Thursday, September 15, 2011

formal gowns? anyone?

I decided a few months ago, I am going to attempt sewing my military ball gown this year. The ball is every November and last year, it was difficult to find many choices at that time of year. I got a great black dress that fit really well, but this year I want to make something fabulous instead! I've been perusing patterns online for months now and have determined that it's the fabric choice that matters maybe more than the pattern.

This one is a major contender:
I like the white version, the one on the model, but what is the trim on there?? I know this is a style that I could easily pull off and would be comfortable sitting for several hours (because that's what you do at these things. How they're allowed to call them "balls", I will never know!)

Slightly more risky, but another that I'm seriously considering is this one:

I say more risky, because I really don't know how this style will look on me, with the gathering at the side. I really like the view on the top left. Come to think of it, actually, it's possible my gown from last year had those side gathers. Hmmm, I'll have to go check it out.

Okay, until a few days ago, I was almost sure I was going this route:
Obviously, this is not a formal gown, but I would adapt it to be floor length (I noticed short is a kind of unspoken no-no for this event) and in a formal fabric, I think it would work and could be really great. The little satin belt makes me happy and I know this would flatter me just fine. I went ahead and picked up this pattern last week when Vogue went on sale for 3.99.

BUT, a few nights ago, while watching How I Met Your Mother, with Casey, I shouted "Oh, my goodness, Casey, look what Robin's wearing!" He had no idea what I was going on about, but check this out!
This is the dress! However, I am not lovin' the fit of the bodice here at all--look how it's pulling at the waist and it's also way too low cut for me to feel comfortable. Not at all how it looks on the pattern envelope. So, now I'm having second thoughts. I do already have the pattern and I'm sure I can dig up some fabric to make a muslin, so I might as well just see.

I'm rather surprised that I can't seem to find many photos or reviews of formal gown patterns. I guess I'll be pioneering :)

In any case, what would YOU do????


  1. I made the first one for my niece for her prom. I added trim to the waist and added some stones to the bottom hem.

  2. 1st, make a muslin. Either view, make a muslin. Especially if you invest in beautiful fabric.

    2nd, invest in beautiful fabric. Great drape/body (shantung silk has both) and the shine or not that you want. Maybe natural fiber? Think twice, thrice about the poly stuff sold everywhere as bridal satin.

    How exciting!

  3. Remember that the HIMYM dress might NOT have been made from the Vogue sewing pattern. It was more likely a Tracy Reese original. A pattern can be changed significantly when Vogue takes it apart to create a sewing pattern. Check out PR to see that the neckline is higher. Also, check out
    One of my favorite incarnations.
    Truly, you got right. The fabric really makes (or breaks!) the dress, the pattern only shapes it.

  4. have you been going crazy at JoAnn's and buying up a million patterns too? I can't stop myself. That is why I have a whole new handmade wardrobe :)

  5. I think a winter white dress would be'll stick out in a crowd that's all wearing the typical cocktail black! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  6. I love the first pattern with the round neckline - so classic. But I think you'd look fantastic in the side swept dress. Can't wait to see what you choose!