An Evening Dress Fit For a Ball…

An evening dress fit for a ball

I couldn’t decide whether to post about my dress for the Dressmakers Ball before or after the event, but in the end, I decided on writing about it before because I couldn’t wait to show you my dress! 🙂 So what is the Dressmakers Ball anyway? Well, it’s a fabulous chance for all sewists who attend to make a fabulous dress…the sort we never get the chance to sew usually, let alone wear…. and to show it off at a wonderful evening filled with dancing, live music, lovely food and goodie bags and raffle prizes. It was the brainchild of the lovely ladies of Crafty Sew and Sew of Leicester and the venue chosen by them was the gorgeous looking Leicester City Rooms.

An evening dress fit for a ball

I bought a pair of tickets for me and hubby just as they went on sale and I was so excited about the thought of making a fab frock and straight away I started dreaming up ideas of  what I would wear. . Shortly after I got the tickets I came across a gorgeous metallic brocade in a snake print effect from Fabric Godmother. As they say, the stars aligned and the fabric became mine. The colours of the fabric are gold, pale gold/cream and pewter. It catches the light as it moves and I love that!

After I got the fabric it sat in my stash for several months…until Easter to be precise and in that time I collected lots of images on Pinterest of styles that appealed. Gradually a design took shape and I drew a sketch that was to be my final choice. So the final style is a sweetheart type neckline at the front and a ‘v’ shape dipping down at the back to show a little flesh. I didn’t want strapless because I wanted it to be comfy and totally bra-friendly. I wanted the bodice to be quite fitted for a defined shape…enter McCalls 7091(no longer available) which is a prom-style dress with double princess seams and was a good basic shape to start me off from.

An evening dress fit for a ball

I made a toile, to begin with, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well the pattern fit and how nicely the seaming shaped over my bust. As I wanted a hi/low hemline but wasn’t sure how long I wanted it to be, when I cut the whole thing out I just did it full length so I could adjust later.

To add body to the bodice part of the dress, I interfaced each piece to the waist and to give the skirt some bounce and crisper structure I added an interlining layer of dress net from the waist to the hemline on each piece. This net is stitched within the seams… The whole dress is lined and there is an interfaced facing all around the neckline and armholes.

An evening dress fit for a ball. Inside view

An evening dress fit for a ball

When I decided on the final style of my dress I decided I wanted a ruffle. Ruffles are a huge trend at the moment and I wanted a very ruffly ruffle! Rather than just a long gathered section which I thought could be a bit bulky along the gathered edge, I decided to use circles instead…or should I say…doughnut shapes. I had to do a bit of math to work out how long the edge that I attached to the dress needed to be and then how deep I wanted them. The ruffle at the top of the dress is narrower and it gets wider as it sweeps down. So I ended up with 6 doughnut shapes of fabric in two layers that I joined together and then stitched all around the edges. It was then turned through and pressed. I handstitched this all in place while my dress hung on the dress form.

An evening dress fit for a ball Pattern shape for ruffle.

An evening dress fit for a ball Ruffle feature

I left my dress as it was for a while and then whilst having a clear out of my sewing room I came across some faceted glass beads in haematite and silvery tones, so I thought, why not add a bit more sparkle? Go big or go home 🙂 And so I did…I just stitched them on in a totally random way and I love how they catch the light.

As a last finishing touch I added a waist stay inside to help support the weight of the skirt which is really full and rather heavy…. even more so on the longer side with the ruffle. It makes big difference to the comfort factor.

For accessories, I made a little clutch bag using leftover fabric and a bit of silk satin found in my bit bag. I backed it with iron-on Pellon stiffening and lined it with the same lining as my dress. Sparkly heels finish off my look.

An evening dress fit for a ball

Bring on the ball on Friday 12th!




Enter your email to receive updates of new posts:


  1. May 11, 2017 / 6:45 pm

    What a marvelous dress. The fabric is just uncredible. I wish we had such an event in France I must think about that

    • Diane G
      May 11, 2017 / 6:59 pm

      Thanks Marie! Yes, France needs a Dressmakers Ball too!

  2. May 11, 2017 / 9:09 pm

    Wow Diane, it really is amazing! So nice to have the chance to make a dress like this and to wear it also.Amazing job!! The fabric is gorgeous , the clutch and the shoes, amazing. I hope you will enjoy the ball! Xx

    • Diane G
      May 12, 2017 / 8:52 am

      Thanks Camelia x. Yes, it’s so lovely to get the chance to make something like this.

  3. May 11, 2017 / 9:22 pm

    Congratulations on this dress Diane. It’s really beautiful. Enjoy the ball!

    • Diane G
      May 12, 2017 / 8:53 am

      Thanks Manju 🙂 Looking forward to the ball for sure!

  4. May 11, 2017 / 9:26 pm

    Outstanding! Everything about this dress is beautiful.

    • Diane G
      May 12, 2017 / 8:53 am

      That’s so kind of you. Thanks Cennetta!

  5. May 11, 2017 / 11:17 pm

    Fantastic! I was so amazed and went totally speechless… it looks great on you!

    • Diane G
      May 12, 2017 / 8:54 am

      You’re so sweet, thank you Eli cat 🙂

  6. May 11, 2017 / 11:52 pm

    Your dress is gorgeous and you look fabulous in it!

    • Diane G
      May 12, 2017 / 8:54 am

      Thanks Andrea!

  7. Jane Henshaw
    May 12, 2017 / 3:48 pm

    Beautiful! Have a lovely time! The dress is fabulous!

    • Diane G
      May 12, 2017 / 3:53 pm

      So nice to hear from you Jane. Thank you! I’m sure I will x

  8. Ersan
    May 13, 2017 / 5:36 am

    Well done Lady. Such an incredible work you have done in here. I stopped good few minutes on each pfoto read everyword you said. I am amazed. I can see you put a lot a thought in this sewing and no wonder why the result is just wonderful. Once again Congratulations Diane. 🌷

    • Diane G
      May 13, 2017 / 6:55 am

      You are so kind Ersan. Thank you for stopping by to have a read. It’s lovely to hear your appreciative words thanks!

  9. Helen
    May 13, 2017 / 7:34 pm

    Your dress is stunning, Diane, and the detail is just perfect, from the drape and the ruffle down to the hand-stitched sparkle! You look AMAZING 🙂

    • Diane G
      May 13, 2017 / 8:31 pm

      Aww it’s lovely of you to stop by Helen. Thanks for those sweet words x

  10. Anne McClure
    May 14, 2017 / 8:30 am

    Your dress is gorgeous. I hope you had a great time at the ball.

    • Diane G
      May 14, 2017 / 9:06 am

      Thanks Anne, I did! It was a lovely evening.

  11. May 14, 2017 / 11:17 am

    WOW! Stunning creation. You look wonderful. Congratulations.

    • Diane G
      May 14, 2017 / 12:07 pm

      Thanks so much Lori!

  12. Karie
    May 16, 2017 / 12:14 am

    Such a gorgeous dress! The Ball sounds like a wonderful event!

    • Diane G
      May 16, 2017 / 9:00 am

      Thanks Karie! It was a lovely evening. It needs to be a yearly event 🙂

  13. May 17, 2017 / 8:32 pm

    This is beautiful! So clever of you to cut the hem as it should be out of the pattern envelope and then make the changes yourself!

    • Diane G
      May 17, 2017 / 8:49 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Linda. 🙂

  14. Sew Sarah Smith
    May 25, 2017 / 2:03 pm

    I love this Siane; your dress and accessories are just stunning and you look incredibly beautiful!

    • Diane G
      May 25, 2017 / 3:08 pm

      Aww, Sarah, Thank you so much my lovely x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Never Miss A Post!

Enter your email to receive updates of new posts: