DRESSMAKERS BALL MONTH : Nel Nan and Nora’s Party Dress!

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All this month the Simple Sew Bloggers will be making party dresses to celebrate The Dressmaker’s Ball coming soon on 12th May… 

This Simple Sew pattern was included with issue 30 of Love Sewing. It is similar in form to Veronika, with a slightly different bodice, straight waistband and pleated skirt, which is made of three rectangles.


The fabric that inspired my dress is the floral chiffon, which was a bargain at £3 per metre from B&M Fabrics in Leeds. The bodice and skirt lining are made in polyester crepe (also from B&M).


The sleeves and outer waistband are made in embroidered gauze from the Shuttle, an amazing treasure trove of fabric near Salts Mill, just a few miles from our home. I especially like to rummage through the boxes of fashion fabric samples, which is where I found this piece. Plain black dress lining from my stash forms the bodice lining.



I followed the pattern instructions with the exception of the waistband. First, the I sandwiched the outer bodice between the outer and lining waistbands, stitched them together, then sewed the skirt and bodice linings directly to each other. This gave a stable outer waistband and raised the hem of the crepe lining to sit neatly above that of the chiffon outer layer. Both hems were overlocked with a 3-thread stitch, turned and pressed once and then machine stitched.


Because of the flimsiness of the chiffon, I stitched the zip (below the waistband) to both the outer and lining fabrics, then stitched the lower hems separately. It was a little awkward but gave a fairly neat result that I am happy with.



This dress has been more challenging than I expected, almost entirely due to my fabric choices and sewing late at night! In more sensible fabrics it would have been quite a quick and easy make. A last-minute panic over the fit was – thankfully – resolved the next morning with a change of zip. It is snug but wearable and acts a little like a corset! If I were to make another I would add a little more ease in the bodice and at the waistline, or grade up half a size, as it is a smaller fit than the other Simple Sew dresses I have made.


All in all, after what seemed like a neverending process, I have a dress that I’m happy with. I thought it important to share some of the glitches as it’s easy to cover up our frustrations with projects and keep them to ourselves, but even after years of sewing, we still make mistakes and encounter new challenges. It’s an opportunity to boost our skills and grow in patience!


I probably won’t (sadly) be going to the Dressmakers’ Ball but might wear this to a formal dinner at my old school – where I learned enough to enable me to sew garments without help a few years later – next weekend.

Eleanor blogs at https://nelnanandnora.wordpress.com/

Dressmakers Ball info:

Friday 12th May 2017 at The City Rooms, Leicester.


Comments 1

  1. Pingback: #Sewmystyle April: Sew House Seven Bridgetown Dress | nelnanandnora

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