencil, or chalk, sketch out the patterns you see above. Draw a small and angled one at your shoulder {below your shoulder seam} and one at your elbow bend, about 2-1/2inches wide.


    Now remove your dress and lay it flat. Holding your sleeves at their outermost shoulder seams, make sure all your sketches line up on both arms {one of mine was way too high!}, then draw your designs boldly so you know where to cut.

  • DIY Merida Costume Step 7 11 of 21

    With your short, pointed scissors, carefully cut out your designs. This is basically a Renaissance sleeve design. NOTE: Cut just below your shoulder seams, leave them intact for strength and shape.


    DON'T WORRY IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE. You can always reattach your sleeves with ribbons.

  • DIY Merida Costume Step 8 12 of 21

    Cut a piece of lace, mesh, or chiffon about twice the length of your shoulder and elbow openings and twice the width as well.


    Insert it up and under your openings for fit. You'll want them to pouf out, thus the extra material needed.

  • DIY Merida Costume Step 9 13 of 21

    Carefully hand-stitch your lace to the underside, making the smallest possible stitches on the right side, with the larger stitches on the underside, where you can't see them. Just as you did with your neckline, gather your fabric heavily and stretch your fabric as you go. Your stitches should not pucker the fabric at all.

  • DIY Merida Costume Step 10 14 of 21

    It will look something like this on the underside. Do this on both shoulders and both elbows. Trim away the excess.

  • DIY Merida Costume Step 11 15 of 21

    Cut a large triangle out of your lace, loosely stitch just the corners {about 1/2" in} to the underside of your V neckline, behind the lace trim you already stitched in place. Make sure there is extra material... When you put your dress on, you will be able to adjust where this V will stay, thus you don't need any more stitches. It should look gathered between the V.

  • DIY Merida Costume Step 12 16 of 21

    I used a bead reamer to create lace holes, and laced my leather cord through them so that the lace ends are hidden on the inside of the dress. There is no bow in front. I just let mine hang within, but you can also really use them to tighten up your V if you've cut it too deep!

  • Brave’s DIY Princess Merida Costume 17 of 21

    When you're finished, it should look like this.

  • Princess Merida Sexy Costume DIY 18 of 21

    I love this mini dress as the base because you really can wear it two ways. Worn alone, it's a sexy costume.


    Instead of actually making a bow and a bag for arrows {though I could have by wrapping leather around a SmartWater bottle, cut open at the top}, I simply wore a narrow belt slung low around my hips. Merida wore flat brown lace up boots with white socks, but these lace up ankle boots with a heel were simply more flattering, while staying semi-true to the costume. Other than Hair and Makeup, those are the only accessories you need to complete the look.


    Learn how to get this Merida hair and makeup here : DIY Princess Merida Hair & Makeup Tutorial + Brave Costume

  • Authentic Merida DIY Costume 19 of 21

    I happened to have this long green vintage velvet circle skirt {which is longer in the back than in the front}, so it was simple for me to just throw it on over my mini dress, and along with the belt and boots, I was ready to go. And even though it wasn't floor length, like Merida's, it was long enough that the costume was still authentic. If I didn't have one, I would have simply made one {longer, of course} and from a deep green velvet. You can learn how to easily make a circle skirt by watching This Circle Skirt Tutorial

  • DIY {Nearly} Authentic Merida Costume 20 of 21

    Voila! My DIY nearly Authentic Princess Merida Costume complete!


    See more photos of both costumes at DIY Merida Costume from Brave + Hair & Makeup

  • Now for Hair & Makeup! 21 of 21

    Go to my DIY Princess Merida Hair & Makeup Tutorial + Brave Costume to learn how to do your own hair and makeup without having to buy a wig!

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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