Hot! Rapenzel

We gave up fighting our daughter over the whole Disney Princess thing and instead embraced the princesses that we felt have the most admirable traits1 — Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Rapunzel from Tangled. I actually quite liked Tangled (the song Mother Knows Best is totally Kander & Ebb for kids) and Pen saw it twice in the theater. 

It was only a matter of time before I made Penelope her own princess dress and, as I predicted when I recently lamented the quality of official princess dresses from Disney,  would incorporate brocade  – actually leftover brocade from my holiday dress. The dress was loosely based on Simplicity 4764. I also read this amazing analysis of her dress for a little guidance.


While it's a still a little big to allow for growth, Pen was quite pleased with the results. I was most pleased with the sleeves.



1 Disney really makes it clear that Belle LOVES TO READ in Beauty in the Beast. So much so that Pen plays with her Belle figurine and says repeated "I love to read, I love to read!." 


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. Oh this is SO ADORABLE! I love it! Great job on the dress!

  2. OHMAGOSH! She is too adorable! I was a Shirley Temple fan so I always adhered to the idea that every little girl is, in fact, a princess (The Little Princess). And, amazing sleeves! I love the details!

  3. What a beautiful job, Mena!! I love all the little details! What a beautiful labour of love for Pen. My Miss Friday would go bonkers for this dress, so I think I’ll need to make one up for her, too. :)

  4. Squeee! She is just adorable!

  5. Ok that is the cutest thing I have see all week!

  6. She looks so cute and happy in this dress.

  7. Lovely and she is so happy. She’ll have so much fun playing. Great Job!

  8. It is SO BEAUTIFUL! Love all the details in this dress and it’s so much fun to play dress up!

  9. This is adorable. What a cutie!

  10. Adorable!

  11. soo sweet. my little princess would love that dress. And while I agree that not all princesses are bad, I wonder about Belle. She fell in love with her captor. Stockholm syndrome?
    I gave up trying to avoid princesses with my 3 year old. But i do talk to her about the issues with these movies. makes for some interesting conversations with a toddler.Farah

  12. What a little girl’s dream dress!
    My kids’ daycare has some Disney princess dresses in the costume section, and the quality is terrible! All of the seams have ripped and the sheer sections have unravelled. I just picked up Butterick 4320 at the thrift store (princess costumes), and hope to make a few when I have spare time (insert hysterical laughter here!).

  13. What a gorgeous princess!
    Belle also saves her prince, instead of the other way around. She has always been my favorite princess.

  14. I have been dreading a princess phase but have avoided it so far. I love how you approached it and the aspects you chose to emphasize. Now maybe I won’t hyperventilate when LB asks for a princess something-or-other.

  15. That is incredibly cute. Good on your for taking heed on the Disney princesses too. If you look at most tv/film of that genre, women are either there just to find their Prince Charming or not at all. Terrible role models for girls, especially when they are praised for their beauty only, not intelligence or other traits. Looks like little Pen has picked up on Belle’s better qualities though.

  16. I’m not really down with the princess stuff either, but that is truly adorable. My mom used to make me Little House on the Prairie dresses and sunbonnets at that age, and I’m still nostalgic about it. Your little girl is going to remember that dress with love forever.

  17. I admit Belle is the only Princess I really liked too–perhaps because like me, she has brown hair and eyes and loves to read, and when B&theB was released when I was 11, it meant a lot to an awkward tween. ;)
    I also loathe how the Disney Princesses are so in-your-face commercialized that you are doomed to be faced with them when shopping for little ones. As if half of that stuff isn’t going to be rotting on a Goodwill shelf when the fad passes!
    But I digress. Your dress is exquisite! I cannot wait to start making costumes for my little ones (and I’ll be coming back to look at those amazing sleeves again for further inspiration).