DRESSMAKERS BALL MONTH : Appleby Makes’ Sophia party outfit!

admin The Dressmakers Ball, Tricky Fabrics 0 Comments

All this month the Simple Sew Bloggers will be making party dresses to celebrate The Dressmaker’s Ball TONIGHT – here is the last one… 


The Dressmaker’s Ball is tonight and I’m gutted that I can’t go. I’ve decided to be jealous of everyone who is going and just hope that they do it again next year, hopefully on a Saturday so us workers from far away can go! Anyway, that’s not stopped me from making an outfit for it! As the Simple Sew ‘theme’ for April and early May is the Dressmakers Ball, us bloggers are all making ball gowns (or ‘ball separates’ in my case) from Simple Sew patterns.

You can purchase the pattern for both the skirt and top here.

About a year and a half ago I made the Sophia top out of sequin fabric and wrote about it here.  It was ever so quick and easy to make and it was always my intention to make the skirt to go with it but I just never got around to it. Well this was my chance to put that right. I had very limited time for this make but I knew that the skirt would be quick and easy – perfect for people working to a deadline. I also didn’t want to spend too much money my skirt either. If I was really going to the ball I would have probably put more effort into finding suitable fabrics, but I’m chuffed to bits with how my skirt turned out.

My original idea was to have a taffeta underskirt with a chiffon overlay. I still think that would be really pretty. However, beggars can’t be choosers and I unfortunately couldn’t find either of those fabrics locally. What I ended up getting was some cheap satin to use as an underskirt. The overlay is like a synthetic organza and it’s a lot stiffer than chiffon. It’s got a little sparkle to it though, and now it’s made up it looks quite pretty.

Making this skirt was cinch. As I didn’t want pockets (tricky in a skirt with an overlay), there were only two pattern pieces to worry about, and one of those was the waistband. You essentially make the same skirt twice. First I cut out the satin.

I don’t think it matters in a skirt with an overlay but I cut the pattern pieces in the same direction because satin has a nap (i.e. it looks different in different directions). Because the fabric was so slippery I used a mixture of pins and fabric weights to keep everything in place. There is one pattern piece for both the front and the back. For the front, you cut out on the fold and for the back you add a seam allowance and cut two.

I cut out exactly the same in the organza. I then sewed together the side seams on each skirt. For the satin skirt, I sewed the seams and finished them with the overlocker, but for the organza layer I sewed French seams to enclose the fraying edges. When this was done, I basted the skirts together at the waistband edge. It was then time to do the pleats. OK, I admit that I had already pleated the satin skirt before I realised that was never going to work. I unpicked the satin, basted the two layers together at the waistband edge, and then pleated the skirts together, folding through both layers of fabric.

For the waistband, I basted the satin and the organza together within the seam allowance and then treated it as one. The waistband facing was just a satin layer with interfacing. Once the waistband was complete it was invisible zip time! I was expecting some difficulties with this but actually it was fine. To install the zip, I sewed through both layers of fabric. My waistband seams don’t quite match up but they’re not far off so I carried on regardless!

Once the zip was in it was time to finish the back seams. This was done separately for each fabric so each layer would hang loose below the zip end. I couldn’t do a French seam in the organza layer, so to avoid seeing a seam through the sheer fabric I sewed a straight seam, RST as normal. Then, keeping the seam allowances together, I sewed a narrow zigzag stitch a few millimetres away from the original stitching line. I then cut the excess seam allowance right up to this new stitching line.

Next it was the hemming. I hemmed each layer separately. For the satin, I just double turned up the hem and stitched. I shortened this skirt by about 3 inches first. I knew that I wanted the overlay to come below the satin layer. 

For the organza layer, I originally did a baby hem. It wasn’t quite dainty enough so I manned-up and read my overlocker instruction manual on how to do a rolled hem on that. What a difference that made. Here is my overlocked rolled hem – I’m mightly pleased with this!

So here are the finished top and skirt together at last! I love how they both look and I can’t wait until I have an occasion to wear both these garments!

So, if you’re going the Dressmakers Ball (or any other occasion for that matter!) then I hope I’ve shown that, whilst fun, it is not entirely necessary to make a full-on ball gown. A simple skirt and top will work too if you think about your fabric choices and your finishing. Now I just need to buy myself some strappy black heels to go with it all!

Corrine blogs at https://applebymakes.wordpress.com/


What a gorgeous make Corrine!! So that’s a wrap for the party dress season – see you tonight at The Dressmakers Ball! X Gabby

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *