This costume is actually several months old and I’ve worn it several times at this point, but since I’m catching up on updating this blog I am only just now getting around to sharing it.
I’ve been wanting to make a Belle costume ever since I fell down the cosplay rabbit hole, so when the promos for live-action film came out in early spring 2017 and I saw the costumes by Jacqueline Durran, I knew immediately that this was the version of Belle I would be making. I love the traditional cartoon version of her costume as well and one day hope to make it, but the live action version had such beautiful colors and I have a soft spot for beautifully printed fabrics. (it should come as no surprise to anyone that I also own a collection of vintage dirndls) I wasn’t so concerned with everything being exactly screen accurate, since the film hadn’t actually come out yet at that point. I would imagine by now you can probably find more accurate prints on Spoonflower these days, but considering I found everything for under $30 at a local fabric remnants store, I’m happy with what I have.
The dress is comprised of the overskirt and bodice, both made from blue linen, a petticoat, a red stomacher, a chemise, and a corset. The petticoat is constructed a bit oddly, in keeping with the source material. The top part is made from the same dark blue chintz that I used on the front of the bodice, and is fitted from the waist through to the hips, where the skirt is made from gathered white cotton. The bottom of the skirt has a wide band of grey and white seersucker.
I made the blue part from only four yards of linen, so I had to be really strategic in how I constructed everything so as to maximize the small amount of fabric I had to work with. The skirt is drop-waisted in order to reveal the chintz fabric on the upper part of the petticoat. There is white hand stitching around the waist. Since I didn’t have enough fabric for a wide turned up hem, I had to piece the underside of the skirt hem with grey and white striped seersucker that I had leftover from the petticoat. This has turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the costume, even though it is unseen.
The bodice is also constructed a little oddly. Historical costumers need to throw their ideals out of the window for this one. It features a front part made of darker blue chintz and closes at the shoulders and the left side with lacing, which is basically red and white baker’s twine. I did hand bind the eyelets, a small but important detail. Underneath is pinned a red chintz stomacher, strategically asymmetrical.
While Emma Watson was vocal about refusing to wear a corset, I did opt to wear a corset, though I didn’t want to do with a rigid 18th century stay. Instead, I wore my trusty old Victorian corset that is lightly boned. The chemise isn’t screen accurate, since the sleeves aren’t gathered, but I had it leftover from my Outlander costume and it has worked fine with this costume.
The pockets at made from canvas and cotton ticking. I had seen a couple of other costumers who opted to handpaint the stripes onto their pockets, so that’s what I ended up doing for the blue striped pocket. (I can’t remember who it was now, but credits to them for their ingenuity) I decided to use ticking for the red one, since I liked the contrast of different stripes.
For a $30 costume that only took a week to build, it’s become my go-to costume and probably my most-worn of 2017.
(Just a side note, I am not accepting commissions from new clients at this time and I don’t sell my patterns)