My sister’s pick for Anime Central this year was Melody in her pink ballgown from The Little Mermaid 2… and since there’s nothing I love more than a big fluffy ballgown, I was excited to tackle this project, which I thought would be fairly easy. Rather, it should have been quite easy, but due to a combination of stress, extreme busyness, and tiredness and a lack of motivation on my part, this gown turned into a frustrating project that I had to slog through.
Melody’s dress is a pretty simple princess ballgown; it has puffed sleeves, a full, gathered (or pleated) skirt, a sort of bustle thing, and a sash with a bow. I planned to make four parts: petticoat, dress, bustle, and sash. I went fabric shopping and got myself a bunch of interesting, fun fabrics in shades of pink – if you follow my blog, you might know that I have a dislike of shiny fabrics, and I don’t tend to go for them for my own costumes, but since this one is for my sis, I chose some fabrics I normally wouldn’t have even looked twice at myself. The bodice fabric is a crinkled, stretchy metallic jersey-like-satin-like something (and it turned out to be a nightmare…) For the sash and bustle, I chose a darker pink woven fabric with an iridescent shimmer. The skirt is actually two layers of fabric, a white mystery fabric I grabbed from the clearance table at Hancock, which I chose because it was light and made a nice swishing sound, like the scroop of taffeta (it turned out to be rip-stop nylon, which made a quite nice skirt but was a terror to sew with,) and a top layer of pink chiffon.
Forgive me for the really terrible pictures today – everything is wrinkled because it’s been stuffed into bags all week, and I didn’t have the time or energy this morning to fuss everything into looking neat.
The petticoat was first and easiest; I finished this in less than two hours, and most of that time was spent wrangling with strips of tulle. It’s made of white poly lining and stiff tulle, both cheap and lightweight. It’s a simple gathered panel skirt, with three long strips of gathered tulle sewn on in tiers. I wanted to make something as lightweight and floofy as I could, without actually using a hoop.
Here is the gown, looking sad and rumpled. I still have to add some finishing touches; ribbon trim around the neckline, and some tulle to make the sleeves really poof.
The bustle is a piece on its own, which fastens in the front with a hook, and then is covered by the sash. I think the bustle needs some more poof, too; the gown as a whole doesn’t have that exaggerated overturned-bowl look as her dress in the movie does, but I wasn’t expecting that. Still, the weight of the bustle – the dark pink fabric was somewhat heavy – kind of brings the skirt down.
This gown, which I probably could have finished in about four days, actually took me about two whole weeks to finish, and I was making mistakes left and right, which is always frustrating. It’s not my best effort. Still, it’s done, and that’s one thing to check off my really long list of stuff I have to finish before the convention (which is in four weeks… yikes!)