The Belle dress. Oh man, this dress has been a looooong time coming. It took a while to make, both because it was challenging, and because life. Also, this is MY princess. Okay, maybe it's a tie with one we'll discuss later in life, but Belle will always be the queen of my Disney Princess heart. I am a Belle. I mean, hellooooo the first Princess who wasn't interested in getting swept of her feet! Belle is a hero, she is brave and adventurous and stands up for herself. And loves to read? AND the first real brunette? I mean, come on. Perfection! This was my favorite movie for most of my childhood, THUS THE STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMAN I AM TODAY. (Kidding, but only slightly.) Y'all, I had Belle and the Beast/Prince Barbies, with multiple outfits. And she was my favorite Barbie, even though I effed her hair up real bad by taking it out of the perfect bun she came with. Beauty and the Beast was my JAM. I would lay in the grass and blow dandelion puffs and dream of more than this provincial life. Seriously, I wanted to be Belle so bad. I think I made my mom draw me as Belle one time. Little known fact, my mom can draw and draw well!
Anyways, so this dress was important. I wanted to LOVE this dress. And as much as I loooove her ball gown in the film, because it's hers, it is not my favorite Disney Princess dress. Iconic and wonderful, but very big and very yellow (because gold was hard to pull off in animation?). So I to make something that would represent her dress, but still be something I would love (and wear).
At my sewing job, we just so happened to have scraps left of two rather fantastic pale gold fabrics that just so happened to match perfectly. THANK YOU to my boss and to the clients who have such lovely taste in drapery fabric YES THIS DRESS IS MADE OF DRAPES. Channeling Maria Von Trapp, at all times. The bodice is made of the loveliest platinum-gold silk (!!!) and the skirt and sleeves are made of embroidered linen in the prettiest shade of butter. This dress is fancy. But basically free because life is so good sometimes?! This dress was meant to be.
At first I couldn't find a pattern that made all my Belle dreams come true. And it took me a while to settle on an idea. In fact I had an entirely different dress completely planned out that I scrapped at the last moment. I ended up using the top of one pattern and the bottom of the other. I used Butterick 5814 for the bodice and sleeves and the simple but rather full skirt from Butterick 5708. The bodice was very complicated. It is asymmetrical, pleated, boned, fully lined, and every seam inside is encased. So much hand sewing. Slip stitching for years. The only exposed seam allowances on the whole dress are the center, sides, and back of the skirt, and the zipper. And the zipper is an invisible zipper, which thanks to YouTube, I am no longer scared of! SO much easier than regular zips, I have been converted.
This dress was a big time learning experience. Very challenging, very fun, and I am very happy with it. It fits me perfectly (after a few adjustments, the sleeves were way too big!) and oh my gosh silk. Yes please. Sewing with silk is fantastic. It is so pretty.
And yes, this had to happen. Because the skirt is so full and fun and Belle twirls all over the ballroom in her dress so:
I am a huge nerd.
HURRAH, the Belle dress! How I slaved over you! Thank goodness I am happy with it. And thanks to Belle for being such a bad ass. I feel like a bad ass in this dress. (Insert sunglasses emoji.)
The rest of the Disney Princess are here! On to the next one! Can you guess where we're headed next? Off to another continent!