Friday, August 12, 2011

Ballgown Construction

I previously wrote that I've been working on a ballroom gown for Intervarsity. Well Intervarsity has come and gone and I can breath slightly and put up my aching feet (you try dancing in 2.5 inch heels everyday!).

I stated that I had learnt a lot while doing the project but my first major learning curve was a lack on any pattern that fitted me. I went browsing online and found this wonderful blog post: Step-by-Step Gown Construction Project but you needed a pattern. Never fear, when you can cut until it looks vaguely the same shape :)

I cut the dress out of Bon Bon Spandex, something I hadn't heard about before but has a beautiful 4 way stretch. My fuchsia/purple/pink fabric was attached to the mannequin (roughly my size) and cut to fit according to the step by step process outlined above.

The basic finished "shell" ended up looking like this. Please Note the black triangles that are added. Each is a quarter circle and makes the dress flare when you turn, looks cool, not so cool to sew.

At this point you can decorate the dress however you like. I ended up cutting out the back of the dress and adding criss-cross straps for my effect (turns out its pretty cold without material on your back) and adding lots and rhinestones and crystals from Crystal Catalyst (and a few sequinned flowers). The result...

A ballgown is not finished without wings (or whatever they are called). There are many different styles, sleeves, bits etc. Given my lack of sleeves I made three bands to slide onto my arms and attached chiffon in purple and black.


Carolyn said...

Where did you buy your fabric? I have been looking for something similar.


Hayley said...

I bought the fabric at Hilite in Athlone (Cape Town). Its called Bon Bon Spandex. They also sell it at Fabric City, Sir Lowry Rd, Cape Town.