Sarah’s Dressmakers Ball Dress

Posted by Sarah Wadey
on April 24, 2019

For the Dressmakers Ball, Sarah had fun making a simple empire line dress with a fitted wrap bodice to flatter her best assets and accommodate her rapidly changing body! 

When we first started to plan the ball I was really excited to make a version of our Ready to Party Dress. I had a solid plan to make it in a gorgeous paisley pink brocade we had in the shop.

But then I found out I was pregnant! That style just wouldn’t work with a 7 month bump! So back to the drawing board I went to plan something a little more cool and flowing! 

I wanted a dress which would be fitted and flattering around the bust and flowing over the bump as I really wasn’t sure what shape or size I’d be! 

I used the top half of a vintage style dress pattern by Thread count - style 1613, which was a free pattern from Love Sewing Magazine. 

This took quite a bit of toileing and tweaking to get the fit right. 

First toile fitting 

I shortened the sleeves by 2 inches as I thought this was more flattering. I wanted more of a squared neckline so I brought in the neckline at the high neck point by 1 inch and curves the shoulder seams to follow the neckline. I cropped the bodice to sit just under my bust. 

I used a fab digital printed polyester fabric whic was light as air but surprisingly easy to sew with. 

I picked up the fabric on my Honeymoon to Sri Lanka in January. I interfaced the boffice panels with lightweight Vieline interfacing and lined the bodice with polyester lining to give a good sturdy structure so the pleats held in place well. 

I made the outer and lining of the bodice first, then adjusted the fit before attaching 6 panels of gathered fabric for the skirt. I wanted the skirt to have long splits in the front which overlapped to reveal a little bit of leg and keep me cool. When I attached the first panel there didn’t seem to be enough weight to stop it sliding between my legs when I walked so I added another slightly less gathered slightly wider panel underneath to prevent this and it worked really well. The other 4 panels were joined and added over the top of this overlapping slightly. I finished it all off with a light grey invisible zip- my favourite kind of fastening. (Take a look at our tutorial to find out why!) 

Even after the alterations, the dress still had a wide neckline and I hate necklines slipping off at the shoulders, so I added a tiny bit of ribbon to the inside of the shoulders with a popper to hold the dress onto my bra straps.  I’ve seen this technique on eveningwear before and it’s really effective. 

 And here’s my final dress! 

This pattern was also used by Stacie of @notions_of_a_dressmaker in a beautiful rose pink satin. I love how different a pattern can look when you just change a few things like the skirt shape and fabric choice. 

The variety of styles and creativity of the Dressmakers at the ball was amazing with so many exciting design ideas showcased. 

I feel so inspired to make more eveningwear, I just need another occasion… Roll on the next Dressmakers Ball!! 

Happy Sewing! 

Sarah x