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Historical Belle: My 18th Century-Inspired Beauty and the Beast Costume

I made an 18th-century inspired mashup of Belle’s iconic yellow ballgown and her hooded winter outfit from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

The costume has aspects inspired by 18th century fashion but is not a historically accurate reproduction particular to a specific decade. I was heavily inspired by Brunswicks (the hooded traveling outfits) but you can also see elements from robe a la anglaise gowns, caracao jackets, and side-opening petticoats.

The yellow fabric I used is a quilted cotton harvested from a king-sized bedspread! It saved me a lot of time quilting, but the material created some challenges: I had to employ strategic cutting in order to maintain symmetry in the stitch designs in the final costume, and to keep the finished edges in the skirt, peplums, sleeves, and hood. The winter-appropriate thick cotton batting meant to avoid bulky seams I had to carefully pick out excess batting in the seam allowance of each pattern piece while maintaining (or restitching) the lines of quilting stitches. Raw edges were also serged to prevent fraying and loss of batting. Interior excess seam allowance had to be sewn down by hand since ironing was insufficient to keep seams pressed flat. In addition, the pleated areas were too thick to fit into the sewing machine and had to be stitched by hand.

However, I really like how the thickness of the material gave the garment a lot of structure, especially in the jacket peplum.

The scallops were also a feature I liked.

I lined the hood with scraps of white silk dupioni left over from a previous project. It was hand-stitched in so I could keep the scalloping on the hood.

The jacket was decorated with realistic foam roses on wired stems that I trimmed and shaped with pliers to create a base for hand-sewing onto the jacket.  Each rose is accented with red crystals I glued on individually using E6000 Fabri-Fuse glue, which I highly recommend. (This is not the regular E6000 glue. Fabri-Fuse is low-odor, dries quickly, and comes in a squeeze bottle with a sharp tip for detail work).

The yellow and white striped bows are made from vintage French ribbon with picot edging, accented with antique lace. Each sleeve has embroidered tulle lace, large red satin bows, and a rose. 

My necklace and earrings were purchased from In the Long Run Designs on Etsy. The mirror was purchased from Amazon (affiliate link).

Underneath the gown I am wearing 18th century silk and linen stays made by me.

The lace-front wig was styled by me and decorated with the same roses, crystals, and ribbon as the jacket.

The wig base is a long black wavy wig that I purchased from Amazon (affiliate link).

Pattern Info:

The outfit was a combination of self-draping and Frankensteining. The main body of the jacket and sleeves used a heavily modified version of the Period Impressions 1780 Polonaise pattern, which I previously used for my Outlander dinner party dress. However, I took out some back seams and altered the sleeves around the elbow region. The peplum was created by holding and pinning material up to the upper jacket on the dress form until I got the length and fullness I wanted.

The hood and lining are pleated in a fan shape, and the pattern was adapted from the hooded cloak pattern in Linda Baumgarten’s Costume Close-up book (Amazon affiliate link).

The hood doesn’t stand up by itself, so it’s being held up here by a piece of boning to show you the shape:

No pattern was needed for the quilted petticoat, which was constructed in the same manner as your usual 18th century petticoat with side slits. The front and back panels were pleated into twill tape that served as waistbands and ties. Because of the thickness of the material there were less pleats than usual and I left a large section of the front center unpleated to allow for the jacket to sit flat over the stomach.

Materials used:

  • BrylaneHome king-sized quilted bedspread (in “aspen gold” color): $49.90 from Amazon (affiliate link).
  • Two boxes of artificial foam roses: $17.99 each from Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Red crystals (with lots left over!): $7.59 from Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Fabri-Fuse glue: $8.00 from Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Twill tape, thread, hooks/bars, red ribbon, hair clips from stash: ~$5
  • Vintage striped ribbon: $10 (this is a guess because I don’t remember how much I paid for it from a vendor table at an event)
  • Vintage lace: $0 (gift from a friend)
  • Sleeve lace: $8.27 with tax and shipping from Wikilaces on Etsy
  • Hood lining: $0 (scraps from previous project)
  • Lace-front wig: $36.99 from Amazon (affiliate link)

Total: ~$161.73
(I’m not including the shoes or jewelry because those were items I already owned for other costuming purposes. About $40 of the total is a wig I can reuse, plus I had some left over materials, so I’m calling this project a win for my pocketbook!).

I had a lot of fun making and wearing this costume. I even entered it in my first ever cosplay contest and was delighted to be a finalist in the Cosplay with Singer contest this fall! Here’s a video of the costume in action that I made for the contest:

Enjoy this silly video of me trying to fit my large costume through a small space.

Thank you for reading!