This year’s Midwinter Ball was winter wonderland themed, so naturally my mind went to creams, whites, silvers, blues and sparkles. Lots of sparkles. Basically, Elsa dresses, right?
There might be no cape and the sparkles are rather subtle, but in the end I am completely thrilled with this gown.
(Yes, I always wander around the bush in near-zero temperatures wearing sleeveless ball gowns. Don’t you? My photographer said it all put him in a rather Picnic at Hanging Rock frame of mind. Fortunately, no disappearances occurred.)
This is the Simplicity 2580, view D again. It’s such an easy sew! Well, apart from the bit where I sewed the right-side-out bodice to the wrong-side-out skirt. This also happened on the earlier green version so that step must just come at the point where my brain’s had enough of this sewing lark. Plus the doubled over front bodice piece, forming the cowl, makes it confusing to tell which is the right side and which is the wrong side.
I made no changes to the pattern apart from adding in back darts. They’re a little lumpy because I did this right at the end, catching in all the overlocking and elastic on the waist seam, but I’ve now added the darts to my traced pattern so they can happen in the proper order next time. Otherwise, I’ve used clear elastic on the shoulders and waist, overlocked all the exposed inside seams, hand-stitched the neck and armhole facings and machine-sewed a double fold hem (on account of running out of time to hand-stitch).
The fabric is a viscose/elastane/lurex knit from Tessuti; cream with gold woven throughout. I was lucky enough to have a friend heading up the highway to fabric shop so I gave him three options from Tessuti’s website and asked him to stretch-test them all. It’s a pretty stable knit, quite like a ponte, and is so comfortable to wear I think this ball gown qualifies as secret pyjamas!
Once all sewed up it just needed something extra to lift the plain colour. After visiting four fabric shops one afternoon I found some suitable lace mesh at Spotlight. With the help of my mother I fiddled around with the placement of a few of the flower bunches then hand-sewed them down (in the very pleasant company of Phryne Fisher). I love the subtle embellishment the lace appliqué adds, lifting the dress without being overpowering.
I like this pattern so much I’m plotting a few more dresses from it and contemplating drafting a cross-over/faux wrap front bodice to make it baby-feeding-friendly. I’m also debating whether to cut this particular gown off at knee length after attending CBR Frocktails to make it a bit more wearable. There aren’t too many occasions where one can sport a full-length golden gown!
The other best part about this gown? There was enough fabric left over to make a birthday present for my one-year-old odd-daughter. The pattern is Brindille and Twig’s t-shirt dress which I hacked to add the colour-blocked skirt band (there wasn’t enough width in the gold scraps to get the full skirt out of) and a Peter Pan collar. I also had to cut the back in two pieces instead of on the fold. The sleeves and skirt band are in black ponte and the collar is a lighter-weight jersey because I thought two layers of the thicker knit might be too bulky. A very quick sew after all the puzzlement of making new pattern pieces for my changes.