This costume has been a dream of mine for a very long time. But I was afraid to make it. She's so very iconic - one of the princesses who appears on EVERYTHING - and her dress is one of the most complex. Strapless bodice, the weird shoulders, and the giant ruched skirt. I started on this in summer of 2009 but gave up when I couldn't fit the boned bodice myself.
So I decided to pick it back up for AFest 2010. I finally felt like I had leveled up enough to tackle Belle's enormous ballgown. And what a surprise that my husband decided to make Beast to go along with!
The dress is made from at least 3 separate patterns: a gown pattern for the bodice/boning, my Peach skirt pattern, lengthened to 81" and then gathered for the skirt, and a children's Belle costume pattern for the skirt drapes. I made the collar pattern myself from scratch.
The collar and skirt are made from glitter Casa satin (and there is quilt batting inside the collar so it looks more puffy). The bodice is made from stretch satin (because of an attempt... and failure... to make matching gloves), interfaced to hold its shape better. There are glass pearl beads on the dress for decoration.
The hair started as a "ponytail puff" that I ordered online, designed as a hair addition that makes your bun look fuller. Basically a hairtie with hair around it, but hollow in the middle. So I took a styrofoam ball, cut it in half and sculpted the center to have a curve (using scissors!). Painted it brown, then used caulk to attach loose extensions to it. Then (nervous as heck) I attached the ponytail puff to the styrofoam using more caulk. Then I sprayed it liberally with Aquanet. It held!
For her bun... thingy... I have no idea what it's supposed to be. The Disney parks give her some kind of bow or flower thing, but I never liked the look of that. So I made a beaded circlet using pearl beads and floral wire. I think that looks much more elegant!
The shoes were dyeable champagne-colored shoes from Goodwill that I painted gold. I made a matching purse/bag from leftover fabric.
As for the Beast himself, I wound up doing a lot of work on him. I did all the painting on the face (touchups to the fur around the eyes and chin, the nose, the horns, and the lip), I made the eyes (buckram and spandex), I made the paws (with Sculpey claws), and helped a lot with the fitting of the body. As for the clothes, I made the jacket collar, the sleeve ruffles, and the cravat. I also helped with the fitting of the jacket itself.
1st place - 2D Animation (All-Con 2011), 2nd place overall (All-Con 2011), Judge's Award (AFest 2010)