As a kid, there were only two Disney characters that I ever dressed up as for Halloween... and they were Belle and Tinkerbell. Go figure, haha, two "bells". Anyways, out of all the Disney princesses, Belle and Jasmine were always my favorites! Jasmine is my favorite overall, but I never got to dress up as her. Then again, both my childhood Disney costumes were entirely atrocious, ahahaha. The gold Belle dress was literally gold, and nearly unrecognizable if it weren't for the picture of Belle's face on the bodice, ahahaha.
Anyways, this ballgown has been a dream cosplay of mine for quite sometime, but somewhat an unrealized one. It was always in the back of my mind, but never really planned. One day, though, I had an epiphany while daydreaming about the dress, and did some simple sketches and number crunching, and thought I suddenly knew the "code" to crack this project! It's geometry at it's core, and that's the only kinda math I'm good at, really.
But still apprehensive, I approached the project in steps, which is why it took so long to complete. I didn't rush in and buy all the materials at once, because they would go to waste if I messed up and got discouraged. However, as each thing went along smoothly, I went further and further until I had a complete dress! It was a stunning success, and I still can't believe I made it as easily as I did. I thought for sure it would be a lot harder. I guess I was just scaring myself out of doing it all these years!
Started: January 2015
Completed: April 2015
Wig by: Wig is Fashion, Hair Bun from Arda Wigs
Worn at: DCP Disneybound Ball 2015, LA CosplayCon 2015, Cincinnati Comic Con 2015, KokomoCon 2015,
Anime Crossroads 2017
Awards: Honorable Mention- KokomoCon 2015,
Best Masters- Anime Crossroads 2017
About This Costume
Belle is one of those really involved costumes, so buckle up, buttercups. It's going to be a long explanation. The skirts are actually a layer of five- let's start from the inside out. First I bought a hoop skirt off of Amazon, because I wasn't sure what the results of my ballgown attempt would be. It did not last long, so I butchered it for the pattern and the steel boning and made by own hoop skirt out of thick bridal satin.
The next two layers are two tulle "petticoats" to help hide the hoop lines, and also make the dress fluffy! They're each ten yards of stiff tulle, gathered and sewn to a satin yoke with drawstring waistband. The first layer is long and goes to the bottom of the hoop skirt, and the second is actually a shorter layer constructed from the leftover yardage that was cut from the first layer. The second layer was to help shape the skirt to be less cone-shaped, and more cupcake shaped! All ten yards of tulle was used- none went to waste!
Finally, the top two layers are the skirts. The yellow satin lining is simply a four panel a-line skirt (almost a circle skirt but not quite), sewn to an elastic waistband, so that I did not have to install a distracting or fragile invisible zipper. The top ruching is 8 yards of glitter organza. I chose organza because it is light and fluffy, yet sturdy, and doesn't show stains as much as some other fabrics. It has already gotten quite dirty, but it's hard to see. ;3 The swags are a dark gold shade of Casa Collection chiffon, sewn into "tubes" and then tacked on at eight points. The pink roses on the dress are made by friend Anya Braddock (Crumpets Cosplay), and hand stitched on by me.
Meanwhile, the bodice is an interesting piece- it is actually altered from a "not so great" Disney costume pattern for adult women. It's not the most impressive looking photo on the pattern packet, but the flats seemed promising for easy conversion to a strapless bodice, so I went with it! It ended up working splendidly. I used David Tutera taffeta in Pineapple as the face and lining. Both sides are interfaced, and the lining is boned with plastic. Meant to use metal, but can NOT for the life of me find any cutters to cut through flat or spiral steel boning.
The face side of the bodice has parted seam allowances, top stitched at 1/8" from the seam on either side. I did this to I downplay the other outer seams, and emphasized the center front by piping the seam. The top and bottom hems of the bodice are also finished with piping.
As for the other details on the bodice, the center back buttons up with small shank buttons, and fabric loop closures that are slip stitched in. The loops were made out of the same material as the bodice. I really wanted a formal gown look, so I opted for the button up, instead of the lace up, as the pattern I used suggests. The sleeves, I took a bit of inspiration from the Belle gown in Disneyland's Soundsational Parade. Mine are merely tapered scraps of my skirt fabric, which I narrow roll-hemmed, and pleated and then stitched to a pretty light yellow elastic that also had pleated organza edges. I hand stitched the sleeves to the front of the bodice.
The gloves are an interesting ordeal... I made my own in a fabric matching my bodice, but I did not favor the color, because of the shade resembling latex cleaning gloves. It did NOT look princess worthy. I ordered some bridal gloves off Amazon in "Candle", but they came out more white... which makes me wonder, since they did have white, off white, and ivory... what must those gloves look like? But I kind of like the white now, it breaks up the overwhelming amount of yellow. I hemmed them to be a bit shorter, and subtly blinged them up by hand glueing 90 Swarovski crystals to them.
There are also some cute white bloomers under the skirt, so if anyone decides to be cheeky and climb under the dress, or I happen to fall over, I'm totally decent, ahahaha! They're even finished off with white rose lace at the bottom. Fitting, I think!