My submission is my gold ballgown inspired by Disney’s 1991 film “Beauty and the Beast”. As a child I always identified with Belle because she was the first princess with brown hair and she loved to read like I do. Wearing her dress for me was reaching into her soul and embodying the adventure that she takes and the acceptance that she learns about someone different. So as an adult since I had never had the chance to wear the dress I decided to try my hand at making it. (You'll also love these Belle costume ideas.)
This was a journey and labour of love. It took me four and a half years to actually complete since it was my first time ever drafting a pattern of my own (I’ve never properly learned how, I just plunged right in!) and I wasn’t sure if I wanted the dress in one or two pieces. I found my perfect colour for the skirt at a fabric shop, bought 15 metres of satin fabric just to be safe and then let it sit in a cupboard for a year before being ready to touch it. I then kept my eyes open for a slightly darker shade of the same type of material for the bodice and skirt swags finally finding it in Florida a year after the first.
Then it was construction time: I made the base skirt first of 8 panels, pleating up the sides to give the right look to the skirt. Then it got packed away, next time it was brought out was to try mock ups of the bodice which I made with spiral steel bones just like a corset. Many mock ups later and it was time to be packed away again. Then it was on and off working on finding the best design but being scared to actually cut the fabric. Finally in the spring of 2014 I decided to actually finish it, so I set to work, pulling two panels off my skirt because it was just too much fabric, struggling to make just the right shape for the skirt swags, pricking my fingers many times stitching together the bodice (there is actual blood sewn in there!) and finally going on the search for the gems I desired to finish off the look. Well, I ended up having to make my own buttons, but it ended up perfectly! I am still astonished just how much of a princess I feel like wearing this dress.
I have worn this Belle costume for two Halloweens now, and each time I have been treated like a fairy tale princess. It’s almost as though the skirt itself in a time machine as it transports not only me back in to another time, a place normally accessed through the imagination – but others too. The joy that I feel is un-bounding, but the best part is seeing the smiles on other people’s faces when they see how much I am enjoying every minute of being ‘Belle’.
Belle of the Ball Costume
Hi! My name is Sarah and I am a college student, studying musical theater. I have acquired a passion for photography and wanted to turn people into Disney characters, particularly their personal favorites. However, I had no costume and no one to make them for.
Thus, I began my quest to create the iconic character costumes. My first victory came with the creation of the Belle costume from Beauty and the Beast. I went to a local thrift store for inspiration and found a gorgeous gold bedspread. I took it back to my dorm room and went to town.
First, I had to separate the ornate gold fabric from the bottom layer that matched but was thinner and more like a sheer fabric. Once the batting was removed along with the trim, I cut the gold into a large circle skirt (and hemmed it). With the help of a friend, I drew lines up the fabric from the edges of the skirt to the center/waistline, separating it into sections and allowing me to stitch on the lines later. After the lines were drawn, I attempted to use a machine to stitch a straight line up from the bottom of the skirt to the waist, following the lines I had drawn and only locking in the bottom of the stitch. Once at the top, I used the thread to pull the fabric up from the bottom, bunching it and allowing for the iconic, petal-like swoops in her skirt (my technical terminology is almost too accurate). At this point, my sewing machine decided to fail me and I had to continue the line-stitching by hand completely. I then took the fabric from the backside of the quilt and made a full circle skirt out of it to reach the floor and be the bottom layer below the petaled layer.
Once the skirt was completed, I used a cheap bodice as a basis to piece together a bodice of my own from the scraps left behind by the circle skirt. Again, this is really vague but all completely improvised and hand-stitched. I added a panel at the back to snap over, allowing for any extra skin to be covered in the back. I sewed in some cup-inserts I had left over from a dress that had been made for someone a bit more well-endowed than me.
To finish off the Belle costume,I took some sheer fabric and rough-cut some off the shoulder sleeves! Tah-Dah! It’s Belle!
Handmade Beauty and the Beast Belle Costume
I’ve always been an extreme fan of Disney and the theme parks. My favorite character is Beauty and the Beast’s Belle. She is very graceful, delicate and kind which I can relate myself to her.
I’ve seen many versions of Belle’s beautiful gold dress in the famous dancing scene however I have not seen the version of Disney’s Hollywood Studios show “Fantasmic.” That gown Disney owns is one of the most expensive to make in the overall theme parks. It’s to a point that I get very emotional every time I see the show and at that very moment when Belle is dancing with her beast in her beautiful sparkling gown. Only later I got tired of just dreaming to have it that I had no choice but to make it.
I researched every picture taken by guest online and studied the measurements by sight only. I first sewed together a ruffle trim skirt for the bottom layer. I then sketched the teapot design on large drawing paper and traced it on fabric. I then hand placed down all the individual sequence on the fabric and painted the gold on the teapot. I also added glitter tulle fabric to the edges to create that shimmer gold effect.
Once the teapot layer was finished, I worked on finding the perfect gold hologram fabric for the famous curtain gathered layer. The gold fabric is no other than hologram twilight spandex to give that sparkle shimmering look. I gathered the fabric to create the curtain effect throughout the skirt. The bright satin yellow trim was added as well as Swarovski rhinestones and brooches. The bodice is made out of the same spandex fabric and the yellow satin was pleaded for the sleeves. Swarovski rhinestones are also added to the sleeve.
My Motivation to Not Give Up
I kept watching the movie, YouTube videos of Fantasmic, listen non-stop to the soundtrack of Beauty and the Beast for motivation. My other motivation was that I was to wear it for the first time at Disney’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I imagined myself walking through Magic Kingdom and having dinner at the Be Our Guest restaurant. Every moment thinking about the event made me continue on to get the dress done.
Dreams Can Come True
The day of the event was the best type of payment from all the recognition I received. I had Cast Member compliment me, managers taking pictures, Disney Characters were amazed and even the children mistaken me as Belle. Now I know I look nothing like Belle. I am Hawaiian, tan and have a button nose but to these children’s eyes I was there favorite princess and that meant everything to me. I felt proud that my hard work on the Belle costume paid off that night and I look forward to my next visit to party again but this time dining in the famous ballroom at Be Our Guest restaurant. Creating Belle’s dress was always a dream I wanted since I first watch the show as a child. It is amazing how your dreams can come true as long as you work hard for it.
More Belle Costume Ideas
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