Babette: Dress + Feathers = Costume

11665427_10207442445565810_4019194946893096844_nWhen we did our production of “Beauty and the Beast” Babette was by far the easiest Enchanted costume to create.  As luck would have it, I knew the director was thinking about doing the show . . . and one day at a thrift store I saw this wonderful tulip-shaped black dress that just screamed “Babette” to me.  So, for the $5.89 the dress cost, it was a cheap insurance policy in case we DID end up doing the show.

Now . . . I will confess that when I went to talk to the Director for our first meeting, her vision of Babette included a large feather duster tail that stuck up into the air ala Vegas Show Girl, along with a short French Maid dress and some fish net stockings.  I personally couldn’t see it, LOL, but I did do a little research looking for tall feathers . . . and then promptly gave up.

My image of a feather duster is a long slim dress with a the “duster” part on the bottom.  The professionally costumed show I attended had her in a short skirt with feathers around her waist/hips.  That actress did a marvelous job of always jiggling to keep the feathers moving and “dusting” as she moved about the stage.

My starter dress:

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The dress was a bit small, so we added a stretchy black fabric along the zipper. ( This post for a description of various ways to do this.)

I purchased several black and white turkey feather boas and they were pinned to the bottom of the dress.  This way they can be removed for washing.

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The dress was sleeveless, so she wore a lace shirt underneath.

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For the maid hat, I had found a little black fascinator style hat that had black feather and a black veil.  I added some white lace in a ruffle around the hat and some extra puffs at the back, just for visibility on stage and to set the feathers off.  To complete the outfit she wore long black gloves.

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When she became more Enchanted, she added a white marabou boa around her arms.  If I did it again, I would probably do something a little different . .  maybe more feather-duster looking gloves or something.  This was a “time-is-running-out” solution, but it does go with her “look”.

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The Human costume switched out for a black skirt with a lacy petticoat, and a white apron.  This skirt was kind of lame . . but it was onstage for all of 10 minutes . . . so . . . when time ran out . . . it was “good enough”

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Overall, this was a very successful costume considering how relatively easy it was to put together.  The feathers were about $35, so that was the most expensive aspect to this costume.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I found a matching black and white dress at the same thrift store.  What are the odds of that?  I of course, had to buy it.  Why, I don’t know.  I could now have identical Babettes, LOL.

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