Saturday, February 2, 2019

A Beauxbatons Uniform - The Dress

My sister finally decided to read the Harry Potter books for herself. She has seen all the movies multiple times. She heard all the books when my mom read them aloud to the whole family back when my brothers were in elementary school. Yet, until somewhat recently, she had not read them herself. Well, now she's reading them, and mid-way through the fourth book (Goblet of Fire), she came to me with a request.


My sister requested a Beauxbatons Academy of Magic uniform. It could be a project we worked on together! I quickly agreed to the idea!

Fleur Delacour, Beauxbatons Student, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

In the movie, Beauxbatons female students wear blue dresses, with contrasting blue collars and cuffs, matching short little capes, a stylized blue witch hat, and fancy blue and black lace up shoes. This is the look my sister and I decided to recreate. (Though I would have found it great fun to design a Beauxbatons' uniform based on the description in the book, we decided we wanted the end result to be recognizable as what it was, so the movie uniform it will be!)


In the movie, the Beauxbatons' pale blue dresses have a high waistline, buttons on the bodice down to that waistline, long sleeves, pointed, darker blue collar and cuffs, and a full paneled skirt. It just so happened that I had the perfect pattern, featuring all these design details, already in my stash - Simplicity 8732, a 1950's vintage reprint pattern.


So the pattern was easy enough to find - no searching through pattern books required. I just pulled it out of my pattern dresser and was ready to go! Next up was the fabric!


After looking through just about every cut of blue fabric in my stash, my sister and I found the perfect piece - the periwinkle blue fabric left over from my Designin' December Dress. I'd originally bought 4 meters (yes meters, not yards) of this 60" wide fabric when I was in Malaysia November 2017. I used approximately 2 yards to make my Designin' December dress, meaning I had just over 2 yards left to squeeze this dress out of - squeeze being the operative word here. A full-skirted 1950's dress typically requires more than 2 yards of fabric - even if it is 60" wide fabric!


Well, I had to throw all caution to the wind, disregard grain lines (typically a big no-no in sewing), and hope for the best, but we got every single dress pattern piece cut out of the periwinkle fabric!


Once all required pieces were cut out however, there were no scraps of fabric large enough for pockets left. Thus, the pockets are made out of another similar, but not exactly matching, blue fabric I found in my stash.

Seashells for pattern weights - a little sandy, but they work!

And the cuff and collar linings and facings are cut from a navy blue cotton poplin - not from my stash, but I'll get to that in a minute.

So it was rather cold and snowy when we took these pictures. . .
The Beauxbatons uniforms in the movie had dark blue collars and cuffs. After looking through every dark-ish blue fabric in my stash, my sister was not pleased with any of the options. So, we went to Hobby Lobby first thing one Saturday morning and looked through every single dark blue fabric option they had available. After rejecting almost all the blue fabrics in the store, (leading me nearly to despair) my sister finally decided on a dark blue, not quite navy, polyester drapery velvet for her collar and cuffs. I breathed a sigh of relief and bought a yard of the velvet, along with some navy cotton poplin for facings and linings.


With all the materials finally decided on and everything cut out, I assembled the dress, making no changes at all to the pattern.


No changes at all includes the length. Yes, this dress is considerably longer than the Beauxbatons dresses in the movie, but my sister liked it that way, so we left it. After all - she is still a growing girl, so the dress may get a bit shorter on her over the next few months. And we can always shorten it later if she wants - though personally, I find the longer length a bit more wizard-robe like than the short movie dresses.


Now that the dress is done, we need to figure out the rest of the uniform. The short cape will be easy, I already have it cut out, just not yet sewn up.


As for the hat, I'm considering a few different options for making it, one being attempting to dye and majorly re-shape the white wool hat my sister decided to wear for fun in some of these pictures. I'll keep you updated on what happens there.


And as for shoes, well - I'm more or less leaving my sister to figure those out for herself, but I may offer some assistance once the cape and hat are dealt with.


So far it's been really fun to brainstorm for this project together, and she even helped with the dress but cutting it out once we had all the pattern pieces pinned down. (Don't worry, I warned her to do as I say and not as I do and to never disregard grain lines the way we did with this dress!)


Both my sister and I are thrilled with how the dress turned out, and she's even been wearing it regularly for things like school and church. 


One piece of the project done, three more to go - this will be a fun one!

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