I’ve had a few people asking me how I constructed Belle’s blue provincial dress, so I thought I’d make a post on it. It’s not that difficult, actually.
First the blouse: any pattern could do as a base. Make the sleeves a little shorter than to the wrists, and cuff them. As you can see I haven’t even hemmed the bottom edge yet, but since it won’t show…
The most important thing on the blouse is the characteristic collar, which should be folded down in back, and taper into nothing at centre front. This is how it looks, with the centre back folded. It’s sewn in two layers. There’re probably better ways to do the collar, but I was short on time when I made it. Next time I make this costume I’ll experiment a little more with it.
Make sure not to do the neck and arm openings to big at first – just make them big enough to go over your head and to put your arms through, and then draw them on the fabric while wearing it. Don’t make the bodice too long, or it will wrinkle and look untidy. When you are satisfied with the fit you can use this mock up as the lining for the bodice, or save it as a pattern for later use.
I put self fabric piping in all the bodice seams, because it gives a nice finishing touch, and also makes the seams stronger – they also give a slight supporting effect, and prevent some wrinkling.
The skirt is made as any half circle skirt, lightly gathered and reaching to lower calf – simple as could be. Since the bodice is slightly pointed in front, I had to cut away a corresponding amount of fabric at the centre front of the waist of the skirt.
That’s it, a rough guide on how to make this costume. The apron is simple, a rectangle (straight, gathered or pleated) sewn to a waistband. And don’t forget to wear at least one petticoat. If not, the skirt will look skimpy, and will cling to your legs, which isn’t the right look for this dress. Oh, and a note on fabric choise: avoid anything shiny, polyesterish! It will look cheap and amateur-ish. If you’re on a budget (like I was), better use a low price, plain cotton, as that will look so much better.
Hope this helped, and good luck!