Further Fanciness

Aside from sewing and hiking, my third passion is guitar, and since that’s the passion that has been winning my free time the last couple weeks I have nothing new to show this weekend. I have been spending some time thinking about my next big project, though, which is going to up the level of fancy in my sewing by a few notches, believe it or not. You guys, I’m so out of my element. I’m a bumpkin teacher, not an urban socialite!

Anyway, I have to go to a ball in September – a real, honest-to-goodness ball. It’s for work and I will be actually working at the event, but I still need a gown. I had been going back and forth about making or just trying to thrift one, but then I bought some fabric so I guess I’m making it. A gown is really just a dress with a long skirt, right? I can make a dress!
The perfect warm grayish lavender… a bit darker in real life
I found this poly dupioni in the clearance section of JoAnn. I know I should do better than a JoAnn poly dupioni, but gowns really eat up fabric, $3/yd is well within my budget, the color is absolutely perfect, and, most importantly, it’s not a shiny satin. This remnant of gray lace coordinates perfectly, but I won’t be heartbroken if it doesn’t make it in the final design.
Now I just need to decide on a pattern. Because I’m going to be working, I need a comfortable dress that I can move in. Pockets are a huge plus, as are sleeves, and the ability to wear normal undergarments is a must. Two weeks ago I was really sure that this was the one, but now I’m waffling. I’m afraid that the skirt might look frumpy unless I fit it perfectly. It will look especially bad if the seams aren’t pressed totally flat, and I don’t know if this fabric is capable of that.

Image from Simplicity
This dress turned out to be such a great design for working events that I kind of want to just make it again. I could incorporate the lace on the cummerbund included in the pattern. I am a bit concerned about being totally boring, though, both because the design isn’t all that interesting and my fabric is plain, and because I just made it and it has some distinctive features.
Image from Simplicity

There are a few more patterns floating around my head and my super-helpful Pinterest board (what did we do before Pinterest??), but none of them are quite as good as these two. I have a couple months to make it but I’m sure they will just fly by, and as much as I would love to gather inspiration and dream up the perfect design I really want to keep it simple this year.

Have you ever made a gown? What did you wear it to, and how did it all turn out? If you needed a gown in the near future, what sort of dress would you want to make?

4 thoughts on “Further Fanciness

  1. I love your color choice, Kelly! Lavender and grey are a stunning pair.Polyester can be a challenge to iron properly – I have had a couple of things melt on me which was not very fun. I would suggest working carefully with your stitch tension on the long skirt seams to make sure they will not pucker. Perhaps a very slight zig-zag stitch would work (I often use this trick on bias seams, but I think it would also help with polyester staight of grain; just make sure to test it out with a scrap of fabric!)In my opinion, a full length gown takes a style from too young to elegant, but that is just me . . .You are way ahead of the game as far as a deadline which is always a good thing! An hour each day is so much better than finishing hours before you have to head out the door! Go with the style that you will love to work on and love to wear. Simple is always elegant.I can't wait to see what you come up with!

  2. Going to a ball — how lucky! I think both of your choices are very elegant and either would look beautiful with the fabrics you've chosen. I love how you've presented the two styles with the pros and cons — so organized! I've definitely had my princess moments where I wanted to go to a ball — just for the opportunity to wear something totally impractical and fancy. Full length, full skirt, fitted top, some lace on the bodice — it's fun to dream! Have fun with this project!

  3. I really like the Burda pattern. I don't think the skirt is frumpy at all – you have the figure for it! But I do wonder if that slight train would get in the way if you are going to be moving about a lot. I love the fabric – I think this color will really suit you, with your dark hair!

  4. I know you're going to look awesome at the ball! So that you don't have to worry about your seams being nice and pretty, why not shirr the skirt at the waist seam? This is what I did for my red dress, which was made with taffeta, and it worked like a charm. Work with the fabric you have and use it's properties to your advantage.http://www.madalynne.com/weekend-62

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