Friday, March 21, 2014

A 19th Century Ball

About a week ago, I had the privilege to attend a 19th century ball. It was requested that costumes be historically inspired, from the Regency era up through the Civil War. It was a lovely evening, with many homemade costumes filling the dance hall. My sisters and I made our dresses, as well as helping a few friends with theirs. It was so much fun! Here I am (left) with my two sisters:

My younger sister Anna found the coolest fabric for her dress. It was a pinkish-coral crinkly silk. And I just love the black dot fabric with the gold shimmer that she used for the jacket. So creative!

She even made her own frog clasp for the jacket:

Sarah, my older sister, turned a strapless dress into this blue regency gown:

She made a whole new top out of a complementary blue fabric. She really liked the pleats that were originally in the skirt, so she left them in when she attached it to the top.

I modeled my gown after this dress from the movie "Enchanted":

I had always loved this look, with the skirt opening to show flowing white chiffon. Of course, I had to make some changes. That neckline was much too low, and the color was a little too fairy-taleish for me. I really liked the idea of a deep teal silk. It took me a lot of searching, but finally I found this:

Love!!! It was perfect! I made the top with a rounded square neckline and slightly puffed sleeves. For the sleeves, I cut out two pieces for each, sewed them together on the outer edge, and then pulled the under layer in to make it slightly shorter than the top layer. This made the edge of the sleeve rounded instead of flat. A small piece of elastic hidden on the under layer of the sleeve created a bit of gather to complement the gather at the sleeves' top. If that sounds complicated, it was!

To hide the dangling zipper handle on the side of the dress, I sewed in a hook and eye to clasp over it, pinning it in place.

My favorite part was adding the layers of chiffon to the skirt. I love the light flowyness of chiffon, and how the white contrasted with the teal silk.

For a finishing touch, I looped some ribbons around the front of the sash and covered them with a beautiful flower pin.

I love the result, and really enjoyed dancing in my movie-inspired dress at the ball!

In addition to making our own dresses, Anna and I each made a ball gown for a friend as well. My friend Doris was the brain behind the green and gold dress below. It was so fun to work with her and bring all her ideas to life! I especially like the black trim she found for the waist.

Anna made this Civil War gown for her friend Ayu. The black trim formed the perfect compliment to the blue of the dress. You can't see it in these pictures, but the skirt had black lace in a scalloped pattern around the bottom, with bows at each point.

Here we all are, with Vikki in the black dress, to which I added a braided red silk ribbon dotted with pearls to decorate the waistband. 

I also want to show you a couple of dresses that my friends sewed. Megan basically made up the pattern for this gorgeous dress! The sleeves were edged with tiny beads, all hand sewn!

I love the design on the bodice.

Kelsey made this beautiful Civil War-inspired dress for the evening. 

I just can't get enough of that trim! And the flower pattern of the fabric is just exquisite! 

The planner of the ball, Melissa Niednagel (below with husband Jordan), did a marvelous job, and we all had such a fun evening. I hope she plans another one sometime soon!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

So Much to Sew

Lately, I have been sewing a lot. A dress for myself, a couple of dresses for friends...and before that, I can't even remember at the moment. Yes, life is that much of a blur! Sometimes it's hard to find time to fit everything in, and these last few weeks, I've been grateful to finally have a more steady routine.

I'm not the only one in my house who has been sewing, either. Both of my sisters and I are making dresses for an upcoming dance, so last week, we had two sewing machines going at the same time. One is our old Kenmore, that is alerting us to its need for oil with high pitched squeaks. The other is a much newer machine that a dear lady from church lent us. But we don't have two of everything. The ironing board, the scissors, and the seam ripper just have to be shared.

The dance I mentioned above is a 19th century historic ball, and costumes will range from the Regency era up through the Civil War. I can't wait to show you the things my sisters and I are making, and I'm sure I will feature some of my friends' costumes here, as well. I have so many talented seamstress friends!

As I am sort of iced in today (this winter keeps throwing things at us!), I will be sewing again. And probably listening to a sermon, watching a movie with the family, and eating good food.

Have a blessed Sunday!