Sewing a Beauty – Belle’s Yellow Ballgown – Step 1: Underskirts
Sewing a Beauty – Belle’s Yellow Ballgown – Step 1: Underskirts

Sewing a Beauty – Belle’s Yellow Ballgown – Step 1: Underskirts


Step 1: Underskirts


One never knows how long an adventure will take to complete…. In my case of replicating Belle’s Yellow Gown, this was definitely the truth!

If you read my last post, you’ll see that I’ve finally completed the dress ~ It might have taken 5 months to do so, but it is actually finished!

It’s finally time to share my adventure with you!

– The Start of a Journey (and in this case, a longer than expected journey) –

In February, I shared my process of studying the dress, ordering fabric, etc….

I also shared that I planned to replicate, what seemed to be, Belle’s undergarments.

As a matter of fact, it turned out to be true…she tears off her yellow dress (while riding on a horse….I’m not so sure how practical that was :)…) and she ends up in a white chemise and “corset”.

In the end these undergarments weren’t worn under my dress due to practicality, but here are my replica undergarments:Undergarments

I’m quite proud of my hand-bound eyelets! 🙂


~ The Information on Hand ~

During my process of repliacting Cinderella’s Ball Gown, I’ve learned that the most important part of any large, voluminous, entrancing dress is the construction of it’s underskirts. They give the shape, the movement, and the support.

Based on that, the first step to creating Belle’s dress was to study and learn about the construction of the underskirts.

“There is a cage under some parts of it, but mainly it’s layers of organza that just give it a lift, for it to have lightness.”  Jacqueline Durran

The first thing to discover was how much of the volume of the skirt was due to the cage vs. the layers of organza.

When the above photo came out it stumped me a bit. The dress in this photo has quite the volume, whereas the photo below shows a more reasonable sized skirt without excessive volume.

I found that the majority of the photos/videos show the smaller skirt.

Narrow Skirt

I finally narrowed it down to the possibility that different dresses were used in different scenes which created conflicting attributes of the skirt. As I began seeing each picture through that opinion, I was able to pick out which scene used which dress. With this information, I was able to decide which one to make….I decided to make the smaller skirt (maybe I’ve finally come to my senses?!?! Haha!).

Next was figuring out how the underskirt was designed with “cage under some parts of it, mostly layers of organza”.

bustle 3With these two photos, you can see the “bustle” to the skirt.Bustle 1BustleWith these two dancing photos, the bustle seems to stay in the same area and the fabric of the skirt bunches around it. This made me think that it must be some boning in that area.bustle 2With the photos I just showed you, I decided the closest hoop-like structure was a lobster tail bustle, and thus, the decision was made!

~ With a Design Decision, the Construction Begins ~

Pieces of the base layer. The base layer includes the lobster tail bustle.
The bustle is coming together, just needs a turning right-side-out!
But first, the pinking shears need to be used on the seams!
All finished!

Next step: adding layers and layers of organza to create volume!

Originally, I ordered 25 yards of Silk Organza for the layers of fluff and created 3 layers of circle skirts…. the result:

Even though my Instagram really took off after posting this video, I realized I needed to add more layers to achieve a larger skirt, one that would match the original! And thus, another 27 yard of organza shipped to my doorstep and several more circle skirts were created!

Was it worth it? After posting on Instagram showing the revised underskirt, I got my answer! My Instagram blow-up… for real, I thought my app was malfunctioning… 95.5K views?!?! ?

~ The Progression ~

Layer 1
Layer 1
Layer 2
Layer 2
Layer 3 & 4
Layer 3 and 4
Layer 5
Layer 5
Layer 6 & 7
Layer 6 and 7
Layer 8 Side
Layer 8… Final Layer

Layer 8 BackLayer 8 Front

~ Hemming…Hemming…Hemming!!! ~

As you probably know, hemming a circle skirt takes some time. Imagine hemming 8 layers of circle skirts. Plus I created each layer extra full by using 3, 1/2 circle pieces…. yup, that’s equivalent to 12 circle skirts!

The Method…

First, sew a slighting tensioned seam 1/4″ from the raw edge. This ever-so-slightly gathers the fabric and keeps the raw edge from having a larger circumference then the hemmed edge.
Second, fold the 1/4″ over with the seam at the edge of the fold.
Third, fold the edge again, this time a little over 1/4″. The raw edge is now inside the fold and and it’s time to sew!


All finished!


Thanks for looking and learning with me!


  1. Pingback: Sewing a Beauty – Belle’s Yellow Ballgown Creation – Step 2: Outer Skirt – Bella Maes Sewing Corner

  2. Eman Al-Bassisi

    This dress was absolutely amazing, and all of your work so breathtakingly amazing. I’m a huge fan, and you’ve inspired me to take on sewing. Any tips to someone new to sewing. I’d love to recreate this dress to one day.

  3. Simone

    Hi, I’m just wondering if you managed to fit the a full circle skirt on your fabric or if you had to have vertical seams? It looks so beautifully seamless that I’m wondering how you did it!

  4. Jackie

    I wrote comment a little bit ago but not sure if it went through as it didn’t confirm submission. So I hope this is not duplicated. I came across your site when trying to get ideas for my daughter. She’s 6 1/2 and wants a live action Belle dress. She has a discerning eye for detail and accuracy. I’m trying to figure out if I can accommodate her wishes. Are all the circle skirts the same size? Or do they vary with each layer? Obviously, the layer one is different due to the boning/ cage but I was wondering if the others are the same size? Do you have any ideas for where to find a pattern for the bodice in a kids size? I just love your work, it’s gorgeous! I’m so glad I came upon it. You must have great patience and passion to do the work you do! Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide!

    1. Hi Jackie, that’s so fun!
      So each of the layers have different amounts of circles in them (such as some have 2 full ones, and some have 1.5 circles.) But each of those circles are pretty much the same size, just varying some based on the measurements of how much of the waist it needs to fit in and how long it needs to be.
      And as for patterns for children, unfortunately I can’t be of help with that. Though I’m sure you could find some similar styles in the standard patterns sold everywhere.

      Hope that helps a little!
      All the best,

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