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.
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 in 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 to 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. The bodice was to be fitted and seamed for shape...enter McCalls 7091 pattern as the basic shape to start me off from.
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 hemline on each piece. This net is stitched in with the seams.. The whole dress is lined and there is an interfaced facing all around the neckline and armholes.
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 decide 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.
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.
Bring on the ball on Friday 12th!