Finally, we’ve reached the last and, what I believe is, the most impressive of my summer makes: a strapless, sweetheart 50s-prom-dress-inspired ball gown! I have to say, out of everything I’ve made so far, this dress is the one that most feeds the desire residing deep in my souls to be a Disney princess. When I saw this fabric online at Darn Cheap, I knew I had to have it; and in what seems to be a theme in my life, I managed to snaffle up the last 1.5 metres of it. The soft, silky texture, incredible drape and fantastical floral motif suggested one thing to me and one thing only: A REALLY PRETTY DRESS. And this is what I came up with!
When I started this dress at the beginning of the year, it was certainly the most challenging project I had yet taken on. And, with the confidence of inexperience, and boundless Youtube-tutorial-fuelled enthusiasm, I decided I would DRAFT THE PATTERN MYSELF. I mean, how hard could it be? Just maths, right? The first couple of muslins came out pretty well, so I went ahead and gathered the rest of my supplies: Bemsilk lining fabric, invisible zip, plastic boning and channelling. I cut out my bodice pieces in the lining fabric, interfaced, and tacked them together to fit…and this is where I started running into problems. I don’t know if it was the pattern, and the mock-ups weren’t as good as I thought; or the difference between the cotton I’d used for them and the interfaced lining – either way, it took three or four attempts at taking in and letting out before my grandmother and I managed to get that bodice finished. We never quite got it perfect; but hey, it looked good, and as far as I’m concerned – that’s the main thing!
Once I’d got that bodice lining done, I could bone it, and cut into my fashion fabric. Which proved to be a bit of a nightmare in itself; it was so drapey and slippery it was almost impossible to cut it straight. Also, my scant metre and a half was barely enough for a full circle skirt AND a bodice – but fortunately the fabric was just as wide, so I had some room to work with! I managed to get the pattern placement how I wanted it, too, which was no easy feat given that it was such a large pattern. Construction from that point was reasonably straightforward; I used french seams in the skirt, which worked really well with the light-weight fabric, and the lining pieces were overlocked together. The last thing which gave me a headache was the hem; I had originally intended to do a rolled hem on my machine; and although I’ve used it fairly successfully once or twice before, it just wouldn’t cooperate with this dress for some reason. And after many months of procrastination and life getting in the way, at five days before the event to which I wanted to wear the dress, I called in the expert help and equipment – I got my other grandmother to help me do a rolled hem on her overlocker. Which, might I add, gave a beautiful result 🙂
I haven’t really got much else to say about this dress, other than how unbelievably happy I am with how this turned out! Is it perfect? No. But did I feel like a princess wearing it? YES. I’m also pretty pleased with the photos I have to share – I wore it to a ball last night and my mum was kind enough (very enthusiastic, in fact) to get some pictures of me all dolled up 🙂
Things are still pretty hectic around here – balls notwithstanding – but I’m squirrelling away bits of time here and there for sewing, so expect to see something from me soon enough! And eyes out for a special announcement soon…(hopefully)
Until next time,
Miss Maddy x