Cinderella · Costume Studies

Ella’s Work Dress – Cinderella 2015 – Costume Study


CINDERELLA“To be seen as we truly are, is the biggest risk we will ever take.  Will we be enough as we really are?” 

As you may know, I’ve been interested in the costumes of Cinderella for over three years.  In those years, I’ve done hours of research trying to find detail photos and information.

Now, I hope I’m able to explain all that I’ve learned about Ella’s Work Dress in an understanding way!




This dress has a flare of Georgian fashion with its tightly gathered skirt, wider neckline, and smocked bodice. Lily James wore a corset throughout the whole movie which means the work dress was worn with a corset.  I believe the fabric used is cotton voile for the outer fabric.




As I mentioned before, the bodice has a wide, square neckline. On the edge of the neckline, there is a ruffled edge; around ½” wide. This piece is slightly gathered and uneven at that.Ruffled 1:2%22 pipingA detail I discovered recently: Along this ruffled piece there is also a coral/peach piping along the neckline.coral:pink pipingThe bodice is smocked in the front. It’s tightly smocked at the waist and slowly loosens until the smocking ends just under the bust.Bodice tucks detail

From how little the fabric is gathered at the neckline, I would guess that the pleats are fairly small (maybe 1/8”?)  With an up-close photo of the smocking, I counted 112 pleats.

At the waist, the bodice front ends in a slight point.Bodice somes to a pointThe bodice fastens at the back with hooks and eyes.  In this photo you can see a few edges of the hooks.CINDERELLABack closerThere seems to be a piece of boning along the top edge of the closure. You never see this edge wrinkle and it looks quite rigid.BackLike many historical designs, the shoulder seam it is dropped sloped and drops to to the back of the shoulder.dropped shoulder seamThe back seams are curved.  Again, much like historical designs.Curved back seamThe bodice is most probably under-lined (a standard cotton sewn in with the bodice pieces), as well as lined.


The sleeves are always rolled up which makes them ¾ sleeves. 3:4 sleeves.PNGAt the top of the sleeve, we see a sort of puckering in the fabric.puckering on shoulder.pngThis stumped me for awhile until I came upon an even closer picture of the sleeves showing slightly shiny lines.  My guess: thin shiny, satin type, thread was sewn on the top of the sleeves with a slight tension to slightly “smock” the fabric.puckered shoulder & hem.PNGThe sleeve/ shoulder seam is very slightly gathered and we see a coral/pink piping at this seam.puckered shoulder & hem.PNGFrom the above picture we see the hem of the sleeve. It is small, probably ¼”. Also from the way it’s poking out, there seems to be vent, at the sleeve hem to allow the extra width when folding.


The skirt is quite full, around a 5 yd circumference, and is just above ankle length.79d0d77c8bb76212671272db6ad49628SkirtThe waist it is so tightly gathered that it make the skirt poke out.  The top inch of the skirt seems to be smocked.tightly gathered skirtpucking out skirtThe hem is small, probably 1/4” and is hand sewn.skirt hemIMG_2251

Ella’s skirt is decorated with flowers. The colors in the flowers are coral, darker shade of coral, tan, and green. Evenly spaced, are a total of 8 sections of flowers along the skirt.Skirt paint detail


I’ve traced the pattern of the flowers and I will be hand applying these flowers to my fabric with DecoArt Effect Ink.

Ah, I just gave it away!  Yes, I am planning to make this dress and have been for two years!  But this year, I WILL make it. (maybe)Cinderella movie dress

In the future I will be doing a post on using the ink. At the hem of the skirt, there’s a roughly 2” section that has a pattern of leaves. It isn’t very noticeable due to the color of the ink, it’s only slightly darker than the aqua/blue color of the dress.

The whole dress has small flowers on the fabric in an even pattern (roughly 4” apart).  I will also be using DecoArt to apply these flowers.even flower detaileven flower detail


We see this underskirt in quit a few scenes, especially when she meets Kit in the forest.UnderskirtIt seems to be a light blue, possibly an aqua colored. It seams to be a thicker fabric, not sheer.  I guess it’s a standard combed cotton, the bodice lining could be the same as this underskirt fabric.  I will also be hand dying this fabric to get the right color.

 The hem is thicker (around 2”) and looks hand sewn.Underskirt hem


As I mentioned before, we see a chemise poking out of the bodice front.3e627a621a91637d7e4788853412b66fChemiseWe also see this in the back.Chemise in back

The chemise is full length.  In the photo below you see the under most part of the skirt and what you see is a cream with texture much like the chemise you see on the bodice edge.  Also ,you don’t see the blueish skirt (discussed above).Chemise is full length

I believe the chemise is full length.

The chemise has no sleeves and has a drawstring neckline. The drawstring looks as if it’s a satin type string and is quite thin.chemise drawstring


20170812152721_90.jpgNow let’s discuss what Ella wears with her work dress, such as her aprons.  We see a total of two aprons worn, one that is quite full and tightly gathered at the waist, and one that seems to be her nicer apron without many gathers and has a decorative hem.IMG_1725.JPG

I’ll first discuss the one that has tight gathers. This apron is seen mostly when Ella does hard work.0a32829e55f32108deb13b961a6975caThe waist is gathered much like the bodice of her dress and might be considered smocked. The band is roughly 3” wide and ties (maybe ½” wide) attached in the middle of this band of gathers.be50d80efbc9166f29f20acb9e95aca3 (1)The apron’s waist is only on her front and dose not wrap around her sides. 8c466f38e6d7e1c4ace3c10ec7844d85The apron’s length is just a tad shorter than her dress.  My estimate is that the fabric consists of a yard and a half of fabric which is a thicker cotton in a orange/brown color.vlcsnap-2016-03-06-11h01m08s231.png

The second apron is worn in happier times and was also worn by her mother (which I recently discovered).1a262fe38a396f1f47a8eb356f4211d0Being light weight, the fabric is slightly sheer and is a coral color. Consisting of roughly a 1/2 yd of fabric, the waist is only slightly gathered. ca34bed28390551fba098cd767f59d8aA ½” band attaches the apron skirt to the ties. The apron skirt covers the front and slightly wraps around her sides. Falling roughly 6” above her dress hem, the hem is covered in embroidery.IMG_5857The embroidery consists of mostly small, eyelet type holes and is done in lighter coral thread.  At the hem, there is a light purple ¼”, trim.untitled-1-copy.png 


“Are these all you have?” questioned Ella’s fairy godmother, referring to Ella’s shoes.IMG_1729.PNGElla is seen wearing the same shoes with her work dress throughout the movie. Being simple flats, there’s not much to them. The tops seem to be made of canvas fabric and the soles of leather. Binding the top edges seems to be twill tape. The only embellishment the shoes have are simple bows made of cording. But I have a surprise for you!08d64e80df081d27ca5e0bb271eb3d1fThe shoes are painted! I picked up this info from the photo below.IMG_5856.JPG On the inside edges, where the color ends, the line is uneven and does not end were there’s a seam. Originally, the materials must have been white (due to the visibly white inside) and then the outside was painted all the same color.


I hope a conveyed all there is to know about Ella’s Work Dress. The beauty in this simple work dress is just multiplied with the costumes in the rest of the movie.

I am currently in the process of making a replica of this dress and I will posting my progress as well as my process for replicating the various parts of this dress. If there was anything I didn’t explain well in the study, please comment below!  I will do my best to help!

Thanks for looking and learning with me! ~ Bella Mae





5 thoughts on “Ella’s Work Dress – Cinderella 2015 – Costume Study

  1. This is a great analysis of the costume! My guess is that the “chemise” is actually more like a tucker and she’s wearing a different, separate petticoat than the one that you pointed out earlier. Because of how well fitted the bodice is, I feel like having a full length chemise would add extra bulk and mess with the tight fit. But that might just be my opinion.

    I’m looking forward to seeing your recreation of this dress! It’s going to be lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, yes! This is something I’ve been debating! It very well could be a chemisette and another petticoat. I think I’m going to create a “fitted” chemise bodice attached to a gathered, full skirt. That way there’s less pieces to the outfit. But yes, thanks for bringing this up!


  2. About the shoes. There’s a photo of Lily in an all white version of this with white flats. I’ve taken it as a mock-up or a look at what became her under layer for the dress.


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