The Princesses Project

This year I will be doing what I’m calling The Princess Project. This project has two gowns, one that will be my own, and one that will be Shirley’s. A rule I have set for mine is that it can’t interfere with anything else I have to do. This is motivation to me to keep on schedule. I’m not a fan of the sun, and love the rain and snow, but how much of it we’ve had is dragging even me down.  So if my agenda for the day is to get X drafted and cut out and the shell assembled, Y’s skirt seams and hems, and Z’s buttons, all finished, I can only work on my own gown if those things are finished.

Shirley’s is pretty straight-forward. Hers will be made with over 10,000 Swarovski crystals on real silk crepeline and yumissima.  A lot of fabrics labeled as silk crepeline are not actually silk crepeline, which drives me up the wall.  This fabric is the finest silk fabric made.  It’s ridiculously and unnervingly sheer, and the yumissima is extremely expensive, and I have a bolt of it waiting to be dyed.  The underpinnings will be massively fluffy, and the bodice boned.  All the supplies are in my sewing store room, and as soon as my garage is cleared out and we are done finishing it (in the next few weeks), I will begin.  That gown will be too huge to fit into my sewing store room or my sewing room, and I won’t dare leave it in my sitting room where animals could get to it.

Now I think I’ve summed up why I don’t like the yellow dress Emma wore in Beauty and the Beast…or at least why I don’t like it for the role of Belle, and what I think should have been done differently to call it a ballgown of any sort. Since I like a good challenge, and sometimes like to put my feet where my mouth is (“if you don’t like it, let’s see you do better!”), I decided I would recreate this gown in the way I think it should have been done in the first place, at least within the design for the gown that was insisted upon. So I will stick with that design, but make it better, rather than recreating a properly historical ballgown that would have fit in better with the design aesthetic of the movie.

So within that parameter, I am using silk satin organza, as was used in the movie, that I dyed to a yellow shade more suited for me, and am using gold embroidery and Swarovski crystals. My bodice will be boned, and I will be wearing a corset. The underpinnings will include both a small hoop as well as organza petticoats. Another change is that the bottom layer will be on a separate waist band so that I can wear a shorter layer that’s the same length as the middle layer. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll embroider all of that, or just part. But either way, that will make this gown easier to wear in real-life situations, such as to the ballet, or Disneyland, where full ballgowns and costumes aren’t allowed (a tea-length version without tons of petticoats should be acceptable on a redhead in late September).

Last Wednesday, I started the embroidery:

And as of today, the top layer’s embroidery is finished. The edges are not, and the crystals haven’t arrived.

I’m not usually one to toot my own horn too much, but this just might be a project worth subscribing to my blog for.  The Disney Cosplay for Adults group get first peeks, but photos of progress on both gowns will be posted here soon after, as well as some bonuses on my Aria Couture Facebook page in this Belle album, and the one for Cinderella will be posted here once it’s started.