Thursday, November 1, 2012

Belle Blue Dress - Part 1

Without a doubt, the most popular costume commission I've gotten this year is the blue dress worn by Emilie de Ravin when she portrayed Belle in ABC's "Once Upon a Time." It's a fun dress and reasonably easy to draft a pattern for, but does take time. I made two of them for Halloween commissions, and I'll be taking you step by step through the process.

First off, good reference photos. I always request that my customers send me good, high quality reference photos of various angles of their chosen costume. This was probably the best for the detail in the dress, as it very clearly showed me the seamlines in the bodice, as well as the decorative embellishment on the blouse. 

My customer requested a few variations. In addition to the one above, she also wanted a longer skirt. My response? No problem! 

I used the awesome duct tape method I've referenced before to create the patterns for both the blouse and the bodice. They're slightly different lines, so I painted them on in different colors. First I cut the blouse lines, traced them onto pattern paper, than taped the form back together and recut on the bodice lines. Perfection.

As you can see, the blouse pieces were quite a bit larger than the bodice pieces!

For this version I used sew in interfacing, on the other version I used iron on. Either type works.

Boning was simple, as I just sewed it straight onto the lining/interfacing shell.

The quantity of boning depends very much on the type of fabric used, and the size and shape of the form. For this version, the fabric was relatively stiff and the form was small, so I used just six pieces. The other version was for a larger, curvier form and the fabric was slippery, so I used more.

What are those two green patches? Well, to avoid a 'uniboob' look you don't want the boning going all the way over the bust. however, if you're going to cut it off halfway, you have to cover the ends to keep it from poking the wearer. Hence the green.

I probably could have done the back without boning if I'd wanted, but I prefer to be safe on these matters.

Basting the inner and outer shells...

Oh, and here's the skirt! I made it on the same method as the uber simple skirts I've blogged about. Well, actually, I cut it out and my part-time assistant did the sewing. (I love delegating those never-ending hems...)

Ready to learn about eyelets and how to make that blouse? Check out parts 2 and 3!


  1. Do you happen to have a pattern for this? I've been looking for a way to make my own forever!

  2. I'm afraid I don't, I draft the pattern myself each time I make one.

  3. Would it be possible to commission a costume for Halloween? I would be willing to pay extra for the rushed time and the shipping.

  4. Could you make a list of things you used to make the costume so others can try


Welcome to the discussion! Please note that due to chronic illness, I am no longer taking commissions of any kind.

Thank you for being polite and profanity free :)