Cosplay of the Week:
Casey Renee Cosplay
“The yellow/gold dress that Belle wears in Beauty and the Beast has been on my list of costumes to make for some time now and over the past year I have seen an influx of Belles at conventions so I thought maybe I would do Belle but make it different somehow. The idea of doing my own version of “historically accurate”
-Casey Renee Cosplay
*Note from the writer: Instead of doing my Cosplay of the Week like normal, I decided to just let Casey’s words do the talking in this piece!
Belle came from a bunch of fan art placing Belle in the Enlightenment Era of France right before the Revolution, I loved this idea and being a fan of Rococo fashion I ran with it. I’m refraining from calling this costume “Historically Accurate Belle” because it’s simply not historically accurate, the wig should be a powdered pink or white, the dress should be made out of silk instead of satin and there should be a giant ship in my hair instead of a clock. However, it is heavily researched and each garment is accurate to the time period from shape of wig down to the buckles on my shoes. I only had one opportunity to take proper photos in Belle and that opportunity proved to be amazing. Chrystine from The Pre-Fight Donut pulled me aside at the beginning of the day and got some truly incredible photos of the costume.
My Rococo Belle is more than just a dress, it’s four layers of historically accurate undergarments as well. Every garment in the costume was made by me with the help of the internet and ‘Patterns of Fashion: English Women’s dresses and their construction’ by Janet Arnold. I started at the very base with a chemise made out which was extremely easy to create with one single cut of fabric as the base, two sleeves and a ruffle for the neck (the ruffle was the only hard part).
Next, I made the stays or corset, this garment wasn’t hard as much as just tedious and time consuming. I had to measure, draw, and sew 64 boning channels followed by adding 18 yards of boning to those channels to make the stay stiff. Then hand sewed lining to it, followed by 5 yards of handmade bias tape and to top it off hand embroidered 22 eyelets. This was absolutely fun to do because each step of the way I could see my corset taking shape and since this is base of the silhouette everything depended on that and the pannier to be perfect.
After the stay I created the pannier, this beast was the most important part for me to be able to construct the gown, the pannier is essentially a hoop skirt in the shape of an oval, it had 12 yards of steel boning 13 yards of handmade bias tape. I didn’t own bolt cutters and that is the suggested tool for cutting steel boning so I had to use strength and little itty bitty wire cutters to cut each strip of steel for my skirt, after two hours of fighting with my boning it was all cut and I could finally finish my pannier.
Then I moved onto the underskirt. I actually ended up making two of these one just to add fluffiness to the garment and another on top of that to actually be seen. I used a light yellow brocade for the underskirt seen in photo’s and that consisted of one really large rectangle and four rectangles half that size sewn, gathered and attached to a waistband that had home made bias tape in it for a drawstring. It’s extremely difficult to take 3 yards of fabric and gather it down to 29 inches but I did it. I also found a gorgeous antique lace trim on Etsy and added that to the bottom front and spent about 20 hours hand beading the trim to make the skirt look more ornate. I watched almost an entire season of Reign while doing this to make the time pass quicker.
Finally onto the Robe a la Francaise, this piece took 100 hours of patterning, sewing, re-sewing, and beading (75 of those hours were spent hand sewing and beading). This garment was completely inspired/influenced by Patterns of Fashion and took two full days to create the base dress. Between the flounces on the sleeves, the bodice and the ruffles found all over the dress there is over 2000 beads on the gown (took all 4 seasons of Tudors to sewn in). Once this piece was made the costume really started coming together.
A couple other additions to the costume are Cogsworth and Lumiere made out of Instamorph, Worbla, and
upholstery foam. I also styled a wig into the bouffant style wig, I purchased the Danni lace front wig from Arda, curled it, created a giant ball out of stuffing attached that to the wig then sculpted the hair around that point. I also purchased and extra weft of hair to make the curls that were dangling out of, I simply curled sections of weft and pinned them to the giant ball on the inside. Lastly, I made a pair of shoes, socks, garters, pockets (worn on top of the stay but under the pannier) and a lace choker necklace with hand sewn pearls into it.
This costume took over 250 hours of construction about 50 hours of research and was debuted at C2E2 on March 19th, I will be wearing this costume to Indiana Comic Con, Phoenix Comic Con, Gencon and Dragoncon! After this I am taking a break from massive builds and focusing on commissions and Jedi/Sith Robe sales but starting in September (after Dragoncon) I will begin a secret (for now) group project for Katsu Con and I will be starting construction on my Anne Boleyn costume as well as remaking my Tauriel costume. I look forward to using all the techniques and things I learned from this project in future projects to come.”
You can read a past feature I did of Casey Renee here!
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Featured image courtesy of Chrystine from The Pre-Fight Donut