Those of you who follow me on twitter, tumblr, or Facebook know that I've been working on a Belle costume that I'll be debuting this Sunday at the Colorado Renaissance Festival! I'm doing Belle's blue dress, or "little town" dress, as some refer to it. I've wanted to cosplay Belle basically forever, and I'm excited to finally be doing it!
I started with some sketches to work out how I wanted to do the dress. The cool thing (and also the difficult thing) about making an animated costume is that there is no true "original" to mimic, so in some ways you just use your creativity and go with it! For me, that meant shortening the sleeves a little (more flattering, I think), making the skirt a full circle to give it that true Disney princess twirl-power, and choosing some homespun-looking linens to bring Belle to life as a girl in an 18th century provincial town.
Some of these things ended up changing. For instance, I didn't end up boning the bodice, more out of convenience than anything else. And since I'm not particularly busty, I really don't think it would've been necessary or even really noticeable in an outfit with so much coverage.
I started out by dyeing the linen I got for the dress! Having looked at a billion other Belle cosplays, I noticed that most cosplayers seem to do her dress as a bright turquoise, but in the movie it is definitely a cool, almost purple-y blue. (This is most likely because the Disney parks' Belle wears that bright turquoise.) I wanted to do movie-accurate Belle, so I aimed my fabric a little less to the teal end of the spectrum.
Then I went ahead and made the dress! I know it's just a circle skirt and a bodice (pretty simple) but I learned and grew a lot as a seamstress just on this piece of the costume! This is the first bodice I've ever draped and sewn completely without a pattern! Not to mention I think I have mastered (or at least become proficient at) the invisible zipper now.
Next up, I created a second full circle skirt in white, edged in lace, to add volume and provide the scalloped lace that her dress has. Belle's dress actually has the lace just a touch shorter than the skirt, so it shows easily when she moves, but I wanted to give this simple dress a little more "Princess power," so I sewed the lace low enough that it would peek out all the time. I added a basic apron, and voila!
I also got a nice lace-front wig (I don't know the brand, sorry! It was bought in a shop), some simple black flats (J.C. Penney's "Call It Spring" line, above), and a basket, which I added some leather cord to in order to mimic the little X's on Belle's basket.
Still some work to do, of course... I'll be sewing the blouse tonight, and I need to style the wig and sew a big blue bow for it! I can't wait to take some great photos with the wonderful Brian Dowling (of Charming and Dashing) dressed as the less-than-wonderful Gaston and show you guys on Monday!