Throwback Thursday: The Overly Fab Tuille Prom Gown

Since I won’t have anything new to show you until after the weekend, I figured I do a “Throwback Thursday” post, and show you one of my past projects.

This was one of those project with a steep learning curve, but which you will always think about with pride and a smile (before you remember the colossal amount of work and bad words uttered during the process of making it).

It all started when I offered to sew my youngest sisters prom dress.

– Let’s just start by saying that the senior proms in out town are HUGE.
Each year the couples attending the prom start practicing the Waltz in January. Then do so every weekend, until the prom in May/June, where they all (dressed to their teeth) perform a one hour, extremely complicated dance routine in front of thousands of people.

I think it’s needles to say that the dresses are extremely important during this day.

So in february I meet with my sister to discuss the dress design. She showed me her inspiration pic and told me what she wanted.New-Alice-in-Wonderland-Mia-Wasikowska-Photoshoot-alice-in-wonderland-2010-10340859-1126-1450Her original inspiration – The red dress from Tim Burtons “Alice in Wonderland”.

I drew some sketches for our next meetingimg002The idea was to make the dress in two layers, with a floor length under layer in tulle (which of course would have to be detachable to make a short dress), and a sheer shorter upper layer with ruffles and ribbons.

For our last design meeting I’d scaled it down a bit, and added some new interesting details like the curved lacing in the back.balklänning elin produktteckningWe had also trashed the idea of a detachable lower half.

In mars my sister traveled the 3 hours ride to the capital (where I lived at the moment) to fit the mock-up.
It looks kind of ludicrous in these pictures, and the color is just awful, but I wanted to test the length of the upper layer, the curve of the lacing and of course the usual bust, waist, hip fit. Which actually were pretty good.

We also decided on the fabric.CIMG4346The gown was to be turquoise with the skirt tapering to black at the bottom, and a sheer dotted black over layer.CIMG4689I loved the effect of the black dots on top of the turquoise.

I stitched the interlining to the turquoise under layer, and then stitched the pieces both the inner and outer layers together
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I basted the dotted tulle to the under layer.CIMG4578

Then I did one extra foundation layer in which I inserted the curved boning.CIMG4591

CIMG4605CIMG4606I used a bias strip to the back side to get the nice curve on the lacing gap. The front and back pieces where now ready to be attached to each other.

CIMG4608The front and back stitched together.

CIMG4613I used a zipper at the side to make the dress fit perfectly, without disturbing the back lacing.

I used lengths of gathered dotted tulle as decoration to the shorter hem and strap. CIMG4585

I also used a heavy duty zipper as shoulder strap.

CIMG4630The back of the dress ready for some grommets.

I used a black satin ribbon for laces.


CIMG4598Then it was time to start attaching the tulle.

I only had about 40 m or so of black and turquoise tulle to attach. phew…CIMG4645Starting at the top,working downwards adding more and more black to the layers.

CIMG4660Love the effect of different color combinations in the layers.

The finished dress took up so much space in our small apartment, that the only place I could keep it was in the almost empty hall closet.CIMG4680

The week before the prom, I brought the dress down to my sister and did the final adjustments on it. CIMG4886

CIMG4889I was really relived when I zipped the dress up and the back fit perfectly.

Then it was time for the prom.CIMG4987We had no difficulty finding her among the other dancers…





CIMG5030And of course i needed to fix the lacing one final time.

CIMG5039My three sisters, all in turquoise – not intentional.


DSC_0152And then she was of for the dinner and following party.

Untitled-1 - KopiaThe dress was picked out of 250 pictures to be featured on the front of our local newspaper.

Changes to a Regency Gown

About a year ago I took on a comision from one of the ladiees in my dance companys historical dancing group. They were having a regency bal, and she wanted something nice to wear.

She bought a pattern and we visited a couple of fabric stores to find the perfect fabric.

51cX1YofXlLThe pattern was “Reconstructing History nr 838” and called for some lightweight cotton or silk fabric.

We decided to go in a different direction – mostly beacause my client wanted something darker and more sutable for her age. We setteled on a nice striped cotton for the bodice and a navy blue cotton velvet to usa for the skirt.

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I took her measurments and strated on a mock-up. The pattern caused some problems having non-matching seams, and really strange proportions. After some fideling with the pattern I manadged to produce a well fitted gown. And she was really happy with it.

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Half a year later we attended the same Regency event and I noticed the gown looked a bit large on her. IMG_2244

So we decided to take it in, and to shorten it a bit. It took a couple of months for us to get together and take the new measurments. Then it took a few more months until I had the time to start working on it.

I ripped the hem out, cut the lenght, then I pressed and sewed the new hem. IMG_4717

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Then I started working on the bodice. This was the part I feared the most. It needed to be taken in about 6 cm at the top and 10 at the underbust. A quite large amount considering there where no good places/seams to do it.IMG_6047The pins makt the widht to sew in.

I closed my eyes and started to rip the linning out, and then taking the neccesary widht in at the waist and underarm seam. I also took a couple of cm out in the front, shortening the velvet ribbon and gathering the front bodice some more. Then I re-attaced the linning and the waistband.



Then, when she came to try it on, before taking it home, the dress was to smal…

So I opened the linning once more and let it out again. And now it will finaly fit her again.


(I’m so taking a break from comissions right now).