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.
Recently, well perhaps a few weeks ago, I purchased 3 yards of Cinderella fabric form Etsy. I am absolutely in love with ANYTHING Cinderella. Seriously. It’s ridiculous. I just heard about the New Balance Cinderella running shoes coming out next year, and I already want to have them in my closet. I don’t even like New Balance, I use Brooks Ravenna running shoes – they’ve been the best for my feet. Anyways, I’m going to try to figure out a way to justify me getting them… Ideas? Send them my way! So I looked around on Pinterest for some inspiration on a new skirt style using elastic. I already have a tiered skirt that I made last year for the 4th of July. I wanted something a little special for my Cinderella fabric and something I could make easily without screwing up. I’ll also make a matching bow tie for my husband to wear with it. We like to match… Complete nerds? ABSOLUTELY! I made him a bow tie to match my American flag skirt. He was down with the idea of having a Cinderella bow tie. I have the BEST husband ever! So here is my quick tutorial on making a double layered skirt. It’s basically two skirts on top of each other with the skirt closest to the body being about 4-5 inches longer than the top layer.
- 1.5-2 yards of cotton blend fabric
- Package (usually 3 yards in a package) of bias binding (opt.)
- Waist band elastic (whatever thickness you’d like – I personally like thinner for this skirt)
- Measuring tape
- Safety pin to thread the elastic through the waist band
- Thread to match the bias tape and skirt. (I used purple and white)
- Sewing machine
Cut your fabric to your measurements for the bottom and top skirt. You don’t need to cut your skirt layer in one piece – if you have smaller pieces of fabric, you can cut the skirt into two pieces and make two seams instead of one. I am pretty small, my waist is 25 inches, so I just used my fabric the way it was and just cut the length I needed.
Skirt width: measure around your waist and you can double that (makes a fuller skirt) or multiply that by 1.5 (not as full). It’s a matter of preference to what you want!
Bottom skirt length: (Longer skirt length) Measure from the waist down to where you’d like the skirt to end. If you will be using bias tape then you don’t need to add any more to the length because you won’t be making a seam. If you don’t want to use bias tape then I would add 1 & 1/2 inches to the bottom.
Top layer skirt length: (shorter skirt length) My top layer skirt was cut about about 5 inches shorter. If you’re making a child skirt, I’d probably go 2-3 inches, but to make it proportionate and look good, I did 5 inches.
Once you figure out your measurements, you can start cutting your fabric!
Each layer will be sewn separately then joined together. I put the bias tape on the bottom of the skirts and sewed them on. If you don’t want to use bias tape, then you can make your hems now. I like doing the tape/hems now, before I sew the side seams because when I make my side seam on the skirt, I like the tape to look good and go in the seam, if that makes sense. If you aren’t sure how to sew bias tape to a fabric edge, click HERE.
You should have two skirt layers now. Stuff the longer layer inside the shorter layer and match them up at the top of the skirt. Make sure you have the fabric facing the way it should look when you’re wearing the skirt. Now, pin the two layers together and baste stitch at the top of the skirt.
Once you baste stitch, you’re going to fold the top part of the skirt over, to the inside about 1/4 inch or smaller, and sew it in place. This will finish the top of the skirt and make it look good. Or you can use bias tape at the top to bring it together. I didn’t like the look of it, so I didn’t use bias tape.
Cut your elastic to your waist size minus an inch (or however you’d like it to fit) and then use your elastic to gauge how wide the casing needs to be. Make sure you leave an opening for the elastic to come in and out! I used pins to help me remember to start and stop. Then you’ll sew around the skirt making the casing – sewing the two skirt layers together.
Now, insert the elastic between the two skirt layers and into the opening hole using the safety pin to weed it through. Then sew the ends together, make sure the elastic is flat and not twisted inside the casing. Unless it doesn’t annoy you. Then sew the casing hole shut.
And you are FINISHED!
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!