Karlene's Workshop

My sewing, refashioning and upcycling projects revealed
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Ballgown Refashion

  • 07/05/2009 11:50 am

I needed a formal dress for an event I attended in early 2002 (Wellymoot formal dinner, 60th NZ Rover Scout Moot held in Wellington). So I did a quick refashion on my old school ball dress (red velvet, off the shoulder sleeves, princess line with flared skirt, that my wonderful mother shed blood sweat and tears to make – sorry Mum!).

First the sleeves were removed and armhole edges stitched down. I unpicked the centre seam to add eyelets to the waist level, and gathered/ruched the other seams to form a bustle shape – just like Gok did in Gok’s fashion fix!  I then added elastic straps and stitched  on a ribbon rose trim strap.

This formed the bodice. For the skirt I made a simple A-line petticoat from red satin, then attached a huge length of black tulle to the waist. The bottom edge was then gathered up to the required length, and red ribbon roses stitched on top to look pretty.

Result, one very quick Victorianesque evening gown!

Keith, Karlene and baby

Bottom of Welly moot dress


My Wedding Dress

  • 05/05/2009 10:31 am

The first Wedding dress I completed was for myself,  from my own design, ie I made the pattern as well :-)

It looks nothing like the frou-frou meringue that I always dreamed of wearing as a girl, as the fashion at the time (2001) was for a more elegant streamline silhouette.  And I wanted something simple to sew to avoid stress!

My wedding dress

The top layer is an empire line style with ribbon loops on the bodice for the lace up closure, and a skirt that gets longer at the back to form a train.  Cut from some beautiful lace that I fell in love with, it has a rose style floral pattern and a deep border on the bottom edge that I used for the hem and the bodice. I also had to hand stitch a piece of  the smaller top edge border onto the cuffs, because if I had cut the sleeves with the cuff along the top edge of the fabric, the rose pattern on the sleeve would have been upside down.

The underneath layer  is a simple slip dress style in delustured satin with elastic straps (eww, what was I thinking?) trimmed at the hem with lace.

The photo doesn’t really do justice to this dress, that lace is exquisite. However if I had the chance to do this over again, I would make the satin under dress a lot more structured and form fitting.