Disney’s Peter Pan (1956) – Tiger Lily

peter-pan-disneyscreencaps.com-5815When I was a girl, I preferred Tiger Lily to Wendy. Even though she had no lines, she showed poise, honor, and nerves of steel. When that wasn’t required, she danced! This was the sort of leader I wanted to see. To be. As the upcoming live-action Pan prepares to give us a white Tiger Lily in a mixed-race tribe, CosBreaks is pleased to celebrate the Tiger Lily who first graced the screen. The original Wonderland tribe was a fantasy conglomeration of various American Indian tribes, and Tiger Lily’s outfit reflects pan-Indian influence.

Note: All measurements are approximations. To get the right look, you will need to adjust my approximations for your proportions. I am petite and the measurements may often run short.

As a child, Tiger Lily does not wear makeup. Except to cover your own dark circles and pimples, you will want to be makeup-free to appear your most childlike. Her jet black hair is parted in the center as if it were going to be braided. Two-inch-long yellow tubes keep each half of her hair from recombining. She is always seen with her hair pulled to the front.




An enormous white feather is tucked into a teal headband, about one inch thick. Including its quill, it is as long as the top of her head to the bottom of her braids. The top third of the barbs are red. Natural feathers are not symmetrical, and this feather is positioned so that its side with longer barbs is on her right. Also on her right is a break in the barbs slightly above center. If you use an actual white feather that you dye, it will be easy to create the break in the barbs.

You can dye feathers with fabric dye, food coloring, or drinks like kool-aid. Most feather dying instructions assume you are submerging the entire feather. To dye just the tip, wear gloves! Separate the barbs at the appropriate point, bending the barbs you need to stay white away, and hold the feather in the dye bowl for the required time. Do no worry about destroying the feather’s shape. It will be easy to stroke the barbs back into place.




Tiger Lily’s tan dress comes most of the way down her shins, but leaves room for skin to show between the bottom fringe and her ankle boots. Her skirt, which begins around her true waist where her belt is, is very loose. She can easily dance, spin, and kick up her heels. Her entire skirt is lined in fringe. To achieve the animated look, you will need to hand-cut large “fringe” pieces about one inch thick, two and a half inches long, and tapered at the end. The fringe is the same length no matter where it is on her outfit.




The torso of the dress is actually undecorated. The colorful part we see is on a cape, though that is a poor word for the part because it is attached to her dress and it does not open in the front. It stops around the bust line, but its fringe descends below that point. It is attached at her high neckline that makes a right-angle v-neck in the front. A thin, horizontal, tan line descends from the center of the v-neck to the beginning of the fringe, breaking up the prominent pink and red stripes.

The stripes are angled to align with her v-neck and spaced so that the dress’s regular tan suede around her neckline appears like another stripe. Each stripe’s thickness will be a little less than a third of the distance between your collar bone and your bust line. There are thin white stripes – perhaps only a third an inch wide – between the pink and red stripes and on the outside of each stripe dividing it from the dress’s regular tan suede.




There is an obvious seam line at her shoulders dividing each side of the cape. Only the fringe decorates both sides of her cape; the colorful stripes stop at the seam line. Her loose straight sleeves come to her wrists. On the outside of her arm is a line of fringe that ends at her underarm.

For her belt and shoes, you have two options. She wears a matching olive belt and moccasins when she is captured by Hook. In her more famous dance scene, her shoes are powder blue and her belt is an extremely light gray or purple. Both belts are the same: straight-edged and about the length of her braid tubes, or two inches. Her moccasins are a simple, undecorated Iroquois style. Her ankle boots have tan soles the color of her dress that wrap around her foot slightly and show from the side. Between the powder blue top and the tan bottom is a white strip.




You have another set of options. The easiest and most screen-accurate way to recreate her shoes, belt, headband, and colored parts of her dress is to use dyed suede. Every shade imaginable is available. However, beadwork is a) much more authentic and b) gorgeous. If you choose to use beadwork, you might also make other realistic touches such as adding patterns to the colored parts or using standard fringe on her dress. Or you could just keep the hand-animated look while bedazzling her outfit with beads.

Are you planning on taking a classic, Indian Tiger Lily cosplay to a con, photoshoot, or even – if you’re feeling cheeky – the premier of Pan this fall? If you use any of my breakdowns for a cosplay or fan art, do share pictures! Email me at work dot elizanavarro at yahoo dot com to get your work featured with full credit and links to your personal sites. Please feel free to comment with any thoughts or questions. I’d really love to hear what Tiger Lily meant to you as a little girl.

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