So Excited this is my first blog tutorial so not sure how well it will go but i try and do my best.
After years of wanting to do a masquerade ball for my birthday i finally had one for my 18th, but no masquerade is complete without a fairy tale dress to wear, so i found a fairy god mother who said “You shall go to the ball” waved her wand and puff i was dressed in a beautiful gown fit for a princess. Well maybe i’m slightly over exaggerating it but we can all wish for some magic.
Sadly the dress did not appear by magic instead took a week of hard work to make; as well as several knew found skills, but to make it easier for others I’ve got a step for step process of how i made the garment from paper to reality.
First off Material Choices
As i wanted a dress which had a full skirt with out needing a hooped skirt for practicability i used light materials and tulle to give it that lift.
4 m of mint chiffon (For the skirt, bodice and sleeves )
3.5 m polyester silk (Again for the skirt and bodice)
6 m of Tulle (For the Petticoat)
3 m of cream cotton (For the under skirt and lining)
I didn’t have a pre-made pattern close to what i wanted for the bodice and i also prefer making my own patterns if i can as i find they are a better fit, so i started by marking out the shape and pieces of the bodice by pining the dark purple ribbon on to the mannequin to act as guide line for the bodice pieces. It also made it very quick and simple as i could trace over the lines through the fabric to create the pattern.
With the pattern pieces created, i transferred them on to card allowing for a 1 cm seam on all the edges to create the final bodice pattern. All done i could finally start making the garment. cutting 4 copy’s of each piece; cotton lining, Cotton backing for the chiffon layer and polyester silk layer as they needed some extra support.
The next bit was nice and quick as i sewed all the cotton lining parts together of the bodice putting boning channels in as i went and cutting the boning to fit at the same time. then to secure the ends i ran a quick bias binding hem along the edge of the bodice (not the top)
Once the lining of the bodice was done it was time for the lining of the skirt which i created from 4 rectangles of the cream cotton. Making the bottom edge of the rectangle about 40 cm longer than the top then curved the edges slightly to create the skirt shape. As I pleated the the top of the skirt i pined it to the bottom of the bodice lining then ran the join through my sewing machine.
the next stage took i bit more work as it involved creating two large ruffle of tulle which then had to be attached to the bottom of Tulle petticoat. Part of it was fun but kept getting confusing with 6 m of tulle trying to go through my sewing machine all at once. Like with the Cotton under skirt i pleated the tulle on to the bodice then sewed it all together.
When Pleating the tulle around the bottom of the bodice i went straight across the waistline instead of following the curve as this meant that the bottom of the skirt was all level. However when i sewed it together i followed the bottom of the bodice so i could cut away the excess tulle after wards.
Before i put the chiffon layer on i added the polyester silk layer to add extra colour that shimmered under the chiffon; as when i tried it without you could see the tulle through the chiffon. This process was exactly the same as the cotton under skirt however instead of using 4 sections i used 6 to give fullness to the ball gown.
Top Layer of the skirt was the 4 m of chiffon which I over locked then hemmed the bottom edge before pleating it around the bodice as I had done with the tulle layer. After several try’s on the sewing machine I ended up hand sewing it to the bodice as there was too much fabric and the sewing machine was being grumpy about it.
After the skirt was done I moved on to the top bodice sewing all the pieces together; which consisted of 3 layers of fabric in every piece, the cotton sturdy base, middle silky polyester and the top of chiffon. Like with the lining of the bodice I used Bias binding To hem just the bottom of the bodice.
Almost finished!!! To put the two parts of the bodice together i lined them up at the top joining the two bits with bias binding before sewing the bottom two edges together though with so much fabric my sewing machine only wanted to go slowly. To Fasten the dress i ran 10 eyelets down each side of the bodice so it could be laced. Last bit. The sleeve was nice and simple, a long tube of chiffon with elastic running through it which was attached to the back and front of the bodice. To go with the dress i also made a big gold bow that attached to the back but unfortunately didn’t get any photos of it being made as it was the day of the party and was rushing to clean, cook and get every think ready.
Hears some of the photos of the finished ball gown.