When a very good friend of mine was a little girl, she always wanted the gold Belle ball gown, but she never got one. Now that we’re older, well, they don’t make Belle gowns for adults. So I decided to go about creating one for her in secret. But being the perfectionist researcher I am, of course, it had to be perfect. I researched Beauty and the Beast and discovered that it was written in 1756 by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. I’ve had some experience with 18th century French gowns, so I decided to do it up in the style of the times.
I knew that we were pretty much the same size, so I used my own measurements. I was nervous about making a full corseted ball gown with no fittings or real measurements, but went for it anyway. Traditional 18th century gowns were worn with stays (a corset), but I knew that she didn’t own a set of stays so I decided to build them into the gown.
I made a set of half-boned strapless stays and sandwiched with them between the inner and outer layers of the bodice and stitched all the layers together. I rouched the ball gown skirt and attached it to the bodice. I gave the bodice organza capped sleeves like Belle has in the movie and made matching gold fabric buttons for the middle of the sweetheart neckline. I laced the gown up the back and gave the gown a matching ruffled petticoat.
She was definitely surprised and loved it. It was worth the many hours and dollars that I put into the gown for her. She even made me waltz with her! hahaha!!