The Blue Formal Dress

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I’m back! It’s been a while. Between my final year of high school, working, and also a bunch of other things, I’ve had barely any time to sew. The few things I have made, I haven’t photographed making! However, this weekend I finally decided I really needed to do some sewing again (I missed it terribly), and went to the fabric store. I only picked up fabric for one project, because it has been in my mind for a while. With awards season going on, I figured it was the perfect time to make it.

If you follow me on instagram, you actually may have already seen this dress, but in a pale pink. I couldn’t find the color I wanted, so ended up going with a sort of ice blue.

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I started out the real thing by making a mock-up. Because the dimensions of it had to be so exact so it would sit right, I made a rough version on my model, and then pinned and tucked at it on me until it sat right. It also probably could have won a prize for ugliest original pattern in existence, because I was using my blunt scissors so my good ones would stay sharp to cut the chiffon.

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It ended up being a pattern that looked like this.

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Each piece is lined, but there are actually only 3 pieces to the top – the left part of the bodice, the right part, and the waist-piece. The bodice back and front pieces are connected, so there isn’t a seam at the shoulder creating bulk.

I sewed it together, putting the finished bodice pieces directly into the waistband when I sewed it up, so (again) there would be no seams. As this fabric is not fully opaque, the doubling up of every piece and creating pretty seams was really necessary to make the dress look ‘finished’.

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Next, I got out a rhinestone trim I bought, and cut it into two identical pieces. These were hand-sewn onto the shoulders to gather the fabric.

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With this, the bodice was done! Although it was simple, getting the pattern exactly right took a good few hours, and sewing all the seams so they would be on the inside also took quite a while.

Next came the skirt. I used a rotary cutter to make the lines as smooth as possible, since chiffon frays horribly.. The skirt is made of two separate layers gathered together. Each layer is approximately 2 yards / 6 feet.

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I then gathered this down to fit the bodice, with two rows of gathering stitches.

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I sewed this on (with the help of a lot of pins – chiffon is so slippery, as well as fraying super fast!), and it looked like this!

IMGP1447I added the zipper in and finished the sides, and then started work on the belt piece, instead of hemming the skirt straight away. To do this, I cut my rhinestone trim down to size and since they can’t be sewn on to, I used hot glue to attach a set of hooks and eyes.

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Because the hot glue had a tendency to go everywhere and make a mess, I used sewing pins to gently place the hooks / eyes and make sure they were sitting right (and the glue hadn’t sealed them off entirely).

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After cleaning up excess glue and glue strings, I began on the hem. This dress probably was about 10 inches too long, and so I had to cut a lot off. Originally, I thought about doing a small train, but decided to make the hem even all around instead.

Both skirt layers were individually hemmed to create a more flowing look, as opposed to hemming them together.

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In the picture, you can see how much extra fabric there was. To cut the bottom layer, I had to pin the top one up, and then repeat.

This was then pinned so it could be sewn. This was actually probably the longest part of making the skirt. It required so many pins to hold it, that it probably took 2 or 3 hours to do both layers. Originally, I had planned to pin it on my model, but found it was actually a lot easier laid flat out on the ground.

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I pinned the top layer, sewed it, and then repeated with the bottom one.

After all that, it finally looked like this.

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The bandage that appears on my arm in the last photo actually came from an accident with my cat – while I was ironing the hems of the skirt, she ran headfirst into the ironing board. Since I had been smoothing out the hem to get it ready to iron, I wasn’t holding on to the iron itself, and it managed to fall exactly onto my forearm and land there. It hurt, a lot. Luckily it isn’t too badly damaged – red and a little bit blistered in the worst spot, and there might be a little scar, but nothing big! The bandage was soaked in ice water so I could continue sewing and finish the dress.

But that completed it! I hope to get proper photos of it soon, once the weather gets better (it feels like it’s been raining here for weeks). I have a few other projects in mind, so assuming everything stays not so hectic, I’m hoping to start posting more regularly again.

Until then!

Inara

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8 thoughts on “The Blue Formal Dress

  1. Im in high school but can’t sew at all.You are really talented 😀
    Lovely dress
    ______________________________________________________________________
    Hi 🙂
    Please check out my blog http://unsmileys.wordpress.com/ & facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/One-and-the-same/657216377728715?fref=ts if you want 🙂 You can also join me on bloglovin.Thank you so much.It means a lot. And you have a really nice blog 🙂 Best wishes
    Happy blogging 🙂

  2. That is such a beautiful dress. I hope you can get pictures of it in motion, I’d love to see how the double layer looks when you walk.

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