Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Disney Princesses: Belle

My next challenge (and by far the most daunting) was making Belle's gold ball gown.

There were a couple of key things I wanted for this dress, which made it a big more involved but also produced a better result. Fabric-wise, I wanted to steer clear of yellow, as gold is more movie-accurate and really invokes the opulence of that ballroom scene.

 I wanted to have it all: the fullness of a ballgown and the fluidity with which the dress moves in the movie. (I know, it’s a cartoon. But I can make it real!) That meant hoopskirts and stiff tulle petticoats were out of the question.

Supplies! And GOLD!

 Instead, I started with a two-layer, 60 yard square dancing petticoat, which I lengthened to be full length.

...with sparkly fabric, even though it will never be seen...

 ....and stitched over 100 yards of gold tulle strips to it.

 And then I trimmed it with gold ribbon using an embroidery stitch because I don’t know when to stop.

For the skirt itself, I did not have a pattern. Before I started cutting, I took all the fabric I had and just pinned it up over the petticoat to get an idea of what fabrics I might like to use where, and what it might look like.

I decided to use a remnant of cream brocade for the front panel, make the overskirt from warm gold satin, and trim the flouncy edges with a curtain. I made the underskirt by adapting a simple skirt pattern. For the big overskirt (like, 10 yards of fabric big) I cut and sewed a skirt that was twice as long everywhere as I wanted the final skirt to be. I used seven panels so I could bustle along the seam line and have seven skirt sections.

Pinning the skirt to the waistband.

I used over-bustle points to pin the skirt up--longer in the back than in the front--and then threw in an underbustle point in each "section," following the curve of the skirt. Because there just wasn't enough hips already. :D

So French!

I just cut strips of curtain and sewed it to the edge of the skirt, putting in little pleats along the way.

For the underskirt, I used the same Simplicity pattern I used for Ariel, with a few more panels added. The front panel was made from cream brocade, and the rest from champagne gold satin.

Trimmed with my favorite gold trim, complete with tiny rose motif!

The tiny gold roses on the trim is just another one of those details I just adore putting in.

The bodice was last. I designed the bodice to go over a more industrial corset. I began with one of Simplicity's French court dress patterns, altering heavily to fit my Belle's corseted 40" - 28" - 44" figure.

Because the bodice was going to be over a corset, I just used plastic boning and interfacing. The fabric was a variety of brocades, mostly scrap yardage and curtains, ranging from cream to orange gold.

The finished touches included hand sewing on applique roses, gold sequin trim, bead trim and a big shiny brooch from the internet. The drapey sleeves were just another piece of the curtain I used on the skirt. I didn't even have to change it, it already had pleats and everything!

Of course, I worked with the right inspiration!

And then... voila!

All done! (Minus some trim!)

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