As the new Beauty and the Beast film has just come out, I wanted to create a dress that was inspired by Belle, whilst being suitable for everyday wear and retaining a 1950’s vintage aesthetic. Stay tuned for the final photoshoot featuring the Belle dress in all it’s glory!
This Butterick pattern to me really fit the bill. I wanted something that I could make quickly and easily, and still get fab results. A reprint of an original 1952 pattern, this is worn in a tunic fashion, with it being worn over the head and then wrapped round and clasped at the front. The pattern demonstrates how you can use a contrasting colour for the front panel of the dress, and I thought this would work perfectly for Belle’s blue and white ensemble.
I decided to go with a simple polycotton at £2.99 per metre in Cream and Royal Blue for this pattern, and ordered my fabric from Minerva Crafts. I’ve found that Minerva Crafts colours on the website are true to life, and they affordable as well as being quick to deliver. They also will send you matching thread if you ask! I then purchased some bias binding from my local Hobbycraft as I wanted to make sure that it matched the fabrics. A tip for this is to make sure you buy more than enough bias binding for your project, I’ve found that whilst packets may say they are the same colour, if they’ve been in different dye batches they could be slightly lighter or darker than packets you’ve bought before!
I started out by cutting out the pattern pieces and making dart and marks using either a pencil on the cream fabric, or a tailor’s chalk pencil on the royal blue. It was at this point that I realised I had very little pins however a good tip is to use heavy objects to hold the pattern down whilst cutting.
Be really careful when doing this, if you rush – you’ll definitely make a mistake! I made sure to put on my John Denver Best of to ensure I was nice and chill for this particular part of the construction!
I found the pattern really easy to follow, and it was fairly quick to get an almost finished garment together! I made the majority of the dress in a couple of hours.
I hemmed the white part of the dress, before popping the whole thing on my mannequin to hang overnight. This allows the bias of the dress to settle before you begin hemming the main circle skirt element of the dress.
I would have to say that the hardest part of this particular make is the hemming of the circle skirt. This is because it takes a little while to get it right, and if you make a mistake on this – it’s going to be visible! Because it’s a circle skirt, the hem is prone to going wavy due to the curves in the skirt. To counter this, make sure to do a row first of really big running machine stitches 3/8” from the raw edge of the skirt. Then, take your time to create a narrow hem, using the large stitches to ease the fullness to create a nice neat finish! This can be quite fiddly, so breathe, and don’t get cross! My advice with this particular part of the dress construction if you are not used to tackling a narrow hem on a circle skirt is to stick on a film, take your time, use a good iron and work slowly. You can check out my How to on narrow hems here!
The rest of the hemming process with this dress is incredibly simple as it recommends that you use Bias Binding for the neckline and armholes. I love this particular way of hemming as it opens itself up to become a part of the dress design, as you could use contrasting binding to create a striking look. I chose to use the royal blue binding on the armholes and neckline as I wanted to allude back to the blue dress and white apron that Belle wore in the cartoon.
What I will say with this pattern, is that it does come up small, which I suppose is to be expected with a vintage style pattern. For a guide, I would say I’m a contemporary size 8 on the top, with a 32B cup bra size and a 27 1/2” waist, and I found that the size 8 fit pretty well on the waist and bust, however if you are in any doubt, you might want to make the size up, and then adjust where you need it.
I would also say with the cream fabric, I wish I had gone for a slightly thicker or more heavyweight fabric, as the cream polycotton was slightly see through and I would need to wear a slip underneath to protect modesty!
I would definitely recommend this pattern for a quick and easy vintage dress, which can be easily altered and made in all sorts of different designs and colours! This can be easily made over a couple of evenings, and I think could be made out of much more fancy fabric should you want something for an evening occasion.
- Easy to follow, simple instructions – suitable for even a beginner seamstress to put together!
- A good looking finished product that could be altered to create lots of different looks!
- Sizing does come up small – so be careful, especially around the chest area.
Buy the Butterick Pattern on Amazon here!
Make sure to check back to see the final Belle photoshoot! I can’t wait to show you the dress in all it’s glory. If you’ve used this pattern before, share what you’ve made, I’d love to see it!