18 April 2012

Stitch by Stitch : Ball Dress

Hi Guys,

Soo... this year I decided to take another project on top of my A Level workload, and design and make my dress for my 6th Form leavers ball. I was inspired this Elie Saab dress, a powder blue floor length gown, with a very interesting bodice. I was intrigued by the way the pieces of the bodice overlapped, it was something that I hadn't seen before and I knew that I wanted to achieve this in my dress. I started with the design, I knew that I wanted a shorter dress, and then the bodice of the Saab. I drafted the pattern pieces, and it took 2 or 3 toile test runs before I was happy with the design. 
Next step = find the fabric. I had fallen in love with the delicately beaded fabric the Elie Saab was designed in. All of his gowns are made of the most amazing fabric! Anyway, I began the hunt to find beaded fabric. This lead me to Berwick Street, and the Berwick Street Cloth Shop. There I managed to find a gorgeous fabric (quite pricey, but as it was for a special occasion I could kind of justify it!) It was a really interesting green colour, hand beaded = love at first sight! Little did I know that this angelic fabric would become a pain in neck.

To sew with beaded fabric you have to 'break' the beads in the seam allowance. Picture me, hammer in hand, standing defiantly over this beautiful fabric, swinging away at it like an axe murderer with beads flying all over the place. It was pretty dramatic! It turns out I didn't break quite enough, as I learnt when I proceeded to break 6 needles in a row on the sewing machine. AHH. At this point, the end looked unreachable, but I continued on.

Putting the dress together wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I just had to be extra gentle, as the delicate fabric had a tendency to rip. I backed the beaded fabric with a green silk, also used for the skirt. Oh and the zip was tricky. I put an invisible zip into the side and it did not want to lye flat! I had to hand sew the zip in twice to try to get it to lye as flat as possible.
I cut the skirt a-symetrically, as it gave a bit more of a modern edge to what turned out to be a quite vintage looking design.

Finishing this dress felt like a big achievement for me. So do you want to see it?........... 

Scoop back

There you go, 2 months of work for one enjoyable night. The dress was quite warm to wear (the venue didn't have air con on), it required some fabric tape (particularly in the chest area, just for peace of mind), but overall I really enjoyed wearing it. Only one other person had made their dress, so I felt proud as punch in mine. At least I didn't have to worry about anyone else wearing the same thing!

xox Niamh xox