Yes I Did Just Totally Whip Up A Formal Gown

Well, I held my breath as I let Sis choose some heavy satin and yards of tulle. [Satin fabrics are notoriously temperamental, and I usually turn down friends’ pleas to alter formal gowns.] BUT, I have a little princess turning four on my hands–what’s a mama to do when the ready-made princess costumes and dress-up clothes simply will not do?! So, with my typical get-tangled-up-just-tango-on philosophy, I forged ahead. How hard could it be?

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 01

So here’s how I turned a $10 pile of fabric (and no pattern or plan) into Sis’s four-year-old princess party dress…

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 02

So, first I cut off a strip of the satin about 18″ long and wide enough to wrap around her torso (plus seam allowance). I folded under the two ends, then folded the top under and hemmed the two sides. I held this “bodice” piece around Sis to see how wide it needed to be, then temporarily pinned it together until it is sewn to the skirt piece.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 03

Next I added a loop of elastic near the top of one end (for a button to be added later).

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 04

Sis and I chose a perfect couple of sparkly, blingy buttons.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 05

[If this were going to be an Elsa dress, these snowflake shaped rhinestone buttons would have been PERFECT!]

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 06

Next, I took the rest of the satin fabric and sewed it right-sides-together up one side to form a tube. and I layered three pieces of tulle on top of each other and folded them in half, then sewed along the open side opposite the fold to form a tube with those too. [These are turned on their side to form the skirt overlay later, so I had six layers of tulle with a “tulip hem” at the bottom.]

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 07

[Here’s a closeup of the tulle–I used a zig-zag stitch.]

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 08

Next I wrapped my tulle overskirt around the tube skirt, leaving about 4-5 inches of satin tube at the top, both right sides out. I folded the satin tube back over the tulle seam all the way around the skirt.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 09

I pinned that in place and moved to my machine…

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 10

…where I sewed the waist all the way around (with the tulle seam sandwiched inside.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 12

So when that satin tube was flipped back up, I had a nice clean look to the waist of my dress.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 13

I tucked the right-side-out bodice tube into the inside out (and upside down) skirt so that the bottom of the bodice lined up with the top of the skirt. I pinned the two together. There is more skirt width than bodice, so the skirt gapes here, but I finger gather the skirt as I go in the next step. [I think this is the simple method, but if this is too tricky, you can always run a basting stitch and gather the skirt fabric to the bodice width and then pin.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 14

Hand gathering as I go, I bunch the skirt fabric along the flat bodice fabric and sew the two together with a straight stitch.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 15

So now the skirt is attached to the bodice. At this point, I decided the bodice was longer than I liked, so I tucked the extra fabric back into the skirt and pinned it in place.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 16

It forms a lovely “belt” look as it wraps over the hidden seam of tulle and skirt.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 34

I added a short basting stitch and gathered an inch or two at the neckline to form a sweetheart neckline. The next “measuring” I did was to add the straps.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 18

Two strips of fabric were sewn right sides together to form tubes about 18″ long x 5″ wide (a lot of excess length was trimmed later). I finger-gathered the straps to the inside front of the top of the dress bodice and attached them with a row of straight stitches.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 17

So when I tried the dress on again, I could pin where the straps needed to be attached in the back. More pinning.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 19

I took the pinned dress back off Sis and sewed it up! The bodice was shortened by sewing around the pinned perimeter of the waist and forming the faux belt look, and the straps were attached with a straight stitch to the back of the bodice.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 20

After that was done, I was almost home free! The bottom just needed to be hemmed.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 35

Oh yes! AND to add the BLING!This button was added to the back. [I also added a couple of hidden pieces of velco sewn along the back opening so it wouldn’t gape.]

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 33

And a pair of same-but-smaller buttons were added to the “belt.”

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 29

Once the satin skirt was all hemmed up, I ran a short basting stitch on the front left and right bottom of the tulle overlay skirt. This gathered it just perfectly, gave a peek-a-boo to the satin underskirt, and swagged in just the most princessy regal way. [I forgot to take a proper shot of that step, but you can see the gather here at the bottom of the tulle skirt.]

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 28

And that was that! Somebody just pinch me at the cuteness.

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 31

I am shocked, actually, and so excited about how this turned out. Who knew it was so do-able?!

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 26

Of course I just KNEW she would wake up birthday party morning and refuse to wear it…

BUT SHE DIDN’T BALK, HUZZAH!

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 25

She loved it…

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 27

…all through her princess party…

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 36

…And right on through the rest of the day! WIN!!

princess birthday purple ball gown dress 37

[I just loved seeing her sit there in a puddle of tulle, playing away.]

how to make a simple purple princess tulle overlay satin ball gown without a pattern

Oh man, THIS is totally the joi de WHEEEEEE!

And pssst, P.S.: the DaySpring (in)courage Everlasting Light Collection winner will be announced here Wednesday, so don’t miss it!

Wheeee! blog signature

Advertisements

One response to “Yes I Did Just Totally Whip Up A Formal Gown

  1. Pingback: How To DIY Hello Kitty Princess {or any other} Invitations | CampClem·

I love to read your comments... Do tell!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s