I have always loved the Disney Princesses, and Beauty and the Beast is my all time favorite. I made this Beauty and the Beast/Belle Costume from a set of drapes my daughter found at a thrift store. These drapes are very old, rubber backed and heavy. The entire dress weighs about nine pounds, plus the crinoline. The skirt is a full double layer. It was nice and warm. I used Simplicity pattern 4269 as a base pattern, but I made a few alterations.

I used drapery pulls to create the pulled up effects. I looked at pics of dresses others had completed from this pattern, and I was displeased with the lack of fullness of the skirt, so I tripled it. This required me to attach the skirt by hand, using a very old technique called cartridge pleating. It was fascinating to learn. I had to follow instructions I found online to do this, as no one that I knew was familiar with it.

I found a gold colored pillow at the Goodwill store and took it apart for the rope like trim. This was also the first time I used boning in a pattern, but it wasn’t as difficult as I had anticipated. I also used a bed ruffle to make the proper ‘Pantaloon’ type leg garments for under the dress.

I bought the crinoline. It’s a steel spring 6 hoop beauty! I purchased hubby’s suit coat at a thrift store, as well as the pants, and simply sewed the gold trim on them. I made his cravat, and added the flounces at his wrists.

This is, to date, the most complicated, time consuming (took me about 7 months) , and satisfying dress I have ever sewn.