Learn How SIMPLE
Digital Patterns Really Are!

Sign Up to Receive
The Ultimate Guide to Digital Sewing Patterns eBook + a FREE Skirt Pattern!

2010 navy ball glamour

Added Oct 26, 2010

by elegantmusings

Virginia, Virgin...






This gown was a last-minute project… I almost decided to just wear vintage to this year’s annual US Navy ball! But 10 days from the event, I decided that I really did want to make a dress, and I wasn’t going to let my previous set-backs (designs that just weren’t gelling) keep me back.

I was inspired by designs of the late 1930s/early 1940s with the flowing, full skirt and classic halter and midriff detail. Fabric wise, I have to admit that this cranberry red crepe-satin was a good choice, even though it wasn’t my first. Although it’s a polyester (I’ll try not to hold that against it), it’s a good quality one, and the drape and weight are amazing–and I adore the color. The bodice is from this pattern, and originally looked like the halter on the pattern envelope. However, after a late-night fitting session and playing around with the neckline a bit, I added the long ties to the back of the neckline. The resulting bow softened the look a bit and draped down the back for some interest.

The skirt is a quarter-circle (and then some for extra fullness!) pattern I drafted myself. I added the shirring detail at the center front, which is evocative of a lot of detailing from the late 1930s/early 40s on both day and evening dresses. There are 11 rows of shirring, which yes, took a bit to do since the fabric is a bit of a pain to work with! But it was totally worth it; the way the front drapes is amazing. Because I’m a stickler for balance in design, I echoed the shirring at the bust at the gathered portions, adding 3 rows there. I toyed with adding something sparkly (rhinestones, sequins, beads), but felt that the fabric was shiny enough on it’s own and I was planning on wearing some sparkly accessories.

The final touches were inserting the zipper using my favorite method , and making a self-fabric belt. I didn’t have a buckle for because this was such a last-minute thing. So I pulled out the handy-dandy button tutorial I posted last week and just made a larger version with a sparkly vintage button in the center. Instant “buckle”! (The belt itself is just closed with a hook and eye and then a snap.)

Be sure to read more on my blog

Material Notes

crepe back satin, georgette




Garment Type
Classic, Evening Wear, Vintage

22 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Retrostockartimagesofpeople24_large

    Jul 10, 2011, 10.57 AMby Fletcher & Fenn

    wow. what a dress and a half!!!!. great job!!!!. u look really great!!!!

  • Missing

    Mar 14, 2011, 05.20 AMby hobbes5

    Oh my, your dress is gorgeous! love the sheer colour and how it’s draped, very elegant.

  • 20150117_152733_large

    Oct 28, 2010, 11.43 AMby mlssfshn

    You did a tremendous super job! Congratulations, on your piece of art!

    1 Reply
  • 2_dsc_1140_large

    Oct 28, 2010, 08.32 AMby magdamagda

    an intricate lovely design!:) perfect for stealing the spotlight!

    1 Reply
  • Dyes_large

    Oct 28, 2010, 12.34 AMby nicaban

    jaw-dropping gobsmackingly beautiful! u r a star!

    1 Reply
  • Avatar_90_x_90_large

    Oct 28, 2010, 12.21 AMby smeeta

    Wow… stunning! This is such a gorgeous dress and you look smashing in it! :)

    1 Reply
  • Vienna_2010_036_large

    Oct 27, 2010, 05.52 PMby violetta089

    I’m speechless! The dress is so beautiful!

    1 Reply
  • Priscilla_03_large

    Oct 27, 2010, 02.32 PMby be-bops1

    Love love love this!!! You were most likely the belle of the ball… My son is in the Navy and I am so glad the guys have gorgeous, creative dates like yourself!!! WTG

    1 Reply
    • Dec-avatar_large

      Nov 3, 2010, 10.39 AMby elegantmusings

      Aw, thank you ever so much!!! :D

  • 5196510037_0646d0f80e_o_large

    Oct 27, 2010, 01.34 PMby kelepso

    I love the gathering detail on the gown. Is that elastic? How’d you achieve it. The dress looks very vintage. Gorgeous!

    2 Replies
    • Dec-avatar_large

      Nov 3, 2010, 10.41 AMby elegantmusings

      The gathers are just shirred using gathering threads. I posted a little description of how I did it on my blog:

      I added an extra 3″ to the center front (it was cut on the fold, so it was 6″ extra in total) and referred to a couple of my sewing manuals for pointers on large amount of shirring. Basically it’s just a series of evenly spaced running stitches, which I did over the center 10″ portion of the skirt. I then pulled the threads up so the skirt matched the original pattern (sans the extra I added), and tied them off at the back. I did this before I underlined the skirt, which helped act as a “stay” to prevent the shirring threads from snapping or distorting. If I hadn’t done this, I would have stitched a small rectangle of fabric to the backside of the shirring. It’s pretty easy–just time consuming! Most good sewing reference books should have more detailed instructions on it.

    • 5196510037_0646d0f80e_o_large

      Nov 3, 2010, 01.43 PMby kelepso

      Thanks for sharing

  • B02_large

    Oct 27, 2010, 09.33 AMby manuela


    1 Reply
  • Blogportrait_large

    Oct 27, 2010, 07.40 AMby ajtak7171

    Oooooooooooooooooh, this is absolutely stunning!!! Congratulations and thanks again for being such a great inspiration!

    1 Reply
    • Dec-avatar_large

      Nov 3, 2010, 10.41 AMby elegantmusings

      Aw, thank you ever so much!!! :)

  • Burdapic_large

    Oct 27, 2010, 07.08 AMby carolinesj

    Absolutely stunning! Love the colour and belt – it looks very luxurious. Love the hair too!

    1 Reply
  • Big_tri_large

    Oct 27, 2010, 02.40 AMby cantare

    I’m sure all of those military men were mesmorized! It’s a beautiful outcome, I see those 30s in it!

    1 Reply
  • Img_0162_large

    Oct 27, 2010, 12.13 AMby sophie11

    Absolutely beautiful! What a pity there aren’t more occasions to get such a fabulous dress out! I wore the same colour (in 100% polyester as well) to my year 12 formal, which is the equivalent of your prom.

    1 Reply
    • Dec-avatar_large

      Nov 3, 2010, 10.41 AMby elegantmusings

      I know—life would be so much more fun with more formal events! lol. Thanks so much for your lovely comment!

  • _______________50__large

    Oct 26, 2010, 11.12 PMby citycat

    wwow, this dress is just ideal!

    1 Reply
  • Img_2556_large

    Oct 26, 2010, 09.47 PMby beckydance


    1 Reply
  • Blogkusinekjolegr_nactionportr_tt_large

    Oct 26, 2010, 05.10 PMby groovymama


    1 Reply
  • Sart_large

    Oct 26, 2010, 05.05 PMby tamezdc

    Beautiful gown!

    1 Reply
  • Avatar_large

    Oct 26, 2010, 04.46 PMby apfelbluete

    Oh my God! I have no words! It is breathtaking to the smallest detail. I hope you will feel like Queen Ball! It is pure elegance. Homage to the femininity of a woman. Casey, you amaze me again…

    1 Reply
    • Dec-avatar_large

      Nov 3, 2010, 10.42 AMby elegantmusings

      Aw, thank you ever so much for your lovely words!!!

  • 4_large

    Oct 26, 2010, 04.41 PMby elleynamarie

    What a beautiful dress! You look gorgeous…like Greta Garbo! :)

    1 Reply
  • Silhouette_profile_large

    Oct 26, 2010, 04.39 PMby thefabledneedle

    gorgeous, casey!

    1 Reply
  • Ooobop_thatched_house_large

    Oct 26, 2010, 04.20 PMby janene

    Soooooo beautiful ;-)

    1 Reply
    • This is a question
  1. Sign in to add a post

Add to Favorites 46 people added it