To The Ball Again

Once again, it is that time of the year. It is the end of the summer semester! Honestly, when they said university would fly by, I didn’t think they meant this quickly! Anyway, once again, it is time for the summer social ball! Last year I made a gorgeous dark red and black gothic 1950’s style ballgown. This year, I seem to have fallen for the red again! I’m not surprised, it is my favourite colour after all!

So after my exam, I pootled off to the market. Whereupon, I found some chiffon like fabric and something for the base, so I think, in total, this dressed clocked in at less than Β£20, trims included? I didn’t buy boning, probably should have, but I like the dress anyway!

Then I got it back, threw it all at Mabel, sat down, and wondered what to do with it all. Originally, I wanted to make one of my sketches, but when I revisited, I didn’t want to wear it. Just, didn’t feel like the right project… which cued frenzied sketching in my notebook while at dance… in the end, I made a base dress using the skirt from Simplicity 2549 and the bodice from Simplicity 1606 (the same bodice I used last year for the gothic dress), as a base dress. From there, this dress just sort of… evolved!


I then put Arrow on and started pinning to see what happened. And this is what happened!

Theres a lot of pins in the bodice of this! #sneakpeak #draping #sewcialists

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I spent a good few hours pleating the chiffon on the bodice. I had to machine sew each pleat across the front (I was lazy and did two rows of machine stitching down the bodice to hold the pleats into place down the sides of the bodice.


I did a single layer of chiffon on the back bodice panels and a single layer of chiffon for the skirt. Originally I was going to have the complete bodice and trim the skirt down, but I realised I loved the skirt so much that I didn’t want to chop it, so I trimmed the bodice down. However, it looked a bit plain. The slit is up the back of the skirt, so the front is just a flat expanse of red. Quite by accident, I ended up with a section of chiffon stuck at the bottom of the bodice, creating a waterfall effect. And I really liked it!


So from the remaining few metres of chiffon, I cut three and hemmed three strips of chiffon, two about 10cm wide each, and one about 20-25cm wide. The wider piece, added to the waistband on the bias so it fell in these awesome folds from the bodice (I probably should have secured it about two cm towards the centre of the bodice, it sits perfectly on my hip, rather than down the front).

The other two pieces were straps for a halter/multiway after everything else had been secured and steamed.

Next sneak peak of my balldress! #balldress #red #sneakpeak #sewing #bow

A post shared by Bea Harvie (@sewbeasew) on

I love the halterneck version with a huge flowing bow:


But also this way of doing the sleeves makes the dress look super Downtown Abbey.


I think this project can count towards my draping aim for this year, because I would never have attempted such shaping over the bodice without a mannequin!


My next project is to work through the list of things I want to make, and my piles of fabric to deplete slightly before I buy more!



7 thoughts on “To The Ball Again

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