Oh yes, I finally did it! I made Belle’s live-action dress for my Disney Animator dolls! This dress turned out so perfect I’m not sure what to say except that I absolutely love it! This project actually started several weeks ago when Sister and I found this Simplicity pattern at Wal-Mart:Of course, we had to have it! I don’t at all consider myself an expert seamstress, and was not sure whether this was designed for someone with beginner to intermediate sewing skills, but it didn’t matter–this envelope was coming home with me and I would find a way to make it work! Thankfully, even though it looks a bit complicated, the gown was very easy to put together.
The bodice is sewn from yellow silk fabric and overlaid with gold organza:
Since this was designed for an 18″ doll, I had to resize the pattern and “tweak” it a little to get a good fit for a Disney Animator doll. Of course, you don’t have to use silk fabric. Simplicity’s pattern actually calls for satin, but I ended up using silk because my local craft store was completely out of yellow satin….go figure😒. The silk turned out to be an excellent substitute though and gives this dress a quality feel. The right and left sides of the bodice are overlaid with gold organza (or tulle) on the outside. The collar has three layers and reaches from the front all the way around to the back; and, between the two bodice pieces, there is the inset which has gold ribbon and a small ruffle attached to it. The bodice is lined on the inside (I LOVE lined bodices). Instead of velcro, I used snaps on the back. I like using velcro for certain outfits but felt like this dress was so pretty it needed something classier.
The skirt has five layers: three overskirts, a skirt, and a skirt lining.
For the overskirts, I used yellow chiffon. The overskirts make up the three layers or “tiers” of Belle’s ball gown. Again, this is another area where I deviated from the pattern. Simplicity’s version uses yellow organza for the skirt tiers, but organza seemed too transparent. It’s true that the layers on Emma Watson’s gown are made up of satin organza; however, they are satin organza and slightly more opaque than normal organza. Since I didn’t have access to satin organza, but still wanted a fabric that was light and flowy without being transparent, I chose chiffon.
And I’m pleased to say that the chiffon does not disappoint!
It gives the skirt a soft, airy appearance and is not at all see-through! Beneath the overskirts are two more layers: a skirt and skirt lining:
The actual skirt of the dress is sewn from the same yellow silk as the bodice. The skirt lining (or what I refer to as the “petticoat”) is sewn from white tulle. The pattern’s instructions do not specify what kind of fabric to use for the lining except to use fabric without a nap. I like using tulle when making petticoats (or linings) so I chose white tulle for the final layer of this skirt.
Of course, no outfit would be complete without a pair of shoes!
The shoes were made following a plastic canvas pattern for doll shoes, however, I cut this pair a little narrower and made the front section come up higher than I did on some of my previous shoes. After stitching them with gold yarn, I glued a row of gems around the sides and attached a gold bow to the top of each shoe for extra detail. I think they have a bit of an 18th-century flair, don’t you?
This outfit was a lot of fun to make and the outcome was well worth the time spent.I started this project with the intention of selling the dress once it was finished; however, when Sister saw it she fell in love with it! So I ended up sewing TWO of these gorgeous gowns before finally being finished!The dress that Tinker Bell is wearing will be available on eBay (I’ll post a link to the listing below) and the one that Elsa is wearing is the dress I made for Sister.We also have a video tutorial showing how to make this dress so be sure to check it out on our YouTube channel: How To Sew Belle’s Live Action Ball Gown For Disney Animator Dolls
It’s not a perfect tutorial (the audio needs help!) but I think shows how the basics well enough and I’m hoping it helps others who endeavor to sew this lovely gown.
I hope you enjoyed this look at Simplicity’s Beauty And The Beast pattern for 18″ dolls (redesigned to fit Disney Animator dolls) and feel free to share this post!