Thursday, November 12, 2015

Belle-inspired Halloween costume

Did everyone have a good Halloween? Yes, I know it was two weeks ago. But how am I supposed to post about something I'm sewing if it's not done until the last minute? AB is quickly approaching 4, so she finally is old enough to understand "dress up day" (thanks Daniel Tiger). For weeks leading up to the 31st, I grilled her about what she wanted to "be". She kept saying things like Spider-man or Iron Man or The Hulk. Those weren't exactly costumes that I wanted to (or could?) sew. We settled on buying her a Spider-man costume, complete with fake muscles and mask. Immediately after we dropped all that money on it, she became obsessed with Beauty and the Beast and asking for a Belle dress. This mommy couldn't say no, and I ended up sewing her exactly what she requested.


Don't worry, Spider-man served her well at her preschool "pumpkin party" and I was glad that she had a more, er, janky costume to wear there. Let's just say I'm not a fan of letting my creations out of my sight and into the paint-splattering hands of her preschool. Anyway, the Friday before Halloween, our city had a really cool event where local businesses had candy to hand out. We could walk around our town square in broad daylight, with lots of other families, and with reputable businesses handing out the goods. Since our neighborhood doesn't have many kids and we have no family in town, this kind of event was perfect for a worry-wart mama like me.


To make this Belle dress, I used Amy's tutorial and pattern here. I did make some modifications. I color-blocked the front bodice so that I could use a nude fabric for the shoulders, giving the illusion of an off-the-shoulder dress like Belle's original.


I also cut the skirt differently since I wanted more fullness. I almost made a circle skirt, but after chatting with a good sewing buddy she suggested just adding more skirt panels. Genius! I did narrow the top of each panel to accommodate the fact that there were more of them needing to be gathered and sewn to the bodice.


I also added a crinoline underneath, because what's a Belle dress without a lotta lotta poof? I admit, I took a shortcut here and used the crinoline I wore when I got married. It had already been borrowed one additional time after I wore it, so I figured it had been used plenty and could be sacrificed to the cause. I ended up simply cutting off the bottom tier and finishing those hems with my serger. Then I gathered the top portion and sewed elastic to it in order to fit my daughter's waist.


Even more brilliantly, I added snaps to the top of the crinoline and the skirt seam allowance, so the crinoline could snap to it and stay securely in place.


Finally, my last change was to NOT ruche the center-back of the skirt with elastic. This decision meant that the dress had a slight train. Any excess gathering that I was having trouble easing got put in the back of the dress as well.


I also made gloves. I can't say I followed a good tutorial, I kind of just hacked away at them until they fit. I did a combination of tracing a snow glove and tracing my daughter's arm. The gloves are made from jersey knit so they can stretch and move. The knit was in my stash and the color match isn't exact, but it's close enough for horse grenades (Parks and Rec anyone?). The costume satin I ordered from Mood and they sent me approximately 38 extra yards for no reason, which was awesome. I still have a ton left in case I want to make an army of Belles. With a matching yellow ribbon in her hair and her enchanted red rose, this costume was pretty much to die for, if I do say so myself.


Don't worry, baby H got in on the fun and wore AB's old Robin costume. Daddy dressed like Batman (I was sewing him a mask up until right before we left!) and I think most of the kids thought he was the actual Batman. Mommy...failed and didn't make anything for herself. Next year I won't be so neglectful of me!


Did you have a me-made Halloween or go the store-bought route? I can't say I'd blame anyone for buying a costume, they are so. much. work. to sew!

1 comment:

  1. That costume is absolutely wonderful - evidenced by AB's expression. Your extra touches, the nude fabric and the snaps for the skirt and crinoline - very clever! Love the last photo of your three - and you have an entire year to think up a costume for yourself, haha!

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