2010 navy ball glamour

10.26.10 {2010 ball glamor}

So here it is: the 2010 Navy Ball gown! I have to be perfectly honest that this dress isn’t quite the head-turner last year’s was, but I still like it and am pretty pleased with the final outcome. Especially considering this dress almost didn’t happen. It went through several different designs in muslin; most of which I wasn’t entirely happy with. The fabric wasn’t my first choice (I fell in love with a peacock blue silk online, but there wasn’t enough yardage available), and typically all the fabrics I liked were way out of my budget. After pretty much abandoning this project entirely and opting to wear a vintage outfit instead, I decided with less than 10 days from the ball that yes, I really did want to make my dress and was willing to give it a shot, even though the odds of it being a complete bust or not being finished in time were high. Yes, I’m aware that I am entirely insane and need my head checked!

10.26.10 {2010 ball glamor}

inspiration collage. clockwise: 1939 fashion illustration, 1940-41 pattern booklet, Claudette Colbert, Lisbeth Scott.

The original design utilized a pattern I picked up in Augusta, GA this spring, but the bodice just looked too Forbidden Planet, and not in a good or flattering way. I like to look vintage, but not costumy in inappropriately dressed in relation to the event; the first couple of attempts of working with this design (and even modifying it) strayed far too into the costume camp rather than vintage/elegant. So I scrapped that. Then my second design I just wasn’t in love with; it felt forced and too plain, even though it wasn’t that different from what I finally went with. The third and final design was still simple, but I was inspired by designs of the late 1930s/early 1940s with the flowing, full skirt and classic halter and midriff detail. I actually toyed with the idea of doing self-fabric piping trim similar to what Claudette Colbert is sporting in the inspiration collage, but in the end opted to just focus on shirring as the main form of embellishment.

10.26.10 {2010 ball glamor}

Fabric wise, I have to admit that this cranberry red crepe-satin was a good choice, even though it wasn’t my first. Although it’s a polyester (I’ll try not to hold that against it), it’s a good quality one, and the drape and weight are amazing–and I adore the color. (Next time I need a formal I must remember to start saving early enough to afford the good stuff!) The bodice is from this pattern, and originally looked like the halter on the pattern envelope. However, after a late-night fitting session and playing around with the neckline a bit, I added the long ties to the back of the neckline. The resulting bow softened the look a bit and draped down the back for some interest.

10.26.10 {2010 ball glamor}

The skirt is a quarter-circle (and then some for extra fullness!) pattern I drafted myself. I added the shirring detail at the center front, which is evocative of a lot of detailing from the late 1930s/early 40s on both day and evening dresses. There are 11 rows of shirring, which yes, took a bit to do since the fabric is a bit of a pain to work with! But it was totally worth it; the way the front drapes is amazing. Because I’m a stickler for balance in design, I echoed the shirring at the bust at the gathered portions, adding 3 rows there. I toyed with adding something sparkly (rhinestones, sequins, beads), but felt that the fabric was shiny enough on it’s own and I was planning on wearing some sparkly accessories.

10.26.10 {2010 ball glamor}

The final touches were inserting the zipper using my favorite method, and making a self-fabric belt. I didn’t have a buckle for because this was such a last-minute thing. So I pulled out the handy-dandy button tutorial I posted last week and just made a larger version with a sparkly vintage button in the center. Instant “buckle”! (The belt itself is just closed with a hook and eye and then a snap.)

10.26.10 {2010 ball glamor}

A word about the hair: I was going for a 1940s curly-topped updo, so I set my hair in pincurls the evening before. The result was close to what I had envisioned, although I changed the front a bit (I was originally planning on reverse rolls, but found the overall look a bit too much like I just stepped off a costumed movie set. Considering the venue and event, it wasn’t appropriate.). But you would not believe how many bobby pins I used to keep it all up! lol. The fantastic part was that my hair was still super curly the next day…

Last year’s dress was definitely the “movie star”, while this one was a bit quieter and more subdued. But honestly there were some good things about this: I didn’t spend half the evening making sure a strapless top wasn’t budging in the wrong direction, or watching that the train wasn’t stepped on, and I could actually eat because I wasn’t wearing a tightly fitted bodice! So I guess comfort won out this year. Still felt glamorous, but a bit more practical. Which would be keeping with the era (early WWII) that I was inspired by for this dress, right?

10.26.10 {2010 ball glamor}

more pictures here!

I know I left a lot of construction details out of this post for the sake of length, so if you have any questions please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer!

October 26, 2010 · 119 lovely thoughts
posted in outfits + wardrobe,sewing ·

Sarah October 26, 2010 at 06:46

How lovely!
Very, very nice, great job!
Did you have a good time? Hope you did!
Already planning for next year :p?

Sarah

Stephanie October 26, 2010 at 06:48

You look so glamorous! I especially love the bow in the back and the rhinestone belt. The color looks great on you, although I’m sure the peacock blue would have been great too. I’ve been drawn to a lot of peacock inspired things lately and I’m not too entirely sure why….

On a side note, I have to say thanks for your encouragement on making those pant from the Wearing History pattern. I went ahead and bought the pattern. It’s on my list of early winter projects!

julie October 26, 2010 at 07:00

wowza!
love love it.
and lov the color.
amazing!

bunny October 26, 2010 at 07:03

You look amazing in this dress!

B.

Kat October 26, 2010 at 07:12

It looks stunning! And I really love the belt.

Magatha May October 26, 2010 at 07:14

This dress is amazing. You look like a starlet and I am loving your hair in that style.

Marmielu October 26, 2010 at 07:15

Well, I think you achieved that movie star quality! I’m seeing Gene Tierney here. That color looks so great on you, and I just love your accessory choices. You did good!!!
Mom

MsCleaver October 26, 2010 at 07:26

It’s lovely! The color isn’t something I would normally think of you in, but it looks smashing!! I think the halter bow is one of my favorite parts.

Erika October 26, 2010 at 07:33

Amazing, beautiful and so impressive! It might be worth it, but oh my all that shirring! And in such short time! The result is stunning, though, and really transforms the dress. Love the colour on you, and also the look, I don’t think it’s “simple” but rather very glamourus!
Thank you for sharing the pictures!

Jill October 26, 2010 at 07:38

Now I’m the one saying WOW!! I just adore everything about this whole look on you, Casey! Your hair is just gorgeous, too!

Rosy October 26, 2010 at 07:38

Comfort and glam! a perfect blend for the perfect dress.

shallowmallow October 26, 2010 at 07:41

Amazing! Love all the detail :) You look absolutely beautiful

Gina October 26, 2010 at 07:48

Casey, I wish you the best at the ball, your dress is just beautiful. You have inspired me, just started sewing a vintage dress. Where to find Fabric is the hard part! Any good online sources that you know? We have the “J” store here but most of the fabric does not look well for my taste. Have a great time at the Ball! you look great!!

Casey October 26, 2010 at 13:15

Gina,

Thank you! :)

The fabric I bought for this dress I found locally (not at the “J” store… lol.), but here are a few places I’ve found online:

Gorgeous Fabrics: http://www.gorgeousfabrics.com/shop/index.php
Fabric.com: http://www.fabric.com/Index.aspx
Fabric Mart: http://www.fabricmartfabrics.com/xcart/home.php
Denver Fabrics: http://www.denverfabrics.com/

Threads Magazine also has a good list of online fabric stores that I’ve used as a jumping-off point for online shopping: http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/3679/online-fabric-shopping-a-list-of-resources

Natalie Brooke October 26, 2010 at 07:49

This dress is GORGEOUS, I’m so impressed! I really love all the detailing you did. Hope you have a lovely time at the ball, I’m so jealous! (I’ve never been to a ball)
ps; your blog is amazing, keep it up! :)

Rebecca October 26, 2010 at 07:57

Wow! Amazing! How did you do that ruching detail below th belt?? It is amazing – I would never think to do that, it looks magnificent.

Casey October 26, 2010 at 13:18

Rebecca,

Thank you! :) The ruching I just added an extra 3″ to the center front (it was cut on the fold, so it was 6″ extra in total) and referred to a couple of my sewing manuals for pointers on large amount of ruching. Basically it’s just a series of evenly spaced running stitches, which I did over the center 10″ portion of the skirt. I then pulled the threads up so the skirt matched the original pattern (sans the extra I added), and tied them off at the back. I did this before I underlined the skirt, which helped act as a “stay” to prevent the ruching threads from snapping or distorting. If I hadn’t done this, I would have stitched a small rectangle of fabric to the backside of the ruching. It’s pretty easy–just time consuming! Most good sewing reference books should have more detailed instructions on it. :)

Roses R Red October 26, 2010 at 08:00

Wowzers! That is one amazing dress. And whats even more amazing is that its hand made.

Rose

Victoria / Justice Pirate October 26, 2010 at 08:04

Oh goodness. I think these shots are the definition of Vintage Glamour remade. WOW. The colour suits you so very well and you are stunning. Absolutely stunning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sarsaparilla October 26, 2010 at 08:07

You look gorgeous! I honestly think this dress is even more of a head-turner than last year’s. You look fabulous in that color. My favorite details on the dress are the shirring and the big bow in the back.
- Susan

meli88a October 26, 2010 at 08:19

Beautiful dress, and you look fabulous. I had to click on the link to last year’s dress to see if this dress is no more a head turner than that one and I’m not sure that I agree… this is quite a stunning get up!

Carys October 26, 2010 at 08:25

You are so gorgeous, and that dress is the most glamourous thing I have ever seen! I cannot believe you made it, that is so cool!
From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

The Cupcake Goddess October 26, 2010 at 08:33

Oh Casey, it’s just breathtaking! Really, you look like a hollywood actress from a bygone era. So gorgeous! I love this color on you and I love the shirring detail. Just gorgeous!

mick October 26, 2010 at 08:35

You are amazing. This is a fantastic dress! The bodice and shirring details are superb. Inspiring, as usual!

Renee October 26, 2010 at 08:37

Wait a minute, you think you aren’t going to turn some heads?

That is absolutely beautiful. The color is so pretty.

Have a wonderful time. And I would love to see a pic of you and sailor husband looking wonderful together:)

(I’m starting to have second thoughts about you NOT going to Project Runway). Ha.

Casey October 26, 2010 at 13:21

Renee,

Thank you! :) I guess I might have turned some heads last weekend… I honestly wasn’t really paying attention! hehe.

Funny you should mention PR–because the entire time I was sewing this all I could think about is the pressure those designers are under and Tim Gunn’s direction to “make it work”. hehe!

lap October 26, 2010 at 08:38

I am agog at the shirring on this satin fabric! I would love it if you could talk about how you allowed for the shirring in drafting the pattern, especially to the halter portion. I assume it’s similar to switching the dart to gathers, but I am a fiend for the details. The resulting dress fits your style to a tee, there’s a real languid sophistication to it. Brava!

Casey October 26, 2010 at 13:24

Lap,

Thank you!
Thank you! :) (Hope you don’t mind that I’m pasting this part from the reply to an earlier comment–it just saves me typing time!) The skirt ruching I just added an extra 3″ to the center front (it was cut on the fold, so it was 6″ extra in total) and referred to a couple of my sewing manuals for pointers on large amount of ruching. Basically it’s just a series of evenly spaced running stitches, which I did over the center 10″ portion of the skirt. I then pulled the threads up so the skirt matched the original pattern (sans the extra I added), and tied them off at the back. I did this before I underlined the skirt, which helped act as a “stay” to prevent the ruching threads from snapping or distorting. If I hadn’t done this, I would have stitched a small rectangle of fabric to the backside of the ruching. It’s pretty easy–just time consuming! Most good sewing reference books should have more detailed instructions on it. :)

For the bodice, because I’m a bit on the *ahem* small side, I just did the two rows of gathering for the underbust as specified on the pattern and then continued with three more rows above those that would show once the midriff seam was sewn. Pretty easy!

Valerie October 26, 2010 at 08:51

Absolutely breathtaking! You did a great job (and I know that fabric is the devil to work with!). The color is wonderful and the shirring details are perfect. Hope you had a lovely time.

Nikki October 26, 2010 at 08:51

oh my goodness you look amazing! awesome dress, an eye catcher for sure :)
i wish you could live in the same place as I do so you could make me a dress for future balls!
hope you had an amazing time

Galadriel October 26, 2010 at 08:54

Hi Casey,

I definitely think this dress is more glamourous than last year’s. Fantastic job.

jennine October 26, 2010 at 09:14

i always love your navy ball gowns! this one is absolutely stunning!

chie October 26, 2010 at 09:23

this is so gorgeous! it looks really really great on you! can’t believe you completed such a big project in a short period of time. i love all the small details like shirring around waist line!! great job!!

sallie October 26, 2010 at 09:29

this dress is incredible – i can totally understand the frustration, and it not being quite what you had pictured in your head (peacock blue would have been fantastic too) but the color is actually very rich and it looks incredible on you – and the movement of this dress and the drama of the length would have turned my head – no questions. love the shirring! can i find a tutorial on that somewhere?

Casey October 26, 2010 at 13:29

Sallie,

Thank you ever so much! :) I hope you don’t mind me pasting what I commented with above about the shirring… it just saves me typing time! ;) The skirt ruching I just added an extra 3″ to the center front (it was cut on the fold, so it was 6″ extra in total) and referred to a couple of my sewing manuals for pointers on large amount of ruching. Basically it’s just a series of evenly spaced running stitches, which I did over the center 10″ portion of the skirt. I then pulled the threads up so the skirt matched the original pattern (sans the extra I added), and tied them off at the back. I did this before I underlined the skirt, which helped act as a “stay” to prevent the ruching threads from snapping or distorting. If I hadn’t done this, I would have stitched a small rectangle of fabric to the backside of the ruching. It’s pretty easy–just time consuming! Most good sewing reference books should have more detailed instructions on it. :)

For the bodice, because I’m a bit on the *ahem* small side, I just did the two rows of gathering for the underbust as specified on the pattern and then continued with three more rows above those that would show once the midriff seam was sewn. Pretty easy!

Angela Peters October 26, 2010 at 09:29

What a fun surprise this morning! You look so glamorous! The dress turned out perfectly, and it suits you so well. Great choice on color, too. It must be fun to have an annual event like that to dress up for. Well done!

Jenny-Rose October 26, 2010 at 09:37

Firstly you are insane but then again I guess it’s the best kind of crazy though since the dress turned out gorgeous! I love the color (you should wear that more often!) and the shirring detail – it’s makes the frock so fun and different. I love you hair too – the perfect simple finishing touch! hugs!

Andromache October 26, 2010 at 09:38

That dress is awesome! I agree I like it much more than last years (it just screams glam!)

Sabrina Clementine October 26, 2010 at 09:41

Lovely, as always!!

Sally October 26, 2010 at 09:43

How on EARTH is this not a head-turner? You are the very picture of glamour!

Ms.Tips (Tammy) October 26, 2010 at 09:47

You look amazing!! I like last year’s dress but the color of this dress looks so great on you!! Amazing job as usual:) I can’t wait to see the next year.

Gertie October 26, 2010 at 09:50

GORGEOUS! Beautiful job! I also love the shirring and the rhinestone button buckle. I know satin is a tricky fabric and you sewed it beautifully! How did you handle the hem? Did you underline?

Casey October 26, 2010 at 13:31

Gertie,

Thank you! :) Yep, the skirt is completely underlined. I toyed with doing a lightly interfaced hem (following Claire Schaeffer’s instructions in “Couture Sewing”), but ended up taking it out and just hemming the skirt as I normally would for this style. It definitely helped everything lay nicely though–and the bonus of the underlining is that it created a stay under the ruching so I didn’t have to add another layer over the tummy!

Karen October 26, 2010 at 09:56

So perfectly glamorous! I love it, and especially that shirring at the waist.

nancy October 26, 2010 at 09:59

I love the bodice detail and I love love love the bow! You look like a movie star this year as well, just from a different era! Gorgeous dress. Well done, you!

Dalila October 26, 2010 at 10:13

Wow, Casey! Your dress looks stunning! It looks very sophisticated and the shirring is a beautiful detail (I know I would not have had the patience for it). Wonderful work!

Emily October 26, 2010 at 10:20

Hi Casey,

I’ve been looking forward to this all year, knowing that you would probably make another dress for 2010. It’s a fantastic dress! So much more elegant than anything designed today. (Over all I think today’s fashions are very blah.) I’m glad you didn’t give up and worked out a stunning design!

Kitten October 26, 2010 at 10:30

Beautiful! Lovely details, and I also like the look and colour of the fabric…Well done Casey!

Trudy Callan October 26, 2010 at 10:54

You look so amazingly gorgeous! The color is perfect. This is so a head turner. I am sooo jealous.

Grace October 26, 2010 at 10:57

This is absolutely gorgeous. I think I actually prefer it to last year’s dress.

Genevieve Rose October 26, 2010 at 11:07

Casey, it is absolutely beautiful. That is a color that looks smashing on you–I think that you should opt for cranberries and merlots and deep pinks more than you do. :)

Last year’s dress was unparalleled–I think I just stared at it in disbelief when I first saw it. But this year’s dress was fabulous as well, and I think the fact that the two were so different is what makes them both even more wonderful. I would hate to have to choose between them. ;)

Genevieve Rose October 26, 2010 at 11:09

What did Sailor-husband think, by the way? Is he usually aware of what you are up to, or is it a surprise?

Casey October 26, 2010 at 13:33

Genevieve,

Thank you! :) He is usually quite aware of what I’m making at the moment (unless it’s just a simple day dress, and I can usually whip those up quickly enough so he doesn’t see it until I wear it!). Mostly because I’ll ask for his opinion while I’m sewing! lol. He’s a pretty good sport about the whole thing. ;)

Leslie October 26, 2010 at 11:25

Wow, you look so elegant and beautiful! You did a fabulous job on your dress! Every detail is absolutely perfect!

Sølvi October 26, 2010 at 11:29

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Love the length – very glamorous! Great job! :-)

Seersucker Sally October 26, 2010 at 11:34

This is so beautiful! The shirring is such a nice touch. Have fun at the ball!

karen October 26, 2010 at 11:38

How can this possibly NOT be a show stopper? This is amazing. I love the shirring. I bow humbly at your feet.

Previous post:

Next post: