Hello everyone, I hope you are all doing well. You probably don’t know this, but I have a YouTube channel . I have been wanting to make content for people for quite some time now ( almost 7 years really, yikes) and I’ve just now gotten the courage to do it. A while back, I made a video that I entitled Belle’s Look-book. At the time this video helped me to branch out in my cinematography as well, it was one of the first videos that helped me to branch out my content.
I had made a dress to showcase in the video with intentions of posting a part two video later on showing step by step how I made said dress. Unfortunately, this idea fell through and I feel it’s only fair for the people watching to be able to see how I made it. So I figured, what better place to post a D.I.Y Beauty and the Beast Inspired dress than here, on a blog. I do want to apologise for the mediocre photo’s that will accompany this tutorial. I hope to have a better set up in the future if I do any more D.I.Y styled posts. However, for today we are limited to the lower quality photo’s that I had saved from back when I did the Belle’s Look-book video. I hope you are still able to follow along.
Jumping right into it, the first thing I did while making the dress was to create a sketch of how I wanted it to look. I decided on the 2017 live-action Disney adaptation of Belle’s dress. The design of the dress is fairly straight forward with three main sections: the bustier, the skirt, and the apron. I will describe these in further detail later on.
The second thing I needed to do was to find the material I wanted my dress to be made of. I have a rather large collection of scrap or excess fabric, so I was able to sift through and find the patterns and materials that I would need for this project. The largest piece of fabric you will need is some sort of jersey or stretch cotton material. This will make up the entirety of the skirt as well as half of the top. I found that a lightweight fabric that had stretch worked best for this as it made it easier to move around in as well, it made construction of the dress much easier. Since the front of the top will be made out of thicker materials that maintains it’s shape, the use of a stretchy material on the backside will allow for fitting errors. Therefore, if you accidentally measured wrong, then the stretchy material will account for any minor errors in sizing and you will still be able to fit into the top. Be sure to pick a variety of different patterns and colours in your fabrics as Belle’s dress is meant to look pieced together.
Once we have all the things we need, we can start making our dress. I started with the skirt since I knew that this would take up the majority of my fabric. I thought a while on what kind of skirt to do, and finally I decided that I would cut out a rectangle and gather one side to fit my waist. This is a really simple way to make an a-line maxi skirt. The following picture shows the dimensions that I used. You want to skirt to start at your waist and end at your ankles. Remember to account for a half inch on each side for seam allowance and a hem. Hem one of the long edges. Then sew the two smaller edges together to create the back seam of the skirt.
Setting the skirt aside, I continued on making the top piece. Again I made a sketch of all the pieces I would need. The four pieces under the labels A and B in the following picture are cut out of the same material as the skirt. These pieces make up the back of the top. The pieces shown under the label C will be cut out of a floral material and will be used in making the front of the top.
To make the back section of the top, you will want to cut out the pieces under labels A and B. Once cut out, you want to pin and sew all four pieces together. They should be sewn together as shown in the picture below. Note, that if you want to add a zipper to your dress (this is optional) then you will want to use a large straight stitch down the centre back in order to apply an invisible zipper. (There are many fabulous tutorials on the internet that can show you how to sew an invisible zipper). Hem the top of the back pieces so that the raw edges are hidden.
Moving back to the patterns under label C, you may notice that there is a section of the pattern that is filled in. This means that a dart (a fold used to fit things better to the body or bust) will be used and thus we will need to account for the material that will be folded under. Again, there are many great tutorials on the internet that can show you how exactly to sew a dart.
After cutting out the pieces, we will sew the darts closed and sew the centre fronts together. On my patterns, this is the sides marked at 8 inches. Yes, the darts are pointing into the centre front. This may seem odd since most times the darts point outwards towards your side seams. However, the front of the top needs to look full and busty (for lack of a better word) and the inwards darts help to accomplish that. Once everything is sewn together you should have something that looks like this. Instead of just hemming the top edge, I decided to add a piece of elastic to the top so that it would hug the bust more naturally.
To add an elastic to an edge, you want to stretch your elastic along the edge of fabric and sew a zigzag stitch. If you want to finish off the edge, just simply fold the fabric over the elastic before sewing them together so the raw edge is hidden on the inside of the dress.
Now what you will want to do is sew the back of the top to the front of the top. Essentially you will want to sew the 9 inch sides of the two C pieces with the 9 inch sides of the B pieces. This should give you a complete top. Feel free to try on the top now to make sure everything fits.
In my design, there is a secondary piece to the front of the top. This piece is made out of a heavy material that will give shape to the bust area. Again I have drawn out a sketch as to what patterns I will need for this. On the left hand side, I will be cutting out the two patterns onto a heavy jean like canvas. The other two rectangular shapes will be cut out of the material used for the skirt and the back of the top. These will be the straps for the top.
After cutting the two pieces for the top out of the heavy material, you will want to sew them together along the center front. This is the side labelled 5 1/2 inch. Then continue to hem the curved top edges (labelled 8 inch), and the side edges (labelled 9 inches).
Once this is done, I went ahead and matched up the side seams of the top, with the side seams of the canvas piece. Once pinned in place, I straight stitched the two pieces together.
This should be the end product.
Taking the skirt we set aside earlier, we will attach the two pieces (top and skirt) together using a straight stitch. Match the right sides together, pin in place, and sew. Once the two pieces are attached, try on the dress and measure out where to attach the straps that we cut out earlier. The dress is now finished.
All that is left to do now is to complete the apron. To do this I cut out two rectangles of fabric, one slightly larger than the other. The type of material that you use doesn’t really matter for this, but I chose a cotton and a light fleece like material. The main thing you want is some kind of material that allows for movement.
After cutting out my pieces, I hemmed all four edges of each rectangle and sewed them onto a ribbon. For the placement of these pieces, I layered one rectangle slightly on top of the other and I also made several pleats along the top so that the material would fall nicely against the skirt.
Put everything together and the look is complete! I really hope that this tutorial was somewhat understandable and that you were able to follow along with what I was doing. There are quite a few steps, but for the most part, this can be done by beginner sewers. I think this look can be used for Halloween, Comic-on or perhaps just because you wanted to. Whatever the reason, I hope you all happy crafting!
Written, Photography and Created
By: Kelsey Alexandra