“To be seen as we truly are, is the biggest risk we will ever take. Will we be enough as we really are?” ~ Cinderella
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 just mentioned, 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.A detail I discovered recently: Along this ruffled piece there is also a coral/peach piping.The bodice is smocked in the front. It’s tightly smocked at the waist and slowly loosens until the smocking ends just under the bust.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.The bodice fastens at the back with hooks and eyes. In this photo you can see a few edges of the hooks.There 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.Like many historical designs, the shoulder seam dropped towards the back of the shoulder.The back seams are curved. Again, much like historical designs.The 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. At the top of the sleeve, we see a sort of puckering in the fabric.This 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 sewn on the top of the sleeves with a slight tension to slightly “smock” the fabric.The sleeve/ shoulder seam is very slightly gathered and we see a coral/pink piping at this seam.From 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 cuff to allow the extra width when folding.
The skirt is quite full, around a 5 yd circumference, and is just above ankle length.The waist is so tightly gathered that it make the skirt poke out. The top inch of the skirt seems to be smocked. I believe it’s cartridge pleated.The hem is small, probably 1/4” and is hand sewn.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.
I’ve traced the pattern of the flowers and I will be hand applying these flowers to my fabric, possibly 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).
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.
We see this underskirt in quit a few scenes, especially when she meets Kit in the forest.It 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.
As I mentioned before, we see a chemise poking out of the bodice front.We also see this in the back.I believe 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). 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.
Now 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.I’ll first discuss the one that has tight gathers. This apron is seen mostly when Ella does hard work.The waist is gathered much like the bodice of her dress and might be considered smocked. The band is roughly 3” wide and there’s ties (maybe ½” wide) attached in the middle of this band of gathers.The apron’s waist is only on her front and dose not wrap around her sides. The 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. It seems to be a thicker cotton in a orange/brown color.The second apron is worn in happier times and was also worn by her mother (which I recently discovered).Being 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. A 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.The 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.
“Are these all you have?” questioned Ella’s fairy godmother, referring to Ella’s shoes.Ella 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!The shoes are painted! I picked up this info from the photo below. 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!