Belle’s Village Dress (Beauty and the Beast)

belle selfie

Completed: November 2013

Hours Spent: 17ish (including seam ripping hell)

Worn at: Austin Comic Con

Why This Costume: I love Belle’s nerdiness. She’s one of my favorite Disney princesses. Beauty and the Beast was constantly on in my household as a child, beat out only by The Little Mermaid. Shortly after making my Star Wars Cambie dress, I decided I wanted to make the straight neckline version, and I thought Belle would be a perfect fit!

How I made it: The dress itself is the Cambie, view B frankenstein-ed with a Simplicity bodice back and a self-made strap. I made a few minor alterations in addition to the straight neckline. I cut the front of the bodice in two to get that really noticeable center seam and I added 3” to the skirt length. I also nixed the skirt lining since I only plan to wear this dress with a petticoat (and didn’t have enough lining fabric to accommodate a full gathered skirt). The top is a Jasmine from Colette. I altered the collar and added 4” to the sleeves, though I should have added 6″. The shoes I already had in my closet. Everything else was made from scraps.

The wig is a lace-front Matilda from Arda in Spanish Brown. Man, the wig was a challenge. There are a lot of tutorials for styling Belle’s hair in her gold ballgown and most of her village dress hair tutorials used human hair. My hair is currently purple ombre, so no dice. I went through four stylings to get the final result, and I’m still not happy with it. I originally styled it on the Matilda because I liked the length, but I couldn’t get the bangs to poof enough. I tried again on my Jasmine from Arda, but it didn’t want to stay on without extra clips. I also had issues with my hairline showing at the bangs. I finally got it to work on my Matilda, using a combination of Arda’s gravity defying bangs tutorial and this tutorial for Belle’s hair. I’ll probably wash the wig and restyle it before wearing it to Ikkicon, if I don’t decide to make something else before then :P.

Also, I made a hollowed out book to use as a purse. If you attempt this, allow plenty of evenings for trying (3 for me), don’t add too much glue (clumps), and take your time with corners! Mine didn’t turn out as neat as I’d hoped, but it works and still looks cool in pictures. I added magnetic strips that I got at Wal-Mart for $.99 to make sure it wouldn’t fall open on accident.

Thoughts on this costume: I’m so happy I could be a Disney princess! That’s been on my cosplay wish list for a while. This is also a very comfortable costume. So comfortable, in fact, that I think I’m going to make a couple more costume Cambies. Fluttershy and Wonder Woman for sure, but I may have to also throw in a Harley Quinn (I really want to play with two-tone coloring. Maybe a Harley fan would want one as a gift?).

This costume did remind me to take my time with projects, though. Initially, I tried to rush through it in one day, and wound up mucking up measurements, which lead me to think I would have to scrap the project. Fortunately, I found extra yardage of my dress fabric while on a notion run! You can read about the craziness here, here, and here. I’d definitely like to fix some things when I have time, like the collar of the shirt and restyle the wig, but I’m pleased with it.

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this costume at Austin Comic Con. So many little kids (and adults) wanted hugs and pictures. I was really happy about the reception! I’ll post more pics when I get them.

Also, I entered into a costume contest. Head over to this link and “like” my picture if you like my costume!

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