White Christmas Ball Dress

13 Dec

Tired and sore feet and a sore head… must have been a fun night! This is what I wore to the Swing Sesh (my swing dancing school) White Christmas Ball! I made a dress & covered a pair of shoes for the event, because a girl always needs a fancy new outfit for a big night out. The pattern was McCalls 5036 from 1959, which I showed you in this post – I made it strapless rather than have a lace netting over the bodice because I couldn’t find a lace that was suitable, but I definitely want to try it again with lace included. The instructions looked really tricky to start with, but in the end I finished this quite quickly – it was the details that took a long time! Lots of pictures after the cut.

This is a close-up of the bodice. My photos are a bit overexposed so you can’t see the detail very well, but this shows all the little silver beaded stars I hand-sewed onto the bodice. I’ve been reading so many books on couture lately that I wanted to bring some of those amazing details into my own work, and even though this is, of course, a very amateur effort it makes me feel like I personalised the Ikea fabric and rendered it a bit more ‘custom-made’. The bodice is also boned, lined, and has 1950’s bra cups sewn into it so that I wouldn’t have to tug it up all night! In addition, I pinched in the neckline to a more sweetheart shape so that it would fit a bit better over my bust. Patterns never fit me right there šŸ˜¦

Gloves and handbag, both from op-shops. The little beaded bag was $3 – good find!!

My shoes! I made these as an after-thought and got lots of lovely comments on them. Not vintage at all!! They were hideous plastic wedges I bought cheap, and covered with my dress fabric and some trim to match. They are definite limo-to-lobby shoes and not at all for dancing, so I changed later in the evening so I could actually move comfortably, but I am really happy with how they turned out.

I had such a lovely night! Lots of swing dancing to a great big band, and I also got to meet one of my online friends, Andi B. Goode, for the first time! Go look at her dress, it’s a knockout. Why do I never find dresses like that?! Here we are with the boys from Lucky 7, a fantastic local swing band.

Hmmm… what to sew next?

17 Responses to “White Christmas Ball Dress”

  1. Kassie December 13, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    You should be REALLY proud of your dress! You did a great job on it, and you look phenomenal!

  2. Veronica Darling December 13, 2009 at 10:08 pm #


    I CANNOT believe you covered those shoes, but what a great idea! I’m guess loads of glue and perhaps a staple gun?

    You look fabulous and well done on such great photos too! Yay!


  3. Stephanie December 13, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    This dress is amazing! Handbeading, boning, bra cups sewn into it, shoes to match,…..I mean how could it get any better!? Wish I could sew as well as you. Great work!

  4. Makenzie December 14, 2009 at 12:10 am #

    What a beautiful dress! And those shoes are amazing! I tried to cover a pair of shoes once, it was a disaster. Your whole outfit looks wonderful!

  5. Miss Emmi December 14, 2009 at 12:49 am #

    So beautiful! The wedges are really impressive; it’s a great 50s look considering they would coordinate EVERYTHING. Hope you had a great night!

  6. nat December 14, 2009 at 6:24 am #

    A.MAZE.ING that is some beautiful work all the way around! You are my vintage sewing hero! I love love love admiring your things.

  7. sarah December 14, 2009 at 6:49 am #

    Stunning! I love the hand-beading, I couldn’t quite imagine it until I saw the closeup, it must be gorgeous in person. And the shoes!! Knockout!

  8. Debi December 14, 2009 at 9:24 am #

    Wow! Really beautiful! How did you cover your shoes? I would love to try that!

  9. Kat December 14, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    What a stunning dress! I love that you added the detail onto the fabric to make it more personalised. What a great idea!

  10. Andi B. Goode December 14, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    We both look so tiny in that picture! Haha.
    I don’t know if I told you, but your dress was amazing! You did such an impressive job on it. And it looked perfect on you, too.
    -Andi x
    PS Would you be able to email me some of the other pics, please, if it’s not too much trouble? My mum wants to see them. hehe

  11. whipstitchsewing December 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm #

    Andi – we do! We look like midgets next to those guys!

    Debi & Veronica & Makenzie – thankyou! I was thinking of maybe doing a tutorial on how I covered the shoes, is that something people might like?

  12. juliab December 15, 2009 at 3:59 am #

    That’s AMAZING! You look very pretty. And the shoes!! x

  13. anna December 17, 2009 at 1:05 am #

    You look stunning and the dress is gorgeous! I love those little stars.

    I just came to your blog and found out that I’ve been admiring your dresses for a while now from Sew Retro – without realising they were all from the same (talented) person!

  14. Kathleen December 18, 2009 at 1:30 am #

    Ditto to all the above comments! Fabulous dress! Love those stars. And covering the shoes to match? Inspired! You look superb. šŸ™‚

  15. Ms. Fits December 18, 2009 at 7:04 am #

    hi, i love your dress and your shoes!!! you are very creative. btw threads magazine just had a article on covering shoes in your own dress fabric. i did not like most of the fabrics or shoes used, but your shoes are great inspiration to try it.

    • whipstitchsewing December 18, 2009 at 9:54 am #

      Yeah Threads lets itself down with daggy styling on occasion. Their techniques are great but you have to get past the the 90’s fashions…ick.

  16. Karin December 21, 2009 at 7:51 pm #

    Oh, did I never comment on this dress… it’s absolutely gorgeous! Great choice of fabric for the dress-style, and the shoes are fantastic. I look forward to a tutorial!

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