Friday, June 6, 2014

Ballgown in Three Days

This is the project that ate my month of May.

I am an amateur ballroom dancer, and I make my own costumes.  This is my current competition dress, and it has a bit of a story behind it.  My competition season had all of its biggest events in late April and May.  I had been planning on making a new dress by then, but the fabric that I had ordered hadn’t arrived in time.  However, there was a particular color of fabric I had been stalking for a couple of months, and some of it went on clearance in mid-May.  I splurged and bought the fabric to start making a dress.

The fabric arrived on a Thursday, six days before I left for a very large competition.  I drafted pattern pieces on Friday, and after sewing all weekend had the dress sewn together by Monday evening (and I worked on Monday).  The process was spurned onward when I discovered a black stain front and center on my old ballgown, a stain that refused to come out.  My husband and I got the new dress stoned by 2 a.m. Wednesday morning so we could catch our flight a few hours later, and I spent Wednesday afternoon hand-sewing down a few details.  

Despite living through it, I think that making this dress was a completely insane idea, even if it is my best dress to date.  The pattern is a combination of a Kwik-Sew leotard pattern and Butterick 5554.  The dress uses a combination of lycra, stretch lace, stretch jersey, organza, and crinoline in the color someone more creative than I dubbed pink grapefruit.  I would have called it fluorescent coral.

The company that I bought this fabric from had a booth at the competition I attended, by the way.  My husband told one of their sales associates about our escapades getting this dress made in a matter of days while I was browsing, and I was known to that group of sales people from then on.

Lovely as it is and despite serving me well at my last competition, there a few things about this dress that need tweaking.  I need to replace the straps with brown elastic and add another underskirt to increase the fullness.  It needs more stones (always more stones . . .).  I also need to get rid of these:

Those pleats (there is a mirror one on the other side) were a quick solution to an unfortunate error made in redrawing the neckline of my pattern.  They served their purpose—mostly to keep me from running screaming into the night at the idea of ripping out the neckline just after I had put it in—but they need to go.  So this behemoth will be my evening project for the near future.

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