I have always wanted to do an elegant costume for Beauty and the Beast. I wanted them to look a little more historical, however, so I did some research on French court fashion from around 1800 and based the designs off of that. For the baby, we wanted to do Chip originally, but couldn’t agree on a cute way to do it, so we came up with an idea to make him Lumiere instead. We are very happy that we went that direction.
These costumes required lots of fabric and trimming from favorite stores like Jo-Anns and Hancock. The boots for Beast were pre-owned, and the wig was purchased. I added horns to it using tinfoild, duct tape and bobby pins. The Belle dress was also all home made (including the panniers).
For the Beast, the shirt and breaches come from a 1800 pirate costume pattern. The vest was it’s own pattern, and the jabot was my own design. I couldn’t find a coat I liked (1800 french court coat), so I drafted the pattern from an old costuming book (the History of Costume). I then adjusted it to my sizes, made a few trial mockups, then made the actual coat. I feel that the trim I added really polished it off.
Belle’s skirt is based off of the 1860 Truly Victorian ball dress, but of my own design and pattern. I just used some math and made it up. It consists of an under and upper skirt. The under is box-pleated and the upper is rouched up at the bottom. It has a total of 12 yards of fabric and was made from 32 panels sewn together. The bodice was based off of an 1800 bodice. I had to make a lot of modifiactions to the pattern, however, to fit my wife just right.
Most people can’t believe that we didn’t rent the costumes from a professional theater nearby. I actual had to detail how I made the costume to one person for them to believe me. Another lady we know, who works as a professional costumer, asked if I would work for her on a few projects (I couldn’t at this time). With the makeup on for the Beast, most people don’t even recognize me (including siblings). At one event, we got stopped many times by people wanting to take photos of us. We won 1st place at one costume contest, and second in another.
It was challenging to make, and was my first time drafting original patterns, but I am very pleased with the results. We feel the quality and the departure from normal Belle and Beast designs – while staying true to the characters – makes these costume winners.