There were a couple of key things I wanted for this dress, which made it a big more involved but also produced a better result. Fabric-wise, I wanted to steer clear of yellow, as gold is more movie-accurate and really invokes the opulence of that ballroom scene.
I wanted to have it all: the fullness of a ballgown and the fluidity with which the dress moves in the movie. (I know, it’s a cartoon. But I can make it real!) That meant hoopskirts and stiff tulle petticoats were out of the question.
|Supplies! And GOLD!|
Instead, I started with a two-layer, 60 yard square dancing petticoat, which I lengthened to be full length.
|...with sparkly fabric, even though it will never be seen...|
....and stitched over 100 yards of gold tulle strips to it.
And then I trimmed it with gold ribbon using an embroidery stitch because I don’t know when to stop.
For the skirt itself, I did not have a pattern. Before I started cutting, I took all the fabric I had and just pinned it up over the petticoat to get an idea of what fabrics I might like to use where, and what it might look like.
I decided to use a remnant of cream brocade for the front panel, make the overskirt from warm gold satin, and trim the flouncy edges with a curtain. I made the underskirt by adapting a simple skirt pattern. For the big overskirt (like, 10 yards of fabric big) I cut and sewed a skirt that was twice as long everywhere as I wanted the final skirt to be. I used seven panels so I could bustle along the seam line and have seven skirt sections.
|Pinning the skirt to the waistband.|
I used over-bustle points to pin the skirt up--longer in the back than in the front--and then threw in an underbustle point in each "section," following the curve of the skirt. Because there just wasn't enough hips already. :D
I just cut strips of curtain and sewed it to the edge of the skirt, putting in little pleats along the way.
For the underskirt, I used the same Simplicity pattern I used for Ariel, with a few more panels added. The front panel was made from cream brocade, and the rest from champagne gold satin.
|Trimmed with my favorite gold trim, complete with tiny rose motif!|
The bodice was last. I designed the bodice to go over a more industrial corset. I began with one of Simplicity's French court dress patterns, altering heavily to fit my Belle's corseted 40" - 28" - 44" figure.
Because the bodice was going to be over a corset, I just used plastic boning and interfacing. The fabric was a variety of brocades, mostly scrap yardage and curtains, ranging from cream to orange gold.
The finished touches included hand sewing on applique roses, gold sequin trim, bead trim and a big shiny brooch from the internet. The drapey sleeves were just another piece of the curtain I used on the skirt. I didn't even have to change it, it already had pleats and everything!
Of course, I worked with the right inspiration!
And then... voila!
|All done! (Minus some trim!)|