My first major sewing projects

In 2005 I made my very first major costume: a green satin colonial dress. It was very much a costume, but I did a lace overlay on the front and managed to put in the zip. I used Simplicity 5041, view D, with lace added to the sleeves. I remember I wanted more flouncy-ness than the sleeves of view C and I wanted them longer in the back than the front. I also remember having trouble getting the point at the front of the waist to show up. Mine turned out much more curved than pointy. But overall, a successful endeavor.

In 2006, I made my first Renaissance faire outfit, but that’s another story.

Fast forward a few years to 2011. I’m back home after completing my undergraduate degree, and I decide to make another major dress: an 1860s ball gown for the Viennese ball in San Diego. I used a modern pattern, Simplicity 4269, view A, with the neckline of view B. I altered the neckline section to be more bertha-like and I also altered the back to be laced instead of using a zip.

The plain blue is silk dupioni and the patterned fabric is a polyester home dec. The beige lace is flexi-lace hem tape and I added cording along the bottom edge of the bodice to give the illusion of a separate bodice and skirt. I believe this dress was my first time using boning, and it also has a huge amount of net in a built-in petticoat. I originally wanted blue trim instead of beige, but could not find lace or ribbon in the right blue. Even the ribbon in my hair is not quite right! I looked again in 2016, but gave up and made a new dress instead… but that is also another story.


Colonial 2005
2005, Colonial


Ball gown1 2011
2011, Viennese Ball in San Diego

Ball gown2 2011

Miles and miles of net petticoat.
Teazer helping…

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