When Tony Award-winning costume designer Ann Hould-Ward created costumes for the Broadway production of "Beauty and the Beast," her amazing ideas brought to life the characters in the Beast's enchanted castle. She used a combination of three-dimensional costumes and character positioning to design outfits for singing and dancing knives, forks, cups, candlesticks, clocks and the lovable teapot, Mrs. Potts. Creating costumes of inanimate household objects might seem difficult, but you can make your own Mrs. Potts costume without too much trouble.
Make a dress. Choose a pattern, like Simplicity 3723 or McCall's 5954 for an adult teapot. Simplicity 3725 will work for a child-sized teapot. Alter the right sleeve of the pattern to make it much wider, shaped liked a leg on bell-bottom pants. This arm will be the spout. Select a fabric, ideally a small English floral print. Cut out the pattern from the fabric and sew the dress, making sure it is very full from the gathers at the waist.
Construct an upside-down hoop skirt inside the dress. Use the hoop boning and twill tape to build three hoops. Normally a hoop skirt is narrowest at the waist and widest at the ankles; yours will be in reverse to form the teapot shape. Create a hoop 39 inches (or 1 meter) in diameter for an adult or six inches smaller for a child. This will be your widest and highest hoop. Use vertical strips of twill tape to hold the hoop in place just below the waist. Create two more hoops, each 6 inches smaller than the one before, and space them evenly inside the skirt with the smallest hoop at the bottom . The dress should be wide at the hips and much narrower at the ankles. Be sure there is enough room in the dress to walk before attaching the smallest hoop. If not, make the hoop larger.
Add details to the altered sleeve to create the spout. Using hoop boning, make a circle 8 to 10 inches in diameter and attach it to the inside of the sleeve hem. To prevent the sleeve from moving around and to keep it looking more like a spout, attach a 5-inch piece of elastic across the opening of the sleeve. When a hand is through the sleeve, loop the elastic between the thumb and index finger to keep the sleeve in place. Sew 1-inch-wide white or cream lace to both sleeve hems. Sew matching 2-inch lace to the collar of the dress.
Accessorize the outfit. Purchase a white mob cap and apron, or make your own from thin white cotton or muslin. Wear shoes that will blend with the dress so as not to detract from the illusion of the teapot.
Things You'll Need:
- Image of Mrs. Potts
- Sewing equipment and supplies
- Dress pattern
- Hoop skirt boning
- Twill tape
- Mob cap
Let your movements accentuate the costume's details. Stand with your left hand on your hip to create Mrs. Potts' handle. Hold your right hand up and over to create the shape of a spout.
- Let your movements accentuate the costume's details. Stand with your left hand on your hip to create Mrs. Potts' handle. Hold your right hand up and over to create the shape of a spout.
Christina Gandolfo first began writing professionally in 1985 for the "Burlington County Times." Her work has also appeared in "The Register-News" and "The Leader." She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., and a Doctor of Philosophy in English from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn.