I was super excited about the chance to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for the very first time, and if course one of the first things on my mind was my costume. I absolutely love costumes and getting dressed up. Part of this may come from my experience in theater, but I will wear costumes whenever possible. Halloween, of course, races, and murder mystery parties that we throw once or twice a year. Of course for this year I was going to have to go with a Disney costume.
Since I went with a big group of friends, we all tried to do Disney costumes but didn’t want to duplicate anyone else. The answer for who I wanted to be was pretty obvious – I went with Belle, my absolute favorite princess. We created a doc ahead of time where we signed up for our character, and I put my name down way back in May or something like that, and didn’t really think about it again til August.
I started searching around for Belle costumes, and found that there was nothing I really liked. All of the ones for women were either ridiculously expensive, very cheap looking and not authentic, or way too revealing. So I decided I would have to try and create my own costume. The process was frustrating at times, but I’m ultimately happy with how my costume turned out. Since I’m not really a sewer I knew I wasn’t making anything from scratch – so here are the steps I took.
- Find a base dress to work with. I was on the hunt for a relatively inexpensive yellow or gold ball gown. Not any easy feat by any means! I searched Amazon, eBay, and Goodwill. If you have time, start looking through Goodwills. They had a surprising amount of ball gowns that had potential. There was a gold one I almost got here, and there were tons of dresses that I could definitely see working for other Disney princesses, like Cinderella, Tiana, Tinkerbell (there was lots of green!), and Aurora. Ultimately I ended up buying my dress on eBay for about $10 plus shipping.
- Make it fit. When you’re looking for a dress that goes with the character, you’ll probably have to be flexible with size. So that means you’ll have to either make it bigger or smaller. In my case the dress was too small in the top, so I added a corset back to give me more chest room. A corset is actually pretty easy to do – I just sewed on some loops with ribbon and threaded ribbon through it.
- Add detail. The next problem was making it look more like Belle and less like just a gold dress. The first thing I noticed was that it wasn’t really poofy enough. So I bought a tulle underskirt (at Goodwill) that I put on underneath, which helped give it more volume. The other thing that bothered me was that it was missing those signature ruffles that Belle’s dress has. So I bought some tulle at Jo-Ann’s, bunched it up, and added it to my dress. Remember the part about me not being much of a sewer? I used hot glue to attach the tulle!
- Add accessories. To give your costume the final touch, add some accessories to really bring out your character. For me that included gold shoes (another Goodwill find for $6), gold gloves, and a Belle tiara I got at the Disney Store (in the kids section but it fit!). I also thought about carrying a fake red rose but ultimately never got around to buying one.
In the end, though it was tough at times, I’m happier with the costume I made than any of the store bought ones that I found. Have you ever created your own costume?