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Bunny’s Belle Vibes Gown

Bunny's Belle Vibes Gown | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

Oh my friends how did this girl grow up so much!! I’m so thrilled to show you the gown that I made for Bunny to wear to her Auntie’s wedding last year. From the very beginning she had a specific idea in mind. She wanted Belle from Beauty and the Beast vibes. Not the actual dress – but the feeling of that dress, with her own favourite details. I have to admit, I was so worried making this dress that it would be too many details, but no, Bunny was right – it’s perfect.

Bunny's Belle Vibes Gown | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

So shall we begin with all the sewing details?! Bunny wanted a dress with a back tie, and a slightly open back. She loves open backs, but wanted to be able to wear a bra and not feel too exposed – so it was important to make sure there was enough coverage there. She loves ruffle sleeves and wanted quite large dramatic ruffles, along with shoulder straps that again were wide enough to cover a bra strap. For the rest of the dress she wanted a high waist bodice, something between empire and her natural waist. For the skirt she wanted tiers, and went back and forth quite a bit trying to decide how many tiers she wanted. In the end she went for 1 tier and I am eternally grateful because there was a lot of volume and gathering in this skirt! Here are a few of the inspiration images she pulled for me.

Bunny's Belle Vibes Gown | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE

The pattern was a struggle, I won’t lie. I started as I usually do, drafting my own pattern – but neither of us were loving it. I made a test dress which though Bunny loves her Bird dress, there were so many changes we both wanted to make to the pattern that I felt like it just wasn’t working. So instead I ended up using a princess seam bodice from a pattern in my stash – as soon as i can find it I will update this post with the pattern code, but right now I can’t find it. This was a much better fit, and I just find princess seams so much more forgiving than darts for a larger bust. The terrible irony is that after I had finished making this dress By Hand London released a pattern that is exactly what I needed. Hilariously, the first thing I did before drafting my own pattern was to check if Elisalex had made one as it seemed very much her design aesthetic! All that to say – if you want to make a similar dress to this, I do not have a pattern for you and won’t be releasing one – but By Hand London does! The Lucy dress has all of the details included and is a draft it yourself pattern so will work for anyone.

Bunny's Belle Vibes Gown | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

When it comes to fabric, this actually turned out to be our biggest challenge. Bunny very much wanted a yellow dress like Belle, but it turns out, this is not a very popular colour in occasion fabrics. Our first stop was Fabulous Fabrics here in Perth as they have the best selection of specialty fabrics. But sadly we just couldn’t find a good fit. She wanted silk taffeta, which sadly just did not exist in yellow. Every other colour yes, but just not yellow. I hunted high and low online and couldn’t find any there either. In the end she found a yellow crepe she liked from The Fabric Store so we bought that. Now though this dress looks absolutely beautiful, this was not the right fabric and I really did fight it the whole time.

Bunny's Belle Vibes Gown | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

If you’ve worked with crepe you’ll know it can get quite heavy if you use a lot of it. It also stretches out when you steam it too much and due to the drapey nature it just doesn’t have the volume that Bunny was looking for. In the end we had to add something like 10m of tulle under her skirt to try and add some volume, and it still isn’t quite where she wanted it unfortunately. For the hemline I added horsehair braid, again to try and pump up the volume and I think it really helped a lot. Though Bunny loves this dress, she was disappointed in the lack of volume in the shoulder ruffles and the skirt, and I honestly just wish I could have solved that for her!

Bunny's Belle Vibes Gown | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

Bunny’s Auntie Annelise had some gorgeous flower crowns made for Bunny and Birdie to wear to the wedding, so of course when we took these photos Bunny wanted a flower crown to complete the outfit. I decided to make her one from artificial flowers so that she could keep it and wear it again if she wanted. If you’d like to try making one yourself I made a little tutorial on Youtube here.

For the back ties, after her initial test dress she asked for maximum bow size, and I think we achieved that. These ties are absolutely massive! I love them :) I actually interfaced the entire length of them to try and give them more volume and structure as they were a little limp initially.

Bunny's Belle Vibes Gown | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

One of the things I love about this dress is how adjustable it is. At almost 16 years old, I think Bunny has mostly finished growing, but you just never know. I feel so good knowing that whatever happens the adjustable nature of this dress means that she can continue to enjoy it for many years to come.

I really hope you enjoyed this little dive into Bunny’s dream gown! I am so happy with how it turned out and most importantly Bunny loves it so I feel really satisfied. If I have left out any details or if you want to know more about this project let me know in the comments!

Bunny's Belle Vibes Gown | Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

photography by Bronnie Joel, Hair and Makeup by TXC Collective

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Elizabeth Toole Hammack
Elizabeth Toole Hammack
23 days ago

Wow! I feel as though I’ve watched Bunny grow up!So beautiful, and your dress for her is a masterpiece!

Elizabeth Bradshaw
Elizabeth Bradshaw
22 days ago

Beautiful!