Ok so I decided that I was going to make my formal dress for yr 12 formal (last year.) I was as sick as a dog when we went to buy my dress for yr 10 formal and so we got the first one that fitted and looked good - one that was a) black and black doesn't suit me, and b) some other girl had the same dress.
So..being a girl with new found sewing genius *coughcough* I've been sewing since around...may 2007? I said that I was going to make my formal dress. Well..originally I was going to go in drag and make a waistcoat out of ties and wear that but I knew my school would a) freak out and b) it would have been super hot.
First I drew a sketch.
I originally wanted to have heaps of petticoats underneath but I decided it looked better without in the end. I'd collected a whole bunch of ties for my original plans of tie waistcoat, and they were all in blue colours so I used those for the bottom. Now...unfortunately..the only fabric I had was this really gorgeous buttery yellow cotton satin...which looked horrible with the blue..and so I would have to buy more. LUCKILY in the remnant bin there was heaps of grey satin..and it was a fairly heavy not super shiny and disgusting fabric, it looked tasteful..so I got it, tried to tint it bluish (which didn't really work but oh well) and used that. I originally wanted silk (cause I had bit of blue silk that I could use) but they didn't have any silk in nice colours. Gah.
First I made a muslin out of a sheet (the dress was originally going to be about this colour):
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM..the dress makes me look like I'm as flat as a 12 yr old..this wasn't going to work. I had to get a STRAPLESS BRA. So of course I had to put off making the dress until I could get that bra. The ruching of the waistband also really sucked so I had to work something else out. This was all trial and error, people..I didn't use a pattern.
FINALLY I got the dress done around a week or so before the formal. It was fully lined (badly..wow, I hate lining things) and I'd had to unpick the zipper like..a zillion times so the bottom of it looked pretty wonky..so I had to make a bow out of a spare tie and pin it on there. In the end, I was really pleased how it turned out.
sorry about the washedoutness...the colours are fairly accurate though.
I've got hair extensions in my hair and I'm wearing high heels (ouch) as well as makeup (more ouch)
and me at the formal.
Phew..it was so hard. I did, however, get a lot of compliments, my dress was the only one like it (I should have done a more out there one, this one's a bit conventional but oh well..) AND the best thing was..the dress only cost like $30..the fabric was out of the remnant bin (lining and all the grey stuff) and I got the yellow fabric for $5 for like...two metres by two metres. Really great buy
I made the rest into a skirt which I will post later. The ties were all around $2 each..Ok that bumps up the price but I had bought them over a long period of time.
It wasn't very easy fabric to sew..it kept doing crazy things like puckering and shredding. But that's around it then.
(I didn't use any patterns..but I'm not really good at sewing dresses that fit well so as well as all the tweaking and fitting that I had to do, I used these tutes.
Tie ruffles: http://www.flickr.com/photos/outsapop/2051985019/in/set-72157603253925298/
(note, if your ties are polyester..be VERY careful when ironing them! I burnt the grey one!)
Adjustable ruched skirt: http://community.livejournal.com/steamfashion/791377.html
(mine might have looked better with an underskirt but it would have a) been too hot and b) been too much effort)
Ruched sweetheart neckline: http://www.burdastyle.com/howtos/show/1153
(I also used princess seams to fit the bust, which has to be my favourite fitting technique ever. Princess seams are SO much nicer than darts!)
I hope you enjoy