Belle Costume Hack with Mandy K Designs

I love being challenged in my sewing. Sure, there’s satisfaction in stitching up simple and fast projects – who doesn’t love instant gratification? But I believe challenges help us to grow not only in knowledge but inspiration & creativity. I recently had the opportunity to stretch my imagination a little when I was invited to take a hack at Mandy K Designs Tilt & Twirl Dress. The challenge was to use this pattern as a base and create a unique costume, just in time for Halloween fun! I am thrilled with the result! Knowing that my four year old girl is in full princess mode, this was just the right kick to get going on a unique costume for her. Once I saw the Tilt & Twirl Dress, the gears starting turning for what I could transform it into. My daughter’s favorite princess changes by the hour, but once we came across sparkly gold organza in the clearance section at the fabric store, her heart was set on Belle. Needless to say sparkly = glitter everywhere… EVERYWHERE!  But pure delight on her face when she’s wearing her costume is so worth it! (at least that’s what I remind my now bedazzled husband)

The first hack I did to the pattern was to double the full circle overlay skirt, so they cross in front. I cut two full circles from the sparkly gold organza & two more slightly larger skirts out of yellow tulle to give the overlay skirts a little more oomph.  While I made the tulle circles slightly larger, it’s important to remember Amanda’s tip from the pattern:  be sure the inner circle cut from the overlay skirt (for the waist) is the same size as the bodice, or they won’t match up.


I chose to skip the bias tape finish on the hems of the skirts.  I did this because the circle skirt is cut on the bias, so I don’t expect much fraying.  Just to be sure however, I finished the edges with fray check. 

Even better than the steal I paid for the organza, it was on clearance, was the buttery yellow satin for the bodice & circle skirt. I scrounged it from Gemia’s stash- for free! The bodice is made from a glittery satin that’s just a shade darker than the skirt – perfect for our French provincial girl. I modified the bodice straps to be much chunkier, almost a cap sleeve.  

As for the sash, I decided to omit it to keep with the style of Belle’s ball gown. The organza shawl across the shoulders was a simple addition, & exactly what was needed to transform our twirly dress into a princess gown.

To make the shawl follow these simple steps:

Cut an 18” x width of fabric rectangle from the organza.  At this point, it’s much longer than needed, but I wanted to make sure it fit around her shoulders with a little bit of wiggle room. With right sides together, stitch along the long edge to make a tube & turn it right side out.  I love love love my walking foot & it was a must for stitching with these slippery fabrics. 

1. Determine where the center is & pinch it to create a few pleats until you have your desired look.  

2. I matched the center of the bodice to the center of the shawl & stitched the bottom pleats in place.  The top pleat was affixed with a few hand stitches in order to hide the rest of the stitching.  

With the shawl partially attached to the bodice, measure around the shoulders and determine the correct length for the organza.  Add a 1” seam allowance and trim off the excess tube. Repeat for the other side.

3. Take one raw edge of the tube and pinch it together (I did somewhat of an accordion fold to make it about 1” wide). When I made the bodice, I left a one inch gap along each closure edge (approx. 1/2″ from the neck line) to allow room to insert this raw edge.

4. Tuck in the raw edge of the shawl into the gap on the bodice and secure it with a pin.  

5. Next, top-stitched the opening closed.  This is the only top-stitching I did on the bodice & it’s mostly hidden once the shawl falls in place. Repeat for the other raw edge.

6. Add snaps & it’s finished!


I really enjoyed this process of taking the fantastic base pattern by Mandy K Designs & transforming it into “something there that wasn’t there before.”  My daughter is quite enchanted with the result as well.

You can pick up your own pattern (or a few!) for 30% offthrough October 17th with coupon code MKDblogtour2015
Be sure to check out the other talented hacks & knock offs on the blog tour:


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