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Deconstructing Belle: Beauty and the Beast Costume Analysis

Updated on June 30, 2014

Deconstructing Belle

This is a costume analysis for Belle of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Belle has 4 different costumes: her blue dress worn around town, her green dress worn in the snow and later the library, her pink dress worn outside during "Something There", and her yellow ball gown. Please feel free to use these details and suggestions when creating your own costume for dress-up fun or cosplay.

All images used were captured from Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast, released in 1991. I do not own nor pretend to own the rights to these images. They merely appear here for reference and remain the property of Walt Disney pictures.

Belle's Blue Dress

DRESS:

Belle's blue dress is rather simple. Square neckline with about 1 1/2" thick straps. Center seam down the front of the dress which comes to a V in the front (though rarely seen since Belle so often wears an apron). The back is a mirror image of the front, also with a square line and a center seam that's an ideal location for a zipper.

The skirt is deceivingly full, laying relatively flat when Belle stands still, but expanding quite a bit as Belle sails through the town. There are no apparent gathers at the waistline, so the skirt pieces must be cut to fit and expand out gradually. The dress is calf-length.

SHIRT:

Belle wears a white shirt underneath her dress. The sleeves are 3/4 and do not go all the way down to the wrist, but rather end at Belle's forearm in a rather thick 2-3" wide band. There is some fullness to the sleeves, which should result in slight gathers where the sleeve meets the band.

PETTICOAT:

Belle wears a one layer petticoat with scalloped edging reminiscent of eyelet. The petticoat is only about 1" or 2" shorter than the blue dress, so it will be seen easily with movement.

ACCESSORIES:

Belle's shoes are simple black flats with no heel. She is also often seen holding a blue book, which would be an excellent prop.

She wears a simple white apron which ties around her waist. The apron hits around knee-length or just below. Looks to be about 5" from the hem of the skirt.

Belle's Blue Dress

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Square neckline with about 1 1/2" thick straps.  Center seam down the front of the dress.  Sleeves are 3/4 and do not go all the way down to the wrist.A little more detail in the collar seen here.This shot shows Belle's dress without the apron.  Reveals a V-front to the bodice, as opposed to the more rounded look given while wearing the apron.Back view of the dress shows a neckline very similar to the front  - a mirror image, or perhaps the back is just slightly higher than the front.  Also a center seam down the back, which is the perfect place for a hidden zipper.Back view of Belle without the apron shows a rounded back at the waistline.  No apparent gathers in the skirt.Belle's petticoat.  One layer with scalloped edging.Belle's petticoat.  This shot shows that the petticoat is only about an inch or two shorter than the blue dress, so it will readily be seen with movement.  If you look closely, you can also see small holes near the edging, indicating an eyelet sort oBelle's shoes.  Simple black flats with no heel.  Color in this picture looks brown, but this is just Lumiere's lighting.  If compared with shots of Belle in the daylight, the shoes are black, which is consistent with how Disney presents Belle at theShows 3/4 sleeve has slight gathers where the sleeve meets the band, indicating a fuller sleeve.  The band is rather thick (maybe 2-3") around Belle's forearm.A design sketch of Belle's blue dress.
Square neckline with about 1 1/2" thick straps.  Center seam down the front of the dress.  Sleeves are 3/4 and do not go all the way down to the wrist.
Square neckline with about 1 1/2" thick straps. Center seam down the front of the dress. Sleeves are 3/4 and do not go all the way down to the wrist.
A little more detail in the collar seen here.
A little more detail in the collar seen here.
This shot shows Belle's dress without the apron.  Reveals a V-front to the bodice, as opposed to the more rounded look given while wearing the apron.
This shot shows Belle's dress without the apron. Reveals a V-front to the bodice, as opposed to the more rounded look given while wearing the apron.
Back view of the dress shows a neckline very similar to the front  - a mirror image, or perhaps the back is just slightly higher than the front.  Also a center seam down the back, which is the perfect place for a hidden zipper.
Back view of the dress shows a neckline very similar to the front - a mirror image, or perhaps the back is just slightly higher than the front. Also a center seam down the back, which is the perfect place for a hidden zipper.
Back view of Belle without the apron shows a rounded back at the waistline.  No apparent gathers in the skirt.
Back view of Belle without the apron shows a rounded back at the waistline. No apparent gathers in the skirt.
Belle's petticoat.  One layer with scalloped edging.
Belle's petticoat. One layer with scalloped edging.
Belle's petticoat.  This shot shows that the petticoat is only about an inch or two shorter than the blue dress, so it will readily be seen with movement.  If you look closely, you can also see small holes near the edging, indicating an eyelet sort o
Belle's petticoat. This shot shows that the petticoat is only about an inch or two shorter than the blue dress, so it will readily be seen with movement. If you look closely, you can also see small holes near the edging, indicating an eyelet sort o
Belle's shoes.  Simple black flats with no heel.  Color in this picture looks brown, but this is just Lumiere's lighting.  If compared with shots of Belle in the daylight, the shoes are black, which is consistent with how Disney presents Belle at the
Belle's shoes. Simple black flats with no heel. Color in this picture looks brown, but this is just Lumiere's lighting. If compared with shots of Belle in the daylight, the shoes are black, which is consistent with how Disney presents Belle at the
Shows 3/4 sleeve has slight gathers where the sleeve meets the band, indicating a fuller sleeve.  The band is rather thick (maybe 2-3") around Belle's forearm.
Shows 3/4 sleeve has slight gathers where the sleeve meets the band, indicating a fuller sleeve. The band is rather thick (maybe 2-3") around Belle's forearm.
A design sketch of Belle's blue dress.
A design sketch of Belle's blue dress.

Other Designs

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A sketch from Beauty and the Beast on Broadway.  Some embellishments planned when Belle was placed on stage.  Also notice the switch from ballet-style flats to these mary jane shoes.A screen shot of the character Belle in ABC's show "Once Upon a Time."  They clearly paid homage to Disney's costumes, but made them more authentic to the time period portrayed in the show.  Here, the blue dress is designed as a more renaissance stylHere showing a different sleeve used on "Once Upon a Time".  Sorry I don't have more shots to show the rest of the dress, but it's a v-shaped, lace-up bodice with full skirt.  The shirt was what I especially liked.  They kept the collar design the saCostume from Broadway shows many changes from the movie version.  They shortened Belle's sleeves to end just above the elbow, changed the fabric and added many details, including a ruffle on the bottom of Belle's skirt.Another Broadway shot shows they changed from a blue dress to more of a two-piece look with a bustier and skirt.  The apron does not tie over the dress, but rather the bustier extends past it, so it looks like it's sewn right into the costume.  They Here's a shot from the Beauty and the Beast show at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. The theme-park implementation of this dress is rather flashy. They use a very bright shade of blue in a shiny fabric that appears to be some kind of satin.  Th
A sketch from Beauty and the Beast on Broadway.  Some embellishments planned when Belle was placed on stage.  Also notice the switch from ballet-style flats to these mary jane shoes.
A sketch from Beauty and the Beast on Broadway. Some embellishments planned when Belle was placed on stage. Also notice the switch from ballet-style flats to these mary jane shoes.
A screen shot of the character Belle in ABC's show "Once Upon a Time."  They clearly paid homage to Disney's costumes, but made them more authentic to the time period portrayed in the show.  Here, the blue dress is designed as a more renaissance styl
A screen shot of the character Belle in ABC's show "Once Upon a Time." They clearly paid homage to Disney's costumes, but made them more authentic to the time period portrayed in the show. Here, the blue dress is designed as a more renaissance styl
Here showing a different sleeve used on "Once Upon a Time".  Sorry I don't have more shots to show the rest of the dress, but it's a v-shaped, lace-up bodice with full skirt.  The shirt was what I especially liked.  They kept the collar design the sa
Here showing a different sleeve used on "Once Upon a Time". Sorry I don't have more shots to show the rest of the dress, but it's a v-shaped, lace-up bodice with full skirt. The shirt was what I especially liked. They kept the collar design the sa
Costume from Broadway shows many changes from the movie version.  They shortened Belle's sleeves to end just above the elbow, changed the fabric and added many details, including a ruffle on the bottom of Belle's skirt.
Costume from Broadway shows many changes from the movie version. They shortened Belle's sleeves to end just above the elbow, changed the fabric and added many details, including a ruffle on the bottom of Belle's skirt.
Another Broadway shot shows they changed from a blue dress to more of a two-piece look with a bustier and skirt.  The apron does not tie over the dress, but rather the bustier extends past it, so it looks like it's sewn right into the costume.  They
Another Broadway shot shows they changed from a blue dress to more of a two-piece look with a bustier and skirt. The apron does not tie over the dress, but rather the bustier extends past it, so it looks like it's sewn right into the costume. They
Here's a shot from the Beauty and the Beast show at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. The theme-park implementation of this dress is rather flashy. They use a very bright shade of blue in a shiny fabric that appears to be some kind of satin.  Th
Here's a shot from the Beauty and the Beast show at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. The theme-park implementation of this dress is rather flashy. They use a very bright shade of blue in a shiny fabric that appears to be some kind of satin. Th

Blue Cape - worn with blue dress and green dress

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The cape does not include any sleeves - just clasps in the front and hangs down the back.  Hood included, though she is rarely shown with the hood up.As you see here, it is a full-length cape. Based on the length of her dress, I'd say the cape comes down about knee-length, or slightly below the knee.Belle's blue cape is a light navy blue.  If deciding between fabric, I would lean more towards a blue shade than a black-navy.  Shown here, it has a simple button clasp of a light color, perhaps made of wood.Shown here with the green dress, with the hood up.  Rounded hoop shape - not pointy.
The cape does not include any sleeves - just clasps in the front and hangs down the back.  Hood included, though she is rarely shown with the hood up.
The cape does not include any sleeves - just clasps in the front and hangs down the back. Hood included, though she is rarely shown with the hood up.
As you see here, it is a full-length cape. Based on the length of her dress, I'd say the cape comes down about knee-length, or slightly below the knee.
As you see here, it is a full-length cape. Based on the length of her dress, I'd say the cape comes down about knee-length, or slightly below the knee.
Belle's blue cape is a light navy blue.  If deciding between fabric, I would lean more towards a blue shade than a black-navy.  Shown here, it has a simple button clasp of a light color, perhaps made of wood.
Belle's blue cape is a light navy blue. If deciding between fabric, I would lean more towards a blue shade than a black-navy. Shown here, it has a simple button clasp of a light color, perhaps made of wood.
Shown here with the green dress, with the hood up.  Rounded hoop shape - not pointy.
Shown here with the green dress, with the hood up. Rounded hoop shape - not pointy.

Patterns - Belle's Blue Dress

As of Spring 2012, there are no patterns that directly match Belle's Blue Dress. Those proficient at sewing can likely make up their own, and there are many tutorials online from others who have done so. I personally find it easier to start with a base pattern and make my modifications from there, and I've found the following patterns to help.

For adults, I found New Look 6020 to be a very close replica. The bodice should come to a "v" in the front instead of the round waistline on the pattern (to be accurate, although if you plan on wearing it with the apron it won't matter). The back neckline also needs to be adjusted to a square like the front, and the overall hem of the skirt lowered, but, like I said, a nice starter. Butterick 4443 is fairly similar, with same rounded waistline. Would need to adjust the neckline to match Belle's, but skirt looks perfect. Another possible option is Simplicity 2917. There is no waistline, but with the apron you should be in good shape. I like that it includes the center seam down the front, but also additional bodice seams for shaping.

For the shirt, Simplicity 2151 seems to be a nice match, just lose the bow, and sleeves might possibly be too much fabric at the cuff. The sleeves in Simplicity 2917 are a closer match, or check your stock of patterns and you might find another you like. Colette Patterns 1018 is another option. It is a bias-cut blouse, but I love that it doesn't button down the front - designed to pull over your head.

New Look sewing pattern 6020: Misses' Dresses & Purse size A (8-10-12-14-16-18)
New Look sewing pattern 6020: Misses' Dresses & Purse size A (8-10-12-14-16-18)

Hands down my #1 pick to get you started. Few adjustments needed, and available in sizes 8-18.

 
Simplicity Sewing Pattern 2151: Misses' and Miss Petite Amazing Fit Tops, Size H5 (6-8-10-12-14)
Simplicity Sewing Pattern 2151: Misses' and Miss Petite Amazing Fit Tops, Size H5 (6-8-10-12-14)

Very close replica of Belle's white blouse. Use blouse View "A" with the sleeves from "B" or another sleeve pattern you like.

 
Colette Patterns Jasmine Blouse Pattern
Colette Patterns Jasmine Blouse Pattern

Another nice option for Belle, and comes in sizes 0-18. Bonus is that it is designed as a pull-over (no buttons, zippers, etc). Rated easy.

 

For children's patterns, I think the closest is Butterick 5743. It uses a rounded waistline instead of the v-shape in the front, but honestly I'd prefer that in a child's pattern anyway. Doesn't need many adjustments. Butterick 4718 is another good one, and is the pattern I used for my child's costume. See details on what I changed on the pattern, but it basically boils down to adjustments to create or avoid seam lines to better match Belle. If you really want the v-shaped waist, look at Simplicity 2843 D, but you'd have to adjust the skirt to get rid of all those gathers.

It is surprisingly difficult to find a blouse pattern for kids. Seriously, I think the closest I came was Simplicity 3669 for button-down pajamas. I stumbled around for quite some time before finally realizing a dress pattern would actually be better. Instead of making a separate petticoat to wear with the blouse, I could use the skirt of the dress as the petticoat, and just make the top of the dress look like Belle's blouse. Since a child can't handle too low-cut of a shirt, and I was dealing with a collared neckline, I determined buttons down the front would be the best way to go. Simplicity 5226 offered just that - a dress that buttoned down the front. To get the neckline just right from scratch, I traced the pattern pieces and sketched out the shape from there. Used the sleeves from Simplicity 9497 (option D), shortened them a tad and added a cuff.

Butterick Patterns B5743 Children's/Girl's Dress, Size CDD (2-3-4-5)
Butterick Patterns B5743 Children's/Girl's Dress, Size CDD (2-3-4-5)

Available in children's sizes 2-5, and 6-8. View "B" is practically perfect, ignoring bow and top-stitching. Wish I found this pattern before I made mine...

 
Butterick Patterns B4718 Children's/Girls' Dress, Size CL (6-7-8)
Butterick Patterns B4718 Children's/Girls' Dress, Size CL (6-7-8)

Available in children's sizes 2-5, and 6-8. Skirt is perfect (not too much, not too little). Pattern requires few adjustments to match Belle's.

 
Simplicity Sewing Pattern 5226 Child Dresses, A (3-4-5-6-7-8)
Simplicity Sewing Pattern 5226 Child Dresses, A (3-4-5-6-7-8)

My choice for the blouse, since for a kid you can just make the rest of the dress as Belle's petticoat, which is easier to wear than separate pieces.

 

Construction for Belle's Blue Dress

child's costume

I used Butterick 4718 for the basic shape of the dress, but that required several adjustments. The straps on the pattern are gathered a bit at the ends, so I adjusted the size for a straight strap. Also, the straps are separate pieces, so I lined up the pattern pieces and cut them all in one piece to avoid a seam line. The pattern also does not have a seam down the front of the dress, but that was easily remedied. Probably best to cut a separate piece and add 5/8" seam allowance, but I forgot to do that when I was cutting, so just added a very small stitch to give the impression of a seam line down the center (see pics).

The blouse was more difficult, as nothing with this neckline existed, and I had a great deal of difficulty even finding a general blouse pattern in a child's size. I settled on a button-down dress pattern (Simplicity 5226), and realized in the process that a dress would actually be better than a separate blouse. I could use the skirt of the dress as the petticoat, and just make the top of the dress look like Belle's blouse - now the costume is 2 pieces instead of 3. To get the neckline just right from scratch, I traced the pattern pieces and sketched out the shape from there. Used the sleeves from Simplicity 9497, shortened them a tad and added a cuff.

The apron was very straight forward. Cut a rectangle the appropriate size, then measured the length for the ties.

I used a 100% cotton fabric for the dress - from the Country Classics collection available at Jo-ann Fabrics. I went with a Sateen cotton for the white blouse for a higher-quality look and feel. Blouse has basic white buttons at sleeves and down the blouse front (otherwise you can't get it on an off). I ended up adding snaps at the top of the shoulders to hold the blue dress in place because it kept slipping off my daughter's shoulders. Not sure if that would be a problem on a grown woman though.

I also made the blue cape that Belle wears when she tries to escape in the woods. For a child, I used cape pattern McCalls 4703, and it was perfect. Only adjustment was I didn't make the armholes, and instead of a hook and eye closure, I made a button hole. Found the perfect large round wooden button at my local fabric store, but couldn't find it online to share. It was from Belle Buttons by Dritz, 28mm, item #BB313 per the button card. I used navy blue velour for the outside of the cape, and blue flannel for the inside to add some extra stability and warmth.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Front view. Collar is a little skewed in the picture, but usually lays flat.ProfileBackI made the bottom layer all one dress to make it easier to wear.Front view of the bottom layer - combined the blouse top and skirt so the blouse wouldn't shift or get untucked during wear. Also means I didn't have to make a petticoat.Close up of the front. I needed buttons, otherwise it would have been impossible to get on and off. The Belle you meet at Disney World also has buttons on her blouse.Oops! Forgot to cut a center seam when laying out my fabric. No worries - just made a small tuck and added my own center "seam".Front, shown with my makeshift center seam. Also note shoulder straps cut as one with bodice so as to avoid seam lines across the top.Blue cape. Standard pattern - no adjustments needed. Used velour on the outside, and blue flannel on the inside for warmth.Love that button - it's just like in the movie! This one is a 28mm wooden button.ProfileBack of cape. Love how the hood lays!
Front view. Collar is a little skewed in the picture, but usually lays flat.
Front view. Collar is a little skewed in the picture, but usually lays flat.
Profile
Profile
Back
Back
I made the bottom layer all one dress to make it easier to wear.
I made the bottom layer all one dress to make it easier to wear.
Front view of the bottom layer - combined the blouse top and skirt so the blouse wouldn't shift or get untucked during wear. Also means I didn't have to make a petticoat.
Front view of the bottom layer - combined the blouse top and skirt so the blouse wouldn't shift or get untucked during wear. Also means I didn't have to make a petticoat.
Close up of the front. I needed buttons, otherwise it would have been impossible to get on and off. The Belle you meet at Disney World also has buttons on her blouse.
Close up of the front. I needed buttons, otherwise it would have been impossible to get on and off. The Belle you meet at Disney World also has buttons on her blouse.
Oops! Forgot to cut a center seam when laying out my fabric. No worries - just made a small tuck and added my own center "seam".
Oops! Forgot to cut a center seam when laying out my fabric. No worries - just made a small tuck and added my own center "seam".
Front, shown with my makeshift center seam. Also note shoulder straps cut as one with bodice so as to avoid seam lines across the top.
Front, shown with my makeshift center seam. Also note shoulder straps cut as one with bodice so as to avoid seam lines across the top.
Blue cape. Standard pattern - no adjustments needed. Used velour on the outside, and blue flannel on the inside for warmth.
Blue cape. Standard pattern - no adjustments needed. Used velour on the outside, and blue flannel on the inside for warmth.
Love that button - it's just like in the movie! This one is a 28mm wooden button.
Love that button - it's just like in the movie! This one is a 28mm wooden button.
Profile
Profile
Back of cape. Love how the hood lays!
Back of cape. Love how the hood lays!

Belle's Green Dress

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I just love Belle's green dress.  Possibly my favorite one.The dress is full length, likely designed to graze the top of Belle' shoes (which you barely ever see, but they appear to be ballet flats).  The dress contains 3, maybe even 4 different shadA closer shot of the bodice shows a V-front, with a darker green color used on the bodice only.  The sleeves go all the way to the wrist (Belle's only fully long-sleeve dress).  The color on the sleeves is the same as the trim along the waist, top boBack shot of the dress.  Suddenly, the dress is less full and shorter than what was shown in the snow.  Inconsistent, yes, but I suppose Disney didn't want to show bare legs in the snow, but wanted the dress to appear more casual in the library to coInteresting shot here, as it shows a high back to the dress which, in all other views, shows a low, straight back cut that matches the front.  It also shows a rounded back waistline.  Green bow in the hair appears to match the trim/lower sleeve colorAnother back shot, this one different from #2.  The shaded room helps differentiate the green colors a little better.  This shot also is the best one to show how the sleeve connects to the bodice.  It's almost like a strapless dress with sleeves connIncluded this image to show the sleeve.  You can see there is a band around the wrist, but it's the same color as the bottom of the sleeve.  The puff sleeve connects to a tighter-fit long sleeve.
I just love Belle's green dress.  Possibly my favorite one.The dress is full length, likely designed to graze the top of Belle' shoes (which you barely ever see, but they appear to be ballet flats).  The dress contains 3, maybe even 4 different shad
I just love Belle's green dress. Possibly my favorite one. The dress is full length, likely designed to graze the top of Belle' shoes (which you barely ever see, but they appear to be ballet flats). The dress contains 3, maybe even 4 different shad
A closer shot of the bodice shows a V-front, with a darker green color used on the bodice only.  The sleeves go all the way to the wrist (Belle's only fully long-sleeve dress).  The color on the sleeves is the same as the trim along the waist, top bo
A closer shot of the bodice shows a V-front, with a darker green color used on the bodice only. The sleeves go all the way to the wrist (Belle's only fully long-sleeve dress). The color on the sleeves is the same as the trim along the waist, top bo
Back shot of the dress.  Suddenly, the dress is less full and shorter than what was shown in the snow.  Inconsistent, yes, but I suppose Disney didn't want to show bare legs in the snow, but wanted the dress to appear more casual in the library to co
Back shot of the dress. Suddenly, the dress is less full and shorter than what was shown in the snow. Inconsistent, yes, but I suppose Disney didn't want to show bare legs in the snow, but wanted the dress to appear more casual in the library to co
Interesting shot here, as it shows a high back to the dress which, in all other views, shows a low, straight back cut that matches the front.  It also shows a rounded back waistline.  Green bow in the hair appears to match the trim/lower sleeve color
Interesting shot here, as it shows a high back to the dress which, in all other views, shows a low, straight back cut that matches the front. It also shows a rounded back waistline. Green bow in the hair appears to match the trim/lower sleeve color
Another back shot, this one different from #2.  The shaded room helps differentiate the green colors a little better.  This shot also is the best one to show how the sleeve connects to the bodice.  It's almost like a strapless dress with sleeves conn
Another back shot, this one different from #2. The shaded room helps differentiate the green colors a little better. This shot also is the best one to show how the sleeve connects to the bodice. It's almost like a strapless dress with sleeves conn
Included this image to show the sleeve.  You can see there is a band around the wrist, but it's the same color as the bottom of the sleeve.  The puff sleeve connects to a tighter-fit long sleeve.
Included this image to show the sleeve. You can see there is a band around the wrist, but it's the same color as the bottom of the sleeve. The puff sleeve connects to a tighter-fit long sleeve.

Patterns - Belle's Green Dress

These sleeves appear in many renaissance costume patterns, so I won't bother to list them all. Many of them also include a V bodice, so all that's needed is to change the neckline. See below Butterick 5440. Another bodice option is Simplicity 4092. Also look at McCalls 3436 for a nice strapless top that should be easy to convert. See also New Look 6480, which is a Juniors pattern, but goes up to size 13/14.

For a child's dress, I think a young child would have a hard time wearing Belle's dress as it's designed. With no chest to help support the bodice, and since the sleeves are barely on the shoulder, more is needed to hold up the weight of the skirt for an active child. I really like Simplicity 2463 for this reason. It offers the option of a separate color above the bodice line, so you could use a white or light green sheer and still get the same look, but it won't fall down. Also, I know my children prefer short sleeves for dress-up, so when making my version I will use a puff sleeve only. See also Burda 2480 and 2463.

McCall's Patterns M5954 Misses'/Children's/Girls' Storybook Costumes, Size MISS (SML-MED-LRG-XLG)
McCall's Patterns M5954 Misses'/Children's/Girls' Storybook Costumes, Size MISS (SML-MED-LRG-XLG)

Easier pattern, but requires some mofications. Sleeves look like they'll work with possibly a bit more fullness on top.

 

Belle's Pink Snow Dress - "Something There" snow dress

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here showing the waistline in a rounded formation, not the V that was seen in the previous shot. Disney sure wasn't making things easy for cosplayers in the 1990s!This shot also shows that center fabric going all the way down to meet a ruffled layerThis shows the length of her red cape. It goes all the way down to her feet, so make it the same length as her dress. White fur trim around bottom edges and the hood. No sleeves on the cape, although there is a separate poncho-like section.This shows a close-up of the waistline on the dress, although inconsistent with other images. The top appears to come to a V here (as is consistent with all of Belle's dresses). However, other shots show it as a rounded waistline. It'd say you're safWe see the neckline and a tiny glimpse of Belle's shoes. I'm guessing more ballet flats - Belle apparently was not into heels or even boots. These look dark pink, similar to the bodice color.What a skirt! Surprised by the nice fullness here when Belle sits down. You can see that ruffled hem goes all the way around the bottom of the skirt. Cape hanging up in the background.I'll also take a moment to talk about colors. It looks like thereProfile shows Belle's sleeves. The sleeve ends just above her elbow, with the ruffle coming down maybe 4". You can also see the side of her dress under the armpit - nothing special here, but every detail is nice.Close up of top neckline. The bodice is best built as a v-neck, so as to attach the top collar section securely. A lightweight fabric is best used here.This picture also shows slightly different shades of pink from the earlier images. Here, it looksFront of the cape. Hood comes into a slight V where the seams meet. Hood has rounded head - not pointy in the back.Hood off, still keeps it's shape for the most part, so this indicates a rather thick fabric. If you look at the shot of Belle by the fireplace, the cape is hanging up in the background. It hangs rather lightly, so doesn't look like it's made of wool Here's the rounded-waistline version. See what I mean? Decisions, decisions.
Here showing the waistline in a rounded formation, not the V that was seen in the previous shot. Disney sure wasn't making things easy for cosplayers in the 1990s!This shot also shows that center fabric going all the way down to meet a ruffled layer
Here showing the waistline in a rounded formation, not the V that was seen in the previous shot. Disney sure wasn't making things easy for cosplayers in the 1990s! This shot also shows that center fabric going all the way down to meet a ruffled layer
This shows the length of her red cape. It goes all the way down to her feet, so make it the same length as her dress. White fur trim around bottom edges and the hood. No sleeves on the cape, although there is a separate poncho-like section.
This shows the length of her red cape. It goes all the way down to her feet, so make it the same length as her dress. White fur trim around bottom edges and the hood. No sleeves on the cape, although there is a separate poncho-like section.
This shows a close-up of the waistline on the dress, although inconsistent with other images. The top appears to come to a V here (as is consistent with all of Belle's dresses). However, other shots show it as a rounded waistline. It'd say you're saf
This shows a close-up of the waistline on the dress, although inconsistent with other images. The top appears to come to a V here (as is consistent with all of Belle's dresses). However, other shots show it as a rounded waistline. It'd say you're saf
We see the neckline and a tiny glimpse of Belle's shoes. I'm guessing more ballet flats - Belle apparently was not into heels or even boots. These look dark pink, similar to the bodice color.
We see the neckline and a tiny glimpse of Belle's shoes. I'm guessing more ballet flats - Belle apparently was not into heels or even boots. These look dark pink, similar to the bodice color.
What a skirt! Surprised by the nice fullness here when Belle sits down. You can see that ruffled hem goes all the way around the bottom of the skirt. Cape hanging up in the background.I'll also take a moment to talk about colors. It looks like there
What a skirt! Surprised by the nice fullness here when Belle sits down. You can see that ruffled hem goes all the way around the bottom of the skirt. Cape hanging up in the background. I'll also take a moment to talk about colors. It looks like there
Profile shows Belle's sleeves. The sleeve ends just above her elbow, with the ruffle coming down maybe 4". You can also see the side of her dress under the armpit - nothing special here, but every detail is nice.
Profile shows Belle's sleeves. The sleeve ends just above her elbow, with the ruffle coming down maybe 4". You can also see the side of her dress under the armpit - nothing special here, but every detail is nice.
Close up of top neckline. The bodice is best built as a v-neck, so as to attach the top collar section securely. A lightweight fabric is best used here.This picture also shows slightly different shades of pink from the earlier images. Here, it looks
Close up of top neckline. The bodice is best built as a v-neck, so as to attach the top collar section securely. A lightweight fabric is best used here. This picture also shows slightly different shades of pink from the earlier images. Here, it looks
Front of the cape. Hood comes into a slight V where the seams meet. Hood has rounded head - not pointy in the back.
Front of the cape. Hood comes into a slight V where the seams meet. Hood has rounded head - not pointy in the back.
Hood off, still keeps it's shape for the most part, so this indicates a rather thick fabric. If you look at the shot of Belle by the fireplace, the cape is hanging up in the background. It hangs rather lightly, so doesn't look like it's made of wool
Hood off, still keeps it's shape for the most part, so this indicates a rather thick fabric. If you look at the shot of Belle by the fireplace, the cape is hanging up in the background. It hangs rather lightly, so doesn't look like it's made of wool
Here's the rounded-waistline version. See what I mean? Decisions, decisions.
Here's the rounded-waistline version. See what I mean? Decisions, decisions.

Patterns - Belle's Pink Dress

Dress: I like Butterick 5641. The neckline easily lends itself to creating that fuller look in Belle's version. Burda 7466 has a very similar collar to Belle's, but I personally don't think an entire pattern is needed just for that.

For the sleeves, I like McCalls 6139. Many others will work, such as Burda 8198.

For the Cape, McCalls 4139 fits the bill.

McCall's Patterns M6139 Misses'/Children's/Girls' American Colonial Costumes, Size MISS (SML-MED-LRG-XLG)
McCall's Patterns M6139 Misses'/Children's/Girls' American Colonial Costumes, Size MISS (SML-MED-LRG-XLG)

Sleeves for children or adults. Child sizes 3-8, Adult sizing Small-Large.

 

For a child's pattern, Simplicity 3725-D needs only a few adjustments. You can also try Butterick 4320-A or Simplicity 4764. Some adjustments need to be made, but honestly they are all decent starting patterns. McCalls 4703 for the coat. One option is a poncho-like coat, which can be made to fit over the traditional coat to recreate Belle's look.

McCall's Patterns M4703 Children's/Girls' Lined Capelets and Capes, Size CL (6-7-8)
McCall's Patterns M4703 Children's/Girls' Lined Capelets and Capes, Size CL (6-7-8)

Great cape option, as you can combine both the short cape and the long cape all in one.

 

Construction for Belle's Pink Snow Dress

child's costume

Winter trip to Disney world? Yes please! It was the perfect opportunity I had been waiting for to create Belle's pink dress and cape, even if it doesn't snow in Florida.

I used Butterick 3725 as my starting point. Instead of the gathered skirt, I put in pleats. It was very difficult to find all the complimentary shades of pink I needed for this dress. I like fabric.com because you can compare several fabrics on a design wall in a separate window, and arrange them however you wish to see which fabrics go well together. After a failed attempt to match a mail order mauve to the pinks I had already purchased locally, I decided to just buy everything at fabric.com. My final dress uses broadcloth cottons in Orchid for the skirt and sleeves, Dusty Pink for the collar, stripes, and trim, but I stuck with my original plumberry Symphony Broadcloth I bought at Joann Fabrics for the bodice, since it matched the other pinks just fine. I've also noticed recently that Joann.com offers a wide array of colors in their Kona Cotton solids line - most available only online, but way more than what was offered when I made this dress. Just another option for you.

The collar was probably the most challenging part of this dress, just because it required a lot of playing around to get it right. I decided it was best to tack it down in just a few places instead of solid stitches, as this best kept the loose look that Belle has in the movie. I stitched a few folds in place, just a few stitches each to hold the fold, then stitched the entire collar down at the center of the neckline and again halfway to the shoulders and at the shoulders. Leave it loose in the back so it doesn't interfere with the zipper, and it's easier to get on and off.

If the collar was challenging, the cape proved to be the most frustrating. Go figure. The pattern I used (McCalls 4703) folded in several inches before attaching to the lining, creating a panel ideal for buttons and for keeping the cape in place, but not ideal for adding fur trim between the seams. I also didn't like how it looked with a full cape down the front, and it was so bulky my daughter didn't even want to wear it. So I mercilessly hacked away until I was left with just the back of the cape and the curve of the shoulders. By that time I had already serged the seams at the top and didn't want to redo that just to add lining back in, but fortunately the fabric didn't really need it at all, and the only visible seam was down the back.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Front view. The contrast pink stripes were doubled strips of fabric sewn right on to the front of the dress. Whether you use a v-front pattern or one with a rounded waistline, you can place the strips at an angle to create the look of a v-shaped waisClose up of the front. The stripes were made by sewing long strips together into a tube, then pressed flat, similar to how you'd make a tie around the waist. I then top-stitched them down extremely close to the edge.Ruffle sleeves, straight from the pattern piece.The pink collar was not attached all around - just at the front, again about 3/4 up the bodice, and lastly at the top of the shoulder. This helped it stay in place, but allowed me to get a more natural look with the pleats.Back of the pink collar. I wanted to create the pleated look all around, but it ended up looking forced. This picture shows a more historical look, but since it's not tacked down in the back (to allow for the zipper), it can be folded differently eveFull back viewPink dress shown with the cape. Not everyone recognized the dress at first, but once the cape was added, it was crystal clear!Side view. You can see here how the cape doesn't wrap around the front like her blue cape does, it just hangs down the back so as not to cover too much of the dress.Back of cape. Fur trim goes around the hood and the top cape only, then along the bottom of the long cape.The cape pattern wraps around the shoulders and comes down the front, but when I tried that, it just looked wrong, and covered too much of the dress. I still wanted it to come around the shoulders, so I ended up trimming the fabric right to the curveClose up of the hood and how it attaches to the rest. It got very bulky with the hood, top short cape, and then the bottom cape. Had to serge it all together just to reduce the bulk. Hood is lined, and rest of the cape would have been too if I hadn'tLove this fur trim with a touch of sparkle and a bias strip attached right to it. Only problem was that on this particular cape pattern, there wasn't a seam to stick the tape into - the top of the fabric folded over and then attached to the lining. KHere's the lining that was attached to the entire cape. Had to ditch it after a redesign, but it wasn't really needed.Finished product, posing in front of France at Walt Disney World's EPCOT park, right where Belle belongs.Disney Belle was very excited to meet "mini-Belle", all dressed for winter. Seeing Disney cast members' reactions to these unique costumes is the biggest driving force to keep making them again and again.
Front view. The contrast pink stripes were doubled strips of fabric sewn right on to the front of the dress. Whether you use a v-front pattern or one with a rounded waistline, you can place the strips at an angle to create the look of a v-shaped wais
Front view. The contrast pink stripes were doubled strips of fabric sewn right on to the front of the dress. Whether you use a v-front pattern or one with a rounded waistline, you can place the strips at an angle to create the look of a v-shaped wais
Close up of the front. The stripes were made by sewing long strips together into a tube, then pressed flat, similar to how you'd make a tie around the waist. I then top-stitched them down extremely close to the edge.
Close up of the front. The stripes were made by sewing long strips together into a tube, then pressed flat, similar to how you'd make a tie around the waist. I then top-stitched them down extremely close to the edge.
Ruffle sleeves, straight from the pattern piece.
Ruffle sleeves, straight from the pattern piece.
The pink collar was not attached all around - just at the front, again about 3/4 up the bodice, and lastly at the top of the shoulder. This helped it stay in place, but allowed me to get a more natural look with the pleats.
The pink collar was not attached all around - just at the front, again about 3/4 up the bodice, and lastly at the top of the shoulder. This helped it stay in place, but allowed me to get a more natural look with the pleats.
Back of the pink collar. I wanted to create the pleated look all around, but it ended up looking forced. This picture shows a more historical look, but since it's not tacked down in the back (to allow for the zipper), it can be folded differently eve
Back of the pink collar. I wanted to create the pleated look all around, but it ended up looking forced. This picture shows a more historical look, but since it's not tacked down in the back (to allow for the zipper), it can be folded differently eve
Full back view
Full back view
Pink dress shown with the cape. Not everyone recognized the dress at first, but once the cape was added, it was crystal clear!
Pink dress shown with the cape. Not everyone recognized the dress at first, but once the cape was added, it was crystal clear!
Side view. You can see here how the cape doesn't wrap around the front like her blue cape does, it just hangs down the back so as not to cover too much of the dress.
Side view. You can see here how the cape doesn't wrap around the front like her blue cape does, it just hangs down the back so as not to cover too much of the dress.
Back of cape. Fur trim goes around the hood and the top cape only, then along the bottom of the long cape.
Back of cape. Fur trim goes around the hood and the top cape only, then along the bottom of the long cape.
The cape pattern wraps around the shoulders and comes down the front, but when I tried that, it just looked wrong, and covered too much of the dress. I still wanted it to come around the shoulders, so I ended up trimming the fabric right to the curve
The cape pattern wraps around the shoulders and comes down the front, but when I tried that, it just looked wrong, and covered too much of the dress. I still wanted it to come around the shoulders, so I ended up trimming the fabric right to the curve
Close up of the hood and how it attaches to the rest. It got very bulky with the hood, top short cape, and then the bottom cape. Had to serge it all together just to reduce the bulk. Hood is lined, and rest of the cape would have been too if I hadn't
Close up of the hood and how it attaches to the rest. It got very bulky with the hood, top short cape, and then the bottom cape. Had to serge it all together just to reduce the bulk. Hood is lined, and rest of the cape would have been too if I hadn't
Love this fur trim with a touch of sparkle and a bias strip attached right to it. Only problem was that on this particular cape pattern, there wasn't a seam to stick the tape into - the top of the fabric folded over and then attached to the lining. K
Love this fur trim with a touch of sparkle and a bias strip attached right to it. Only problem was that on this particular cape pattern, there wasn't a seam to stick the tape into - the top of the fabric folded over and then attached to the lining. K
Here's the lining that was attached to the entire cape. Had to ditch it after a redesign, but it wasn't really needed.
Here's the lining that was attached to the entire cape. Had to ditch it after a redesign, but it wasn't really needed.
Finished product, posing in front of France at Walt Disney World's EPCOT park, right where Belle belongs.
Finished product, posing in front of France at Walt Disney World's EPCOT park, right where Belle belongs.
Disney Belle was very excited to meet "mini-Belle", all dressed for winter. Seeing Disney cast members' reactions to these unique costumes is the biggest driving force to keep making them again and again.
Disney Belle was very excited to meet "mini-Belle", all dressed for winter. Seeing Disney cast members' reactions to these unique costumes is the biggest driving force to keep making them again and again.

Belle's Yellow Dress

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Belle's stunning yellow ball gown is iconic of the princess.  A fitted bodice, off-the-shoulder sleeves, a full elegant skirt, and golden yellow gloves to match.  Of all the princess gowns, this really has to be the best.Here you can see the seams in the skirt - looks like 7 sections.  Each one is gathered through the full length of the skirt to give the sweeping look to the skirt.  You can also see a center seam in the bodice, coming into a V at the center.As the skirt turns, it appears to be a 7-gore skirt.The gloves go up past her elbow, and are the same color as the bodice and the sash on her skirt.  The sash, which is draped along the bottom half of the skirt, is attached at each seam with a large yellow button or gem.  A fabric-colored button to maBack view.  The bodice has a straight edge across the back, and the sleeves attach along the top edge of the bodice.  You can also see a seam down the center of the bodice in the back.Top view of the back shows how it attaches to the skirt.This one shows the draping of the top fabric along the back and her arms.  It's also a nice shot of her hair accessory.Detail on the front of her dress reveals three gold-colored gems, round like pearls, but they are yellow.  I've seen this done with buttons, fabric-colored buttons, or just fabric circles filled tightly with stuffing.Also can see her earrings.  GoldThis took several tries to get this exact frame of Belle's petticoat.  It shows 3 layers of netting, with a scalloped edge on each.A design sketch of the dress.  This shows the darker gold sash around the skirt as starting about in the middle of the dress, and gradually scalloping down to maybe 2 feet from the bottom.  This sketch is also the only glimpse you'll get of Belle's s
Belle's stunning yellow ball gown is iconic of the princess.  A fitted bodice, off-the-shoulder sleeves, a full elegant skirt, and golden yellow gloves to match.  Of all the princess gowns, this really has to be the best.
Belle's stunning yellow ball gown is iconic of the princess. A fitted bodice, off-the-shoulder sleeves, a full elegant skirt, and golden yellow gloves to match. Of all the princess gowns, this really has to be the best.
Here you can see the seams in the skirt - looks like 7 sections.  Each one is gathered through the full length of the skirt to give the sweeping look to the skirt.  You can also see a center seam in the bodice, coming into a V at the center.
Here you can see the seams in the skirt - looks like 7 sections. Each one is gathered through the full length of the skirt to give the sweeping look to the skirt. You can also see a center seam in the bodice, coming into a V at the center.
As the skirt turns, it appears to be a 7-gore skirt.
As the skirt turns, it appears to be a 7-gore skirt.
The gloves go up past her elbow, and are the same color as the bodice and the sash on her skirt.  The sash, which is draped along the bottom half of the skirt, is attached at each seam with a large yellow button or gem.  A fabric-colored button to ma
The gloves go up past her elbow, and are the same color as the bodice and the sash on her skirt. The sash, which is draped along the bottom half of the skirt, is attached at each seam with a large yellow button or gem. A fabric-colored button to ma
Back view.  The bodice has a straight edge across the back, and the sleeves attach along the top edge of the bodice.  You can also see a seam down the center of the bodice in the back.
Back view. The bodice has a straight edge across the back, and the sleeves attach along the top edge of the bodice. You can also see a seam down the center of the bodice in the back.
Top view of the back shows how it attaches to the skirt.
Top view of the back shows how it attaches to the skirt.
This one shows the draping of the top fabric along the back and her arms.  It's also a nice shot of her hair accessory.
This one shows the draping of the top fabric along the back and her arms. It's also a nice shot of her hair accessory.
Detail on the front of her dress reveals three gold-colored gems, round like pearls, but they are yellow.  I've seen this done with buttons, fabric-colored buttons, or just fabric circles filled tightly with stuffing.Also can see her earrings.  Gold
Detail on the front of her dress reveals three gold-colored gems, round like pearls, but they are yellow. I've seen this done with buttons, fabric-colored buttons, or just fabric circles filled tightly with stuffing. Also can see her earrings. Gold
This took several tries to get this exact frame of Belle's petticoat.  It shows 3 layers of netting, with a scalloped edge on each.
This took several tries to get this exact frame of Belle's petticoat. It shows 3 layers of netting, with a scalloped edge on each.
A design sketch of the dress.  This shows the darker gold sash around the skirt as starting about in the middle of the dress, and gradually scalloping down to maybe 2 feet from the bottom.  This sketch is also the only glimpse you'll get of Belle's s
A design sketch of the dress. This shows the darker gold sash around the skirt as starting about in the middle of the dress, and gradually scalloping down to maybe 2 feet from the bottom. This sketch is also the only glimpse you'll get of Belle's s

Patterns - Belle's Yellow Dress

Belle's yellow dress is so classic, the pattern world can't help making patterns that resemble this iconic dress.

For adults, a new pattern from Simplicity is 1875. It's not listed on Amazon at the time of this writing, but you can find it here:

http://www.simplicity.com/p-7448-misses-dresses-designed-with-love-by-sara.aspx

The skirt from this pattern may not be full enough to give the right silhouette, but it looks to have the correct number of skirt pieces, so perhaps just adding some girth to each piece will give it the proper shape. Or use a different skirt pattern that you've found.

I've listed a couple petticoat patterns below, since it really is necessary for this dress. As mentioned in the analysis, the petticoat in the movie has 3 layers, but of course do whatever works in real life for your own costume.

For years Disney has made official patterns for Belle, but that stopped in 2008. If you can find them, Simplicity 9902 and 5835 are wonderful, though out of print for several years now. Current options include Butterick 4320 and Simplicity 4764.

McCall's Patterns M4109 Misses'/Miss' Petite Lined Tops and Petticoats, Size AAX (4-6-8-10)
McCall's Patterns M4109 Misses'/Miss' Petite Lined Tops and Petticoats, Size AAX (4-6-8-10)

Great petticoat pattern for many uses. Great size options, too: 4-10, 8-14, 12-18.

 
Simplicity Sewing Pattern 5006 Misses Costumes, HH (6-8-10-12)
Simplicity Sewing Pattern 5006 Misses Costumes, HH (6-8-10-12)

Another petticoat option. Sizes 6-12 and 14-20.

 
Simplicity Sewing Pattern 4764 Child Special Occasion Dresses, BB (5-6-7-8)
Simplicity Sewing Pattern 4764 Child Special Occasion Dresses, BB (5-6-7-8)

Not an official Belle pattern, but one of the best child options available. Sizes 3-6 and 5-8.

 

Resources

Here are some links I found on the web of others who have created their own Belle costumes. Some have their own tutorials, which may prove very helpful to those constructing from scratch. Enjoy!

Coming Soon!

Please check back for new lenses! So far I have posted Costume Analysis for Wendy, Aurora/Sleeping Beauty, and Tinkerbell. I plan to post costume analysis for many Disney characters including Ariel, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, Giselle, Mary Poppins, Pocohontas, Mulan, the Disney fairies, Mother Gothel and some other villains. I will also cover their male counterparts (the princes), but that might take me a while until I get to those.

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      queenvickitoria 5 years ago

      Thanks for putting all this research up! I'm excited to see the rest of the princesesses!!

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      queenvickitoria 5 years ago

      Thanks for putting all this research up! I'm excited to see the rest of the princesesses!!

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      romeoandme7 5 years ago

      This is so helpful! I just finished a belle dress of my own (that I'm rather proud of) and I had to stop, pause and rewind the movie so much to see these frames. Check out my dress and tell me what you think!:

      https://www.etsy.com/listing/100741945/belle-gown?...

      Hint: I actually used a pattern for the Simplicity Sleeping Beauty bodice. It was constructed just right to be an off-the-shoulder bodice :) The skirt, I constructed on my own without a pattern.

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      francesca-geis 4 years ago

      I am go as belle for halloween (my friends and i are all going as princesses) but id need an adult size i kinda had a question on the pattern you suggested for the adluts, how would i alter the skirt to look like belles? i mean if i can't ill use the skirt on the blue dress but i was just wondering if you knew of any way..

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      Disney Bound 4 years ago

      @francesca-geis: You will likely just need to add some fullness to the skirt. Cut out the skirt pieces and pin them together - some of the pieces are used more than once, so you may need to cut out of some muslin or pattern paper to make the pattern. Try it on and see how much you need to add. Get a feel for how big you want the skirt to be at the hemline (make a big circle around you where you'd like the dress to hit the floor - use household objects even to lay it out). Measure that, and then adjust each skirt piece at the hemline so that it will be big enough. Then make a new pattern piece using this adjusted width across the hemline, tapering into the skirt pattern which meets at the waist.

      Some people tack on a scalloped decoration to the skirt to give it the trademark Belle look, while others prefer to make a separate skirt layer and gather it into the scalloped bottom. The same skirt pattern can be used for both layers - just gather the top one. If using Simp 1875, these gathers are done differently from Belle's dress, so disregard that portion of the instructions and just use the adapted skirt pattern.

      You can also check out the skirts on Burda 8198 and 2479. These appear to be the right silhouette, but without holding the pattern in my hand, it's hard to tell exactly if it has the right number of skirt pieces.

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