Just like last year, I made a dress for a military ball this year. My husband and I weren’t able to make it to the Navy ball, but we were able to make it to the Strike Fighter Ball. This ball is only for pilots and flight officers in the fighter community. It was a blast to say the least! As usual, the Navy knows how to party.
Out of the three ball gowns I’ve made, this one is probably my least favorite. I love the sleeves on this one much more than last year’s, Simplicity 2053, dress. My favorite, despite the color, was my first ball gown I have ever made the Simplicity 1909.
Anyways, this year I made a Navy blue dress, it looked more like blurple (blue-purple) in the store, which made me excited. It turned out just blue in the pictures though. I used a David Tutera stretch taffeta from JoAnn’s Fabric store. I really liked working with the stretch taffeta, it was much more manageable than crepe back satin. I used view C to make my dress, but didn’t put any lace over it. I wanted a nice place dress for the ball. I also made it solely on my serger and my Featherweight! She is such a good little machine. It made making this dress fun!
It took me about three days to make. I don’t think I’d make this dress again, I might do view B if I did and use it as a nice little black dress. I made a size 14 and should have gone with a 12. I had to bring in the dress quite a bit, which is probably why I don’t want to make this dress again. I also had to cut off about 5 inches from the skirt length so I could walk in it. I usually have to make my dresses shorter, but 5 inches is a lot especially when I am wearing platform heels that give me lots of height. I also didn’t like that my fabric I was working with didn’t have a right or wrong side. That made doing the sleeves difficult. I hate doing sleeves in the first place and luckily my husband was there to help me understand the pattern.
Once I figured out my sizing from measuring myself, I went to a 14, but should’ve stayed with the recommended 12. I sometimes think I’m bigger than I am. Haha. I guess I’d rather have made it too big than too small. So that’s a good thing. After figuring out my bust size, the directions are fairly simple in figuring out which size to cut, I started cutting the pattern. This is always tedious work.
After cutting the pattern and following the directions of putting the sides and front then back and sides together… I was at the point where in the directions, you are supposed to put the wrong sides together then add the sleeves. Then you’re supposed to try it on and make markings of where you need to take in or let out. I wish I would have gone against the directions and skipped all this. It seemed pointless to me. I guess if you’re a very oddly shaped person it could help. All I did was learn that I need to bring the waist in about 2-3 inches each side and make it all a little smaller. Then you take all the work you just did apart and assemble it the right way and sew where you made your markings.
Then you work on the invisible zipper (I still need an invisible zipper foot, FYI) and then the neckline. From here on out the directions were simple and easy to follow.
I didn’t really follow the directions for finishing the top zipper portion, I just sewed so it looked good and then hung the skirt up overnight so it could “settle” as the directions say. Then in the morning I put my heels on and had my husband help with making the marking so I could hem it. I cut about 5 inches off the skirt and them hemmed it. That’s a lot to take off especially even when I’m in huge platform heels.
Anyways… Here is my finished dress…
Just like last year, I decided to make my dress for the Navy ball. I started Tuesday night and finished everything, but the hemming. I did change up the dress a little. Since I was using a polyester spandex blend fabric, I decided to not have a zipper – I would just pull it over my head. I did size 10 and it fit okay, I could have brought it in a little more, but I’m only wearing this dress once (at least that is what I plan) and so I really didn’t want to spend a bunch of time on it. I did view F on the pattern with the sleeves from view D. I also, didn’t put the buttons on the sleeves either and I gathered the back portion of the skirt so it would match up with the darts. That should not have been a problem, but since I didn’t use a zipper and I cut the back skirt on the bias, it made it a little big.
I’m glad my mother was here visiting so she could be a part of the dress! She’s amazing. The gold fabric, my husband and I chose, was chosen because he just received his wings of gold – we like to match and be cute. Haha. He’s now a naval aviator and will be flying super hornets! I am so proud!
This pattern was fairly simple and easy to cut out. I liked it better than cutting out the satin from last year’s dress. It took me about 2 days to make. Technically, it was all done in one night (5 hours), but I just needed to put my wedges on that I was going to wear with the dress and hem it.
The directions were a tad unclear about the pleats and I do not understand that extra little fabric tail – it served no purpose. I just matched up the top line with the second line and sewed those together. Then I matched the third with the fourth and so on.
Since I was not adding a zipper, I think I cut out a little too much fabric, especially on the bottom skirt. I just cut the pattern piece on the bias so there wouldn’t be a seam since I didn’t need one because of not having the zipper added. So to fix that and to make the darts match up, my mom and I just gathered it. It didn’t turn out too bad actually. I hate gathering, by the way. I’d rather make pleats (but NOT darts, I hate darts).
The dress turned out really well. I am not a fan of the sleeves at all. I should have just gathered them instead of making the two pleats. I just don’t like sleeves that come out far from my shoulders, I am kinda petite and I don’t think it looks that great on me. I fixed that by wearing my hair down, so it wouldn’t’ draw a lot of attention to that area. This fabric was not too bad to work with, it’s stretch, but not forgiving if you make a mistake. Be careful that you don’t have to seam rip anything because the holes will show. Also, if you sew too close to the edge and the thread tension messes up, it will look a little melted on the fabric because of the gathering and folding.
Today, I finished my dress for the Navy ball this weekend! It’s my first big project I have ever actually done. I read some reviews that said this dress is hard and not for the beginner. That may be true, but I finished it and I must say that it looks pretty good. I made a few changes to the pattern to make it more modest for my taste. The back went super low and I was not a fan of that, so I just brought it up. I also didn’t add any liner to the skirt of the dress and didn’t add the buttons to the back. I thought it would be too bulky and heavy for a ball gown. I did view C on the pattern (the top left of the packaging). I made a size 10 and brought it in a little to fit my waist and I used crepe back satin fabric.
The most daunting task of anything related to sewing, at least to me, if you are using patterns is cutting and making sure everything lines up. It’s so tedious and I just want it to be over. I really just want to see the finished project. This one took me about a week with a couple days of not even touching it. So pretty much 4 days total. I also had to buy a new cutting mat because this one got too warped from our PCS (permanent change of station – military lingo for moving). We tried everything to fix it. Thank Heaven’s for Jo-Ann’s and their coupons! Also, be sure you actually read if the pattern goes side up or writing side down when you’re cutting out the fabric… It’ll help not waste fabric. Haha.
The bodice is the first part you make according to directions. When I first bought fabric (5 yards), I wasn’t going to make a lining at all. I didn’t want the extra bulk and to be honest, the work. But after making the bodice, I decided I definitely needed to make a lining for it since it would help with the seams and make the dress look attractive. I actually didn’t even buy more fabric or any special lining fabric, I used the same fabric for it all and didn’t need extra. While making this dress, I learned what darts were and pleats. Near the shoulders, you were instructed to make pleats, but I just made darts and it turned out fine.
The hardest part in making the dress was attaching to sleeves on correctly. I had to rip seam them a few times. Good thing I’ll probably just wear this dress this one time for the Navy Ball. I just got so excited and happy with my basting abilities and attaching the sleeve to the bodice, I wasn’t paying attention to which way I was sewing it. It’s hard to explain, but I made the back (where the zipper will go) the front. Then I did one sleeve correctly and the other was backwards. Ugh! After I got past this part, it wasn’t too bad. YouTube tutorials and blogs are amazing for helping with sewing definitions. It turned out well!
The invisible zipper was a little tricky, but wonder tape did WONDERS! Haha. Also, I have an amazing husband who would help me when I got frustrated and wanted to seam-rip the mess out of it all! I really want an invisible zipper foot. It’ll help the zipper be more invisible and so I don’t have to do some of it by hand. After I did the zipper, I put the dress on and decided how much I wanted to hem. I took about 3-4 inches off and then hemmed (I am about 61.5 inches tall). I did leave the train in the back because I thought it was adorable on me!