Belle Grâce

Ever wonder how to capture mother nature in an Art Gown? After all, there are many aspects to her.

To name a few, she’s Dogmatic & Powerful

Cloudy & Moody

Sunshine & Sunsets

Seasons & Storms.

Then let me introduce you to Tim, to whom Belle Grâce is dedicated. Tim shares all that mystic with us, via photographs from his magic tree sanctuary.

Belle Grâce is constructed from yards & yards of liquidation curtain sheers. At $0.50/yd. the fabric was an Art Gown in waiting. Acetate lining scraps sent to the Art Gowns fabric bin, by a long time friend, were paired with the sheers.

 First a full skirt liner was fashioned to fit over the Art Gowns Crinoline. The same Crinoline is used for all full skirted Art Gowns. Then a bodice was draped on the Judy.

Using tailor’s tacks, the drape was opened up, creating a pattern. Again using tailor’s tacks the shape was repeated on a stiff under lining. The goal was to create a corset look, without using boning.

The sheers were gathered and and attached to the over skirt.  A diamond of beaded self satin was added to the bodice.

The result – Belle Grâce

Belle Grâce loves all lighting.

The diaphanous layers of sheer over satin solids make for a lot of opportunities.

The natural light this time of year is glorious, as it pours through the windows. A DOP once pointed out to me, you can’t replace the sun.

A gluttony of Outtakes

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here are some of Tim’s spectacular, Art Gowns inspiring photos.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All trees featured in the slideshow have been dedicated to someone. I am pleased to say that all of the AGMs & AG Art Director, Rebecca Budd, have a magic tree of their own.

Magic Hour Back Light

If you click on the Thank you, you’ll visit Holly.

Art Gown Belle Grâce designed and handmade by Resa McConaghy – 2021

All Photos of  Belle Grâce © Resa McConaghy

All nature photos © Timothy Price – Off Center Not Even

152 thoughts on “Belle Grâce

  1. Timothy Price

    She is so beautiful, Resa. What a fantastic gown. I’m so happy Holly, and the trees can inspire such a beautiful gown. You are so unbelievably talented and resourceful.

    1. Dear Tim,
      Thank you for all the great photography and taking me away from the city with your posts.
      Best… you let me use your photos here on Art Gowns to help create my Gowntoons stories.
      Holly and I have a creative spark that just goes off sometimes. This happened with the name Belle Grâce.
      Blogging can be a wonderful thing!
      I’m so happy I met you!

      1. Timothy Price

        Thank you for the wonderful comment, Rebecca. Resa and Holly have inspired a lot of the to do with the trees and the music.

  2. Belle Grâce, she is too [beautiful name, Holly!]! My goodness, Resa, your hands have created magic again. Such beauty and all those luscious layers. I love her and I love her creator! Wow! Tim’s images are super inspiring! Meravigliosa!!!!!!!!
    Worth the wait, dahling! You are amazing. ❤️🤗🌺💖❣️💖🌺🤗❤️

    1. Dahling Marina,

      I’m so happy you are here! She is a beauty, and beyond Tim’s magic trees she reflects some of the wonder I see every day out here in our blogging community.
      Meravigliosa – What language? Meaning? I adore the word!
      I’ll bask in Belle Grâce for awhile, and I will draw!
      You are amazing! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

      1. I love the sound of that word! It’s Italian and means marvelous [same origin] / wondrous! Popped up in my mind as soon as I saw your wonder!
        I bask with you!
        Love and many many many hugs your way, dahling!

  3. I’m so blown away the beauty of this gown. This is elegance personified. Oh, yes! Belle Grâce is the perfect name for this work of art. She lights up the room. Resa, you are so gifted it leaves me speechless each time I see your finished work. Timothy is a gem and we’re so fortunate to have him to brighten our days. That you dedicate this to him is so moving and so well deserved. Congratulations dear Resa. Well done! Sending beaucoup love ❤️ xoxoxo

    1. Beaucoup love to you, dear Holly,

      I’m in a spin. After 6 months, Belle Grâce is alive. She now joins the other Art Gowns, in perpetuity.
      As you know, I am drawing & painting & expressing through Gowntoons..
      However, nothing expresses how I feel better than making an Art Gown.
      That you embrace this obscure art form is a shiny object.

      1. I know you put your heart and soul into these spectacular works of art and it shows. Belle Grâce is fabulous, among your most elegant of gowns. I can imagine a ballroom with sparkling chandeliers reflecting off her layers of extravagant satins and colors of a golden dawn. Brava dear Resa. So extraordinary ! xoxoxo

        1. What a poetic description of where & how Belle Grâce would be seen.
          I love it!
          I need to send you a mail soon… a bit of a catch up.
          You know, the bass player is STILL in the hospital!
          Although, there was music last night and I like the bass player who came.

          1. We have some catching up to do girl friend. My favorite and Only fashionista! It would be a dream to slip into Belle Grâce and wear her to the Golden Globes ( I’m nominating our Ever Ready bunny for best designer in any and all productions!) xoxoxo

    1. Yay! …about you thinking it was boned.
      Rather than squish the body into a shape, I make a shape that sits on the body, comfortably.
      All of the Art Gowns are made from leftovers. I can’t quite think of the right buzz line, but something like trash to treasure.

        1. Agree!
          And why does a gown have to be made of fabrics wherein 1 yard of fabric could pay my hydro bill? There are tons of fabric waste on the planet. Even third world countries can’t use it up, don’t need or want it. The chemicals used to reprocess are vicious pollutants themselves.
          Even then, only so much can be done with what can be broken down and repurposed..
          Only 100% pure cottons, wools, rayons can be made cleanly into seconds. However, because the fabrics are chopped up, the fibres are very short. Then when spun into yarn, that makes a weak fabric.
          I know too, much. I’ll talk forever.
          I wish someone of influential import would find my gowns, and see the respectability.

          1. I’ve never thought much about fabric waste. In my mother’s day and my grandmother’s, when a garment was no longer usable by a family member, they took it apart and made a garment for someone else.

            Your gowns really do look high-end. What a little creativity and resourcefulness can do, eh?

          2. I agree, Resa. The fabric waste is tragic and there are no easy answers or solutions, especially given the synthetics and the inability to recycle and repurpose. I am just starting to read Virginia Postrel’s book, “The Fabric of Civilization – How Textiles Made the World. Fabric is ubiquitous but I do not know the whole story.

            1. Rebecca,
              Have you seen this Marketplace expose!
              It’ both mind blowing and mind numbing.
              Synthetics have made a mockery out of recycling, etc, but they have also made life easier. Just throw it in the washer and dryer, no need to iron.
              Of course many fast fashion items die in the first wash. Yet, who cares, when you paid $5.00 for a blouse, and you can just go buy a new one, and that new one is the new style. After all, the blouse you bought went out of style 3 days after you bought it..
              Fast fashion has also eliminated mid-priced fashion. Mid priced brands offered a longer lasting product, usually with more natural fibres. Mid priced has all but vanished from the marketplace.
              This leaves high end (oh yeah I’m going to buy jacket for $2,000.00, that costs $65.00 to dry clean), and low end.
              So there’s fashion for the masses, and fashion for the rich. It’s like going back to the times of Marie Antionette, but in a modern way. Instead of letting us eat cake, they let us eat polyester and elastine.
              I say eat, because we are literally eating the pollution they create. It’s in our water, with all the plastics.

              1. I have wondered why we are constantly focused on fashion. While many would believe that we are influenced by marketing tactics, I think the issue is more complex and multifaceted. There is a need to belong vs the desire to be an “influencer” vs the hope that we are unique individuals. I agree wholeheartedly that we have lost the mid priced brands. My greatest joy is to show off my retro fashion that I found at the back of my closet.

              2. I think it comes down to that we all want to find love & success.
                This is addressed big time in the book “The Way She Looks Tonight”.
                A GREAT read! xoxo

                Me too! I love my old clothes!
                Also, I have adopted many Jimi leftovers from the “Hendrix” movie I designed. Lots of fun!

  4. Wow–what a spectacular and gorgeous gown. You’re so talented, Resa! And it’s a great name.

    You will laugh, but I’ve imagined a gown inspired by the spotted lantern fly. It’s an invasive bug that everyone in my area, including me, stomps on, swats, or whatever–but it’s very pretty. The mature bug is grey with scarlet underneath. I don’t sew at all though. 😀

    1. Thank you, Merril! You, who are amazing talented is telling me I’m talented. ❤
      The spotted lantern fly? OMG! I think I have a garage door mural of it. Good grief, often I have no idea what artists are saying, or why. Now, I think the artist was saying beware of this beauty.

      Anyway, I've wanted to do an insect themed gown for a long time. It's not an easy choice, but insects can be gorgeous, even if.
      The fabrics I use are largely donated leftovers- not wanteds, by friends.
      I'll buy something, if I'm inspired by how it looks, and it's in the bargain bin for $2.00 or less a yard.

      I'm going into a basement tomorrow, to see what I can salvage.
      I'm so proud that I can turn garbage into gowns.
      This should be all the rage in our days of global warming, but not.
      Thank you for checking out Belle Grâce!!

      1. You’re very welcome, Resa. (And thank you.) 💙That is so cool that you can turn such things into beauty.

        I don’t think about clothes much, and I no zero about designing them. That’s why its’s so strange I’ve thought about this gown. I imagine it with a full skirt–picture Elizabethan–with the scarlet peaking out from the underskirt.

        1. How exciting! …and all based on a bug!
          Yes, the scarlet would peek out… and I see a halter style top with an Elizabethan ruffle around the neck.
          I should do that. I haven’t done the ruffle!

    1. Dear Dave,
      Thank you LOTS!
      I’m glad you see what I can do. I guarantee you that I create gowns better than I write!
      The steps you see in making the gown, are all part of a dying craft.
      As time & gowns have gone by, I am showing more of the process, for posterity.
      Rebecca might be doing a podcast with me about the whole sewing/patterns/draping etc. process.
      Could be fun to do that with Ms. Frances, as she knows a lot about making cloths.

    1. Thank you so much!
      The Art Gowns have a way of capturing the light… or dark, at times!
      I love your dream world come true. We should all have that experience!
      Have a fab weekend!

  5. this is so-0h-0h beautiful. I LOVE that you’ve explained how you did it. In some of the pics it looks like a painting. AND such gorgeous picts from Timothy. I am in heaven, lady. In heaven.

    1. Dear Shey,
      Thank you for this lovely comment.
      About the “how I did It”.. there’s a lot of knowledge and ability that went into this build.
      I want people to know that here is a dying art out here. The art is couture.
      You are heaven, sweet Shey! xoxoxo

      1. Well it certainly is an art and so sad it is dying when you see this BUT you are doing everything to show this art and also that if you know what you are doing in terms of materials it need not cost the earth. Fashion like everything else has been hi-jacked that way/ But truly this is a beautiful piece of work. I can tell that absolute knowledge went int this. You are a top of your craft. xxxx

        1. Hi-jacked is right! The pollution alone from “fast fashion” is helping kill mother earth. When I was younger (punkish times) we wore clothes with holes as an anti-fashion statement. Thing is we cut the holes and added safety pins. So, again fashion faux pas.
          Now, I wear my clothes to rags. Honest holes. It is not anti-fashion. I feel an honour in doing so.
          Shey, thank you, and yes, I did study Couture. The place I studied folded about 3 years after I graduated (with honours).
          I’m not sure where you’d study this any more. Maybe Europe… or New York.

          1. We need to talk clothes. How mine were always hand me downs growing up, how to this day if you give me a bag of cast offs I will give you five outfits, Not all gorgeous but outfits. HOW I AM STILL A PUNK to this day and a Goth too but also how down the years I have been asked to please keep forever coats and dresses belonging to ex Bluebell girls from the 30s. Oh I have all sorts actually, including stuff I nicked in theatre years back so yep. AND yes, I have worn clothes to rags and tatters that I am comfie in. When someone wants an outfit from a certain vintage I usually have it in a bag somewhere. &0s stuff the lot as well as 40s and 30s. So keep going girl. Keep going cos what you do is beyond all this.

            1. Sounds fab!

              We can chat in bits, when I send the new AGM Shey drawings. I finally came up the story.
              I’ll just take a bit of a break, as I always need to after finishing an Art Gown.

              1. Love you dahling AGM Shey!
                I’ll be drawing my way to the next episode of PBH & the AGMs over the next few weeks.

                I will enjoy Belle Grace on the Judy until then. At that point I will haul ass all my stash out, and see what I have collected enough fabric for.
                I had 3 bins I was collecting for. Now I’ve added a fourth. One bin is for an Art Gown for dedication to you.
                Anyway, …hey, I’ve never made a green Art Gown. I think certain shades of green were happening in the 18th century?

          2. Resa – I am with you. I am wearing a top that I have had for years and I will be wearing it till it is threadbare. My sister Sarah and my mother Frances, still wear clothes that they have been them for over a decade. I remember Frances cutting up old clothes into strips, sewing them together and then braiding together to make rugs. She told me when she was young (during the Depression), her mother made dresses for her out of flour sacks which were made of cotton. When the flour makers/mills found out that mothers were making clothes for their children they added designs to the sacks.

            1. Ahh, my family all made rag rugs. I bought some rag rugs made from synthetics about 30 years ago. I still use them. They give new meaning to “takes a licking, but keeps on ticking”. We are such a throw away society!
              Many I know would change their decor and just buy new rugs, when they don’t need to, other than for design purposes.
              haha, the flour sacks. It’s neat that the companies added designs to the flour sacks.
              I made an outfit from flour sacks years ago, when I got stranded in South America. Unfortunately the design on mine was “Harina”.

    1. Thank you so much, Cheyenne!
      Tim is a sweetheart. He lives with the beauty of nature, and he shares it beautifully.
      The Art Gowns take 3 – 6 months … this one took 7. Wow!

  6. Stunning. So very, very beautiful. Every time I think you outdid yourself, you outdo yourself again. There’s no end to the magic of your Art Gowns. So gorgeous. I’m so happy to finally see it. Congratulations. (the video’s do not work)

    1. Thank you, Gi!
      I learned to sew and I’m making art out f it!!!!
      Those aren’t videos. They are slideshows. I make them on WP.
      I’ll try to find out what’s up. After all, it’s a WP thing, and anyone on WP should see it.

  7. Pingback: Belle Grâce — Art Gowns (Resa’s latest Art Gown…absolutely stunning) | Rethinking Life

  8. This is a beautiful dress and I love the thought you have put into it. It is interesting that your process for creating your designs with fabric are similar in many ways to how I cloth my fondant figurines. I guess all artwork follows certain steps. I saw Timothy’s post about the trees and actually took pictures of my own tree. I must get around to posting them.

    1. Roberta!
      EGADS! I popped over to GLAM, and got stuck there.
      Anyway,I am back on Art Gowns.
      I had to look up fondant figurines. Interesting hobby!
      You should post some of those one day! Let me know in a comment if you do. I wouldn’t want to miss that. I’m a bit of a helter-skelter blogger. I have no routine or rhythm.
      Yes, post your trees!!! Write a poem to go with them, maybe?

        1. Okay! It’s amazing, but I forgot about it. I’m already a follower!
          I have 2 blogs as well. I’d like to make it one blog, but I can’t quite figure it out!

    1. Hello Miriam!

      Pardon my tardy reply. I popped over to GLAM one day and got stuck there.
      Well, I’m back on Art Gowns for a bit.
      Thank you for your lovely comment.
      So, I took the pics of the gown. The fabrics catching the light was magic. Tim took the pics of the trees and clouds. I find his photography to be amazing inspiring!
      Have a fab weekend ahead!

    1. Thank you! xo
      She took 7 months to build. Hopefully I can speed up the next one…say 5,6 months! I did one in 3 months once.
      One day I’d like to have a show.

    1. Hello Klausbernd!
      How lovely of you to visit, and thank you for the compliment on my art. Regards to the 3 others in The Fab Four of Cley!
      I’ll be by for a visit!

    1. THANK YOU!!!!!
      I popped over to GLAM for a minute and got stuck there!
      I’d like to get it down to 1 blog.
      Dahling Marina, any ideas on how to mix Art Gowns and Graffiti into 1 blog?

      1. I know what you mean. I had the sane problem. I guess beat way would be adding a menu with 2 or 3 (or however many you like actually) columns (categories) Only thing that may need a small change would the the name of the blog. For example Resa’s Art Journeys… something that combines your art and your art walks. I’m happy to help if tou wish via email too.

        1. Yes, I see how that can work. I’ve been thinking on it all day while I clean the stove and cat litter box issues. xoxo💖💕💖💕💕💖💕💖💕💕💖xoxo
          It would be a huge change. I’d need to import Glam into Art Gowns.
          When I have the mental perspicacity, I’ll look at other themes, and write WP with some questions on the import.

        1. Pam,
          Have a great weekend!
          I haven’t collected enough blues and greens yet, but today I started a bin to collect those fabrics.
          I have some pieces, but a gown isn’t there, yet!
          I have 4 that I’m collecting for, now.
          One of them will be environmentally honourable, because I’m making it out of those plastic mesh bags that onions, oranges, etc. come in. They are not recyclable, so end up In landfills. Birds that eat at landfills get their beaks caught in the mesh, can’t open their beaks to eat and starve to death.
          The only reason I’m getting those bags is because I’ve been ordering and having food delivered since the pandemic began. That’s what they send. That’s when I decided to collect them.
          Humans are a piece of work .
          Have a great weekend!

          1. Resa! I would love to have an interview with you for my blog about your process and how fashion not only doesn’t have to be fast but can be sustainable. You game? I’m also I’m the very early stages of writing an article on fast fashion, microfibers, water, etc. for the wH2O Journal out of the University of Pennsylvania and we could use some of the interview for that. The Journal won’t be published until Spring 2022 so plenty of time. If you want to talk more about this – and I hope you do- my email is

            1. YES!
              I’ll mail you.
              I love this. When I started doing research for an article about all this, for my friend’s online magazine (just before Covid hit) I was overwhelmed by scientific stats, and the reality they painted.
              People do not understand just how fast fashion has grown to be such a serious pollutant.

              1. It’s horrible for the environment. Used to be people bought quality products and used them until they wore out. I have a couple knot dresses my aunt gave me 30 years ago that were made by a tailor and they still look great. I dint wear them that often but nothing today lasts for that long and goes through two owners.
                We’ll talk!!🙏♥️

  9. Satin folds. Curtain sheers. I love learning what went into this dress, from the materials to the effort, as much as the finished product! Belle Grâce is a vision, a lovely vision! Well done, dear you.

    1. Thank you dear Christy!
      This is a sweet comment, indeed.

      I’m trying to use up everything no one wants, so the leftovers don’t end up in landfills.
      I’ve been collecting plastic mesh bags that fresh produce comes in.
      It began when I started having groceries delivered due to Covid.
      I never buy produce that comes in those bags. They are not recyclable, and end up in landfills. Birds that eat from landfills get their beaks stuck in the mesh. They can’t open their beaks and starve to death.
      Anyway, the place I order from sends me those bags. I couldn’t toss them out, in good conscience. So, I’m saving them for an Art Gown. It will be my most honourable. xoxox

    1. Thank you very much, Olga! Pardon for the late response. I popped over to GLAM one day and got stuck there.
      I’d like to combine my 2 blogs into 1, but I haven’t figured out how to do that, and it all make sense.
      In the meantime, I’m like El Kabong…here, there and everywhere, so beware!

    1. Aww, Thank you Diana!
      The Art Gowns are quite satisfying for me to do and shoot!
      I was couture trained. Lots of good that is for making $$$ these days.
      So, I get to use it for art!

    1. Thank you, Graham!
      As the technical process is a dying craft, I’ve been making it a definite feature of each Art Gown.
      Technology has replaced a large part of the craft, but the truly creative part is unique to humans.

  10. Stunning is the first word that came to mind. What a stunning gown, Resa! Your talent is amazing, to say the least, and I loved learning about the process too. Incredible! 💗

    1. Thank you, Lauren!
      Lovely comment!
      Talent…yes… but I couldn’t achieve my visions if I wasn’t couture trained. Not a big call for that these days, so I might as well use it for art’s sake.
      I’ve been including more of the process, as people seem to like that part.

  11. Oh, Resa … I adore this gown. Belle Grace is a perfect name for such beauty.
    The beading is spectacular. I would feel like a princess if I were to wear it.
    I have difficulty sewing a button. It’s astounding to be able to create such beauty.
    Have a relaxing weekend
    Be safe … Isadora 😎

    1. Dear Isadora,

      It is a bit of a princess gown. Holly said it made her think of Grace Kelly. That’s how the Grace part of her name came about.
      Have a great rest of the weekend, and you be safe, too! xoxo

  12. Again, another ball knocked out of the park, Resa!!! Your gown is spectacular!! Just WOW!!!! I love the lines, the grace, the colors. It is SO sexy!!! Just yummy as I imagine myself in it. A younger version of course, LOL. You are so talented and I really hope you know it. Thank you so much for showing us the fruit of all your loving hard work!! xo

    1. Thank you, Valerie!
      I haven’t tried to sell any gowns. I want to use them for: fund raisers, environmental awareness, creative ideas for solutions and what beauty sheds.

  13. My dear Resa, your creations are the epitome of glamour and elegance. But even more exciting and profound, they are love letters to the earth. This is my fourth time to visit and every time, I feel a marvelous sense of compassion and joy for your message. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

    1. Aww, you are welcome Rebecca!
      Love letters to the earth… what a fabulous name for my Art Gowns fashion show, if I ever get to have one.
      I should do up a proper budget, and try to interest ….who?
      It’s an expensive proposition: models, seamstresses to fit the gowns properly on the models, a venue, a publicist, stage design/concept, invitations, a host, refreshments.. and on!
      I’d love to see it happen!

    1. Dearest Charlotte,

      She is a beauty, and you would be a princess in this Art Gown. Lol, you are already a princess, in my eyes.
      I am dedicated to using …off cuts, old clothes (of gown worthy fabrics & I clean them first) that I take apart. Friends have been sending me … silk pillow cases, curtains (just like Scarlett O’Hara) embroidered whatnot and more.
      I have about 7 bins now.
      1 bin is possibilities for you.
      For you, I need fabrics that will ship well. So, when they arrive all they need is a fluff and a few alterations. Also, the drama is important. I see a gown that has a mature beauty, defined by a Soprano Diva.
      I’m leaving Belle Grâce on the Judy for at least 2 more weeks, I want to enjoy looking at her. After all, she took 7 months to make.
      In the meantime, I am back to drawing Gowntoons.
      When I take Belle Grâce off Judy, that’s when I will take stock of what I have collected, and what the next Art Gown will be.
      Adore you!

      1. Oh my goodness that would be very exciting, the feeling is mutual, hugs to you 💋 . I had a laugh this week about clothing. I got a solo booking for a birthday party and the man booking asked if I could meet him at the exclusive club for a chat about programming a few days before. It was fortuitous because I was in Central London teaching that afternoon and I said I’d go after work. I got a bit concerned because I received a text saying dress smartly or they won’t let you in. When I arrived in my smart black trousers and blouse and new coat my Mum got me for my birthday I thought I’d be ok but I forgot I had my smart black trainers on because rushing around London I like comfort. They were spotted straight away and I was asked if I had alternative shoes (no). Anyway to cut a long story short I got put in an annex and waiting for my host hiding my feet as much as possible lol. On Friday I turned up in full evening gown, hair done, make up and the guy on the desk did a double take, I lifted up my hem to show him the heels 👠 and he laughed. The evening went very well lovely people, lovely venue and a lovely box of flowers at the end of the performance. I must get a pair of those flat shoes you can screw heels into hehe.

        1. Trainers ARE smart with upscale wear.
          I’ve seen some spreads pairing sneakers w/ gowns now.
          Comfort is important. I had a pair of Bruno Magli’s that lasted about 10years.
          One inch heel.. but somehow they were cut so well, it looked like 2 inches.
          They cost me a fortune, but were worth it in the end.

          All over footwear! Although heels do finish off an outfit in a sleek and classic style.
          LOL, it sounds like in the end all went well! I’m sure you were a big hit!!!!!

  14. Pingback: My tree and an Autumn fairy – Robbie's inspiration

Leave a Reply to Becky Ross Michael Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.