Friday, November 11, 2011

Sewing Project: My Banquet Dress

Back in September, I had the privilege of being part of a banquet for our local pregnancy center. The event was quite posh, and all the ladies involved wanted to be sure we dressed our best. I used the occasion as an excuse to make a dress I've been planning for awhile. I had the fabric, and the general idea of what I wanted.

I was quite pleased with the result. Mom says it's her favorite out of everything I've ever made - and she isn't hard to please, but that still means something.

So here's how the design process went...

First, I dreamed. Then I selected my base pattern. It wasn't this one exactly, but very similar:

The dress had the same lines; princess seams, flared near the knee, knee-length (though I made mine a few inches longer), built-in sleeves, etc.

I had the fabric already; a shimmery navy. I bought the whole bolt (5 yds.) at WalMart, for $5.00. It's so cheap they don't even tell you what it's made of, but it feels like good quality stuff.

I cut the pattern out exactly as called for. (Gasp!!!!) I've discovered which size I am, and - sure enough - this dress fit perfectly right "out of the box" at the size I cut it. (I know, I'm so terribly blessed. I can cut a pattern at one size, and not have to alter it! I should use patterns more often.)

So, this is what it looked like after I sewed the main seams:

Please ignore the mess of my sewing shelves and table. I always have a dozen projects going on at once.

I liked the basic lines, but this look just didn't quite "cut it" for me. I wanted something more.

So I added a sheer shimmery layer on top, and a pleated waistband (which took forever to make, but was so worth it).

And the end result?

Much better.

This dress fits me like a dream, covers everything no matter how I move, and makes me feel like a princess. I LOVE it. It was worth the 10 hours it took to make.

It was worth the $15.00 I spent on materials, too. :) :) :):) :) :)


Angie said...

It's beautiful! Great work!

Naomi said...

That is so beautiful!! I love the color. You did a superb job :)
How did you make the pleaded waist band?


Amber said...

Thank you!

Naomi - to make the waistband, first I cut out the shape I wanted the finished band to be, with the right curve, etc. That was my base. The "pleats" are not pleats at all, but actually strips of bias tape sewn to the base piece. It was much easier to make them follow the curve than to try to pleat one piece of fabric like that. I just sewed them in such a way that each one overlapped the stitched edge of the one beneath it, and the sewed edge of the top strip was folded over and sewn down to hide it.

All in all, it was a very time-consuming process to make each strip and sew it in place, but I think it was easier than trying to actually make pleats. :)

Did that explanation make sense? :) :)

Naomi said...

Thank you, that does makes sense. Did you make your bios tape? It matches so perfectly!
Thanks for sharing, I think I'm going to have to try and make it, I really like the style :)

Amber said...

Yes, Naomi, I made the bias tape out of the same fabric I used for the dress. Wasn't too hard. :) I'd love to see pictures if you decide to make a similar dress!