Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Footloose" costumes: Ariel's Prom Dress

This was a challenging and fun costume to make! I only had one reference picture to go by:
Since the 2011 movie hadn't been released when I got this assignment, I had to make a whole lot of guesses as to how the dress was put together.
The director didn't want pink for the dress, so I suggested a silver/gray, which would look great with Ren's burgundy tux jacket. Once I found the fabric (a costume satin from Joanns) and the actresses' measurements (the part is double-cast, so I had to make two identical dresses), I got to work.
My starting point was a sheath sundress with a straight bodice. I took the pattern into Pattern Editor and created the points on the bottom edge of the skirt, where I would be attaching the sheer fabric godets.
Initially, I had half-circle godets in each of the six hem points. However, my husband managed to track down a clip of the final prom scene from the new movie on YouTube (which ended up getting pulled a day later, no doubt due to copyright issues), and I was able to see that the flare of the godets was MUCH more dramatic than just a half-circle of sheer could create. So I got more of the sheer fabric and added full-circle godet inserts on top of the half-circles. The end result is a dress with a fabulous flare!
The flounce around the upper bodice was a bit more tricky to figure out. I ended up making a double-layer flounce, serged together at the upper edge, and topstitched onto the bodice between the straps. For the part that goes around the arm, I zig-zagged elastic to the inner top edge so it would hug the actresses' arms without digging in.
Here is one of the actresses modeling her dress:

Here she is doing a twirl!

Here's a close-up of the godets:
I didn't hem the godets, because I was worried that even a two-thread rolled hem would weigh them down too much. Each dress will only be work three times, so I'm not too worried about raveling.

One of the best moments I had was when the director looked at the costume, and asked me, "How do you do that?!?" When I asked her what she meant, she said, "How did you make the pattern?" I told her that I used a program to create the pattern. "Yes," she said, "but how did you copy the dress, just from a picture?" I told her I had years of practice from copying clothes from catalogs and web pictures. She just shook her head and said it was all just magic. That felt so great!!

Now I will finally have some time to do more sewing for myself. Well, actually, my extremely patient hubby will be getting a pair of trousers first. He deserves it.


  1. Bravo!! The dress looks wonderful and it's great that somebody recognizes the work and thought that go into this type of project.

  2. Another smashing success!!! Kudos!!!!

  3. I was waiting to see your project results. Nicely done, indeed! "Magic"


  4. I think your dress looks better than the original. Way better!

  5. felicity from Down UnderMarch 14, 2012 at 4:53 AM

    I'm also quite taken by the red boots! As to the comment re magic, yes, you have a lot of experience and are obviously practised at designing from what you see. But it is a great gift and worthy of all the praise it reaps.

  6. You truly are a magician!! The dress looks like such fun to wear!


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