How to make beauty & the beast costumes

Written by melissa j. bell
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The classic story of "Beauty and the Beast," particularly the animated Disney version, is a favourite source of costume ideas for children and adults. Aside from the lovely Belle and the lovable Beast, fans often dress as the villainous Gaston and other supporting characters such as Lumiere, Chip, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts and Le Fou. With such a varied cast of characters, from human to animal to anthropomorphic object, there is something for everyone. Whether attending a costume party or simply dressing up for Halloween, a homemade "Beauty and the Beast" costume is sure to make a splash. To learn how to make your own costume, complete the following instructions.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Sewing equipment and supplies
  • Reference photos
  • Patterns for chosen character
  • Fabric and notions
  • Stage make-up
  • Accessories

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  1. 1

    Determine which character's costume you would like to make. Consider that animal or object costumes may take a great deal more work than those of Belle, Gaston or other human characters.

  2. 2

    Find an appropriate pattern for the costume you have decided to make. For Belle's ball gown, use Simplicity 9902 or Butterick 4320 for a child and McCall's M3609 for an adult. For Belle's blue peasant dress, Simplicity 4139 for children can be adjusted to that look, as can any adult sundress and apron pattern. For the Beast's ball clothing, use Reconstructing History's adult patterns for an 18th century tailcoat, breeches, vest and cravat. For a child Beast, mix Rocking Horse Farm's boy-sized Regency patterns with the adult Reconstructing History coat patterns.

  3. 3

    Choose the appropriate fabric colours for each part of the costume, using a reference picture of the character from the movie. Use the pattern guidelines to determine the appropriate type of fabric.

  4. 4

    Following the pattern instructions, make a full test costume out of cheap muslin. This will assess any fit problems in the pattern size that is closest to your measurements. Put the muslin on several times throughout the process to test the fit. Make any alterations directly on the muslin.

  5. 5

    Take the test costume apart at the seams and use the pieces as pattern pieces for your real costume fabric, particularly if you have made many adjustments to the original pattern. Remake the costume in the real fabric as neatly as possible. Before finishing hems, linings and bindings, put the costume on one last time to double-check that there have been no fitting mistakes. Finish the details.

  6. 6

    Acquire all accessories shown in your reference pictures. If you made Belle's peasant costume, you will need a blue hair ribbon and shoes. If you made her ball gown, you will need evening gloves, a gold hair tie and dress shoes. Many accessories can be found at local costume shops, in thrift stores and online. You can also make some items, such as gloves and head wear.

  7. 7

    Make or buy any props. Your Belle may wish to carry the magic mirror, which can be picked up in any costume store, or a basket of books, which can also be bought. The Beast's wilted rose can be re-created using a cheap craft rose. Some props can be purchased directly from Disney product lines.

  8. 8

    Attend to the make-up and hair. Some characters, such as the Beast, will require more complex make-up and hair than others. The Beast's look can be re-created with a long, shaggy brown wig; plastic horns; fake fangs; and furry gloves. You can also stick extra hair pieces at the trouser cuffs to look like leg fur. Beastlike make-up can be done using standard Halloween fright make-up kits, which often include werewolf options.

Tips and warnings

  • A Gaston costume can be made from Butterick 5656, or any Robin Hood type pattern that features a jerkin. Add gloves, a belt and boots to top it off.
  • Le Fou's costume can be made using a pattern similar to the Beast's. He also wears a coat, breeches, a vest and a tie.
  • Chip, Mrs. Potts, Lumiere and Cogsworth costumes will be easier to buy, but the ambitious costumier can create them using painted fabric over a lightweight infrastructure, which can be made from hula hoops and other plastic forms or actual hoop boning.

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