Every year, there are some characters who seem very simple on the surface but it takes me forever to come up with a costume idea. This year those characters were the Silly Girls (a.k.a. the “groupies” who follow Gaston around everywhere he goes). In the end, I took inspiration from both the animated and live action versions. I liked that the characters in the animated version wore matching dresses, but I also liked that in the live-action they wore different dresses in the same color. In the end, I kind of did both. I made three very similar dresses in the same color palette, but I mixed it up a little so they were matching but not copies of each other.
In the above picture you can see the color palette. These were coordinating pinks and purples that I got for free and decided to combine to create the look of the Silly Girls. Though the pink is quite bright, I tried to go with slightly muted tones so they didn’t completely stick out from the rest of the village. The idea was to make them “Belle wannabes.” They sort of dress like her, but get it wrong.
Here you see the pattern I ended up using. I modified the pattern and attached the bodice and skirt for ease of quick changes backstage. I also made each bodice to give each Silly Girl their own slightly different look. Each then got a bodice color, a top skirt color and then the bottom skirt color. At one point I had crazy charts to keep track of all this so none of their dresses would follow the same pattern.
Once I had everything all organized, much cutting and sewing ensued. These dresses ended being some of my favorites – not just for this show but across all the shows I’ve done.
At this point, I had to start thinking about the shirts that would go with the dresses. The initial plan had been to make them myself but that seemed like way too much work, so I ended up buying the blouses you see below. You can also get a glimpse of the binding that I ended up putting around the bodices (also in three different shades of purple).
Once the bodices were bound and attached to the skirts, I needed to figure out a closure. I wanted it to have the look of a corset, but actually the closure was going to be a zipper. I didn’t want our actresses to have to worry about lacing up a corseted vest, particularly since they also played furniture in the Be Our Guest scene and had to change quickly.
It was then that I discovered that my sewing machine at home as a buttonhole stitch that makes a little hole. I measured out how many corset holes I would need and used the machine to do it quickly and easily. I then took a seam ripper to the middle to create a hole and threaded some pink ribbon through. The ribbon was tied at the top and basically rendered nonfunctional as the back zipper would get them in and out.
They aren’t perfect holes but this was the first time I was using this stitch on my machine. I have no idea, honestly, if this is what it’s even for, but it did the job and saved me hours of frustration!
And here’s the final product: