Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Belle Costume for K

With Halloween approaching, K made it very clear that she wanted to be Belle for Halloween this year. I'm not sure why Belle is her favorite princess, considering her favorite color is pink, and Belle's dress is yellow. I think it's because the dress up kit that she received for her birthday last year has no Belle dress in it, just Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. I digress though.

Halloween time around here is usually a bit on the chilly side. When searching through the premade costumes at the stores, all of the dresses were on the shorter side, hitting around the knees. K didn't like the length, and I didn't like the thin material, knowing it wouldn't be warm enough. That's when she asked if I would make her costume. 

In a moment of sheer madness, or complete and utter surprise at her faith in my sewing skills, I agreed. I love to sew, I'm decent at it, as long as it involves cotton and other "easy" materials to work with. Also, as long as it's not a fitted garment. I mostly sew home decor items or quilts. After browsing a couple of blogs and Pinterest, I realized that my promise to make her costume was going to be a bit more difficult to uphold. She wanted it sparkly, and shiny, which meant satins, organzas, chiffons, and the like. I took a deep breath(or 5) and headed to the craft store.

I purchased a few yards of yellow glitter costume satin and some sheer yellow organza. I came home, and got to work.

I didn't have a pattern, so I combined two different tutorials, and a few of my own elements to create her dress. It was a lot of trial and error, but it finally got there. Here is how I did it.

First, the links to the two tutorials I used:


From the first tutorial, I followed her directions to create the bodice, but I followed them loosely. Because Belle's dress has a seam in the front, I cut it a bit bigger than necessary, to allow for fitting. Here it is, mostly complete for fitting purposes, but no finished edges yet.
 After trying it on her, I decided to shorten the sleeves, so they did not peek out under the swag around the top. I also added a casing and some elastic at the top, as well as a small gather of elastic in the middle. After a couple more fittings with the skirt, I added 4 darts around the bodice, to give it a more fitted look. There is a velcro closure in the back.
 For the skirt, I followed the second tutorial, mostly, except I skipped the gathering step. I just cut 7" wide strips, twice the length I needed it to be(K's waist to ankles.) This will allow it to be the correct length later, when I bustle it. I rounded out the bottom by tracing a plate.
 To bustle the skirt, I followed the first tutorial again. I didn't measure the elastic, I just anchored it to the waist, and then stretched it as far as it would go until I got to the bottom. I also attached it in the seam allowance, so that I didn't risk sewing two panels together. Then, I did a rolled hem on the bottom of the scallops. Here it is, bustled. Starting to look like Belle's dress! Maybe I can do this!!
 Here is where my trial and error comes in. I bought organza, thinking it would be perfect for the swag on the skirt. It turned out to be too stiff, as you'll see in a few photos. Anywho, I basically cut two strips the width of the fabric by the width of the skirt panels, so 7"x45" and sewed them together to create one long tube. I attached the tube to the skirt at every seam, adding an extra 2"-3".
 I then added jewels to cover where I gathered and attached it.

I attached the skirt to the bodice by just pinning and gathering. I also ended up adding tie-straps to the bodice, to help with fitting.
 As you can see, the swag is uneven, and it sticks out too far for my liking. The swag around the shoulders was too large as well. Back to the drawing board.

I took the swag on the skirt off, and went back to the craft store. I bought yellow chiffon instead, and followed the same method for attaching it. I reattached the jewels. I also shortened the organza swag at the top, so it wasn't as droopy. While there, I also purchased some mesh tulle to make a petticoat to help fill out the skirt more.

 The petticoat was made the same way you'd make a tiered ruffle skirt. This one does not go all the way to the bottom of the dress. I made a hoop skirt to help fill out the bottom, and it was ridiculously easy. I didn't even take a picture of it. It's just a long skirt, with boning in the bottom hem. See, easy peasy.
Here is the finished dress. I added some rolled organza flowers where the bodice meets the skirt in the front, and I also added some lace detail at the bottom. With the petticoat and hoop skirt underneath, it fills out much better. The bodice looks crooked in this picture, due to my inability to tie the straps correctly. 

I also purchased these shoes on clearance at Walmart. I then coated them in Mod Podge and glitter, cut out the strap in the middle, and she now has her own princess shoes. 

I also made a pair of fingerless gloves to go with this costume, those are not pictured. For that, I followed Ashley's tutorial here: http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2010/10/looking-for-modern-bird-studios-250.html

And that, my friends, is K's Belle costume. It took me roughly a week to complete, because I would have to step back and think about how to do a certain step. 

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