Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

At the Dressmakers Ball (+ what I wore)

Last weekend was the inaugural Dressmakers Ball held at The City Rooms in Leicester and hosted by Crafty Sew & So.

I decided to be brave and go solo knowing there’d be plenty of people I’d know (via social media) once I got there!

All I had to do now was make an outfit! Well I guess I didn’t have to make one from scratch but it’s been a while since I made anything fancy so I thought I’d put some effort in! 

I left it super ridiculously late to make my outfit. I had decided to make a full length wrap jumpsuit, similar to one I’d made a couple of years ago for a wedding. I couldn’t find the original pattern I’d drafted for that one though so I had to start again from scratch!

I designed it with a super wide leg with little pleats on the front. It wraps just like a wrap dress and the crotch overlaps at the front which meant I could avoid having to put any last minute zips in!

I chose to make it out of an electric blue rayon challis that I’ve had in my stash for forever. I got it from Walthamstow market with a jumpsuit in mind but I’d never gotten round to actually making it. It seemed a perfect time to do it!

The straps are made from skinny rouleau loops and I’d originally planned to have them as standard spaghetti straps but ended up making it a halter neck tie. This was because with all my (very) last minute sewing, I hadn’t had time to toile and check the fit of my bodice properly and for some reason it actually sat a lot better with a halter tie.

I wasn’t the happiest with the finish of the jumpsuit but I literally finished at midnight the night before the ball so I wasn’t going to be too choosy!

On the day…

I went up to Leicester in the afternoon before the ball via coach (and ran into Megan from Pigeon Wishes and Gemma from A Girl So Geeky on the way). I had planned to spend some time at all the craft shops and market there but it was pouring down with rain when I got there so I had to give it a miss and opted to stay warm and dry in the hotel instead. 

Then all I had to was get ready! Which was a lot more difficult than I’d anticipated as I realised the hem of one leg had fallen more than the other and I was uneven… Luckily I’d packed a needle and some extra thread so I quickly hemmed up one leg!

The ball venue was quite unassuming from the outside but absolutely gorgeous on the inside. I was greeted at the door by Sarah from Crafty Sew & So, given a glass of prosecco and then ushered into a room full of familiar faces. Which is a weird experience since I’d only ever met a couple of them in real life!

That’s my favourite thing about the sewing community. That you can come to an event like this solo and literally within minutes feel like you’re with old friends. It’s a truly wondrous thing!

Now I was really rubbish on the night and hardly took any photos (I was too busy fangirling over all the bloggers and Instagrammers I met there plus all their outfits) but here’s a quick pic of one half of the ballroom.

Most of us entered into the catwalk competition which was split into a few different catergories. The beginner section was won by this gorgeous mint green vintage ball gown by a girl who’d only started sewing in September! The experienced section was won by Helen from the Stitch My Style vlog. She’d made this gorgeous red cocktail dress inspired by the iconic red dress from Pretty Woman. It was amazing!

After that, we were treated to a set by Gabby Young & Other Animals. This was my first time seeing Gabby (of Gabberdashery fame) live and she (and her band) were so GOOD! 

It was a great night – full of fabulous frocks, dancing and new friends! 

I just want to say a massive well done and thanks to Sarah, Freya and the Crafty Sew & So team. They did an amazing job! 

Here’s a group pic of the advanced dressmakers category from the official photographer TKL photography! You can see more pics on the Crafty Sew & So Facebook page here.

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  1. Your jumpsuit is gorgeous! Self drafted? That’s incredible. Love the wrap style and wide legs. Oh what fun this ball must have been! I follow so many of the attendees already on their blogs and youtube (I’m in Victoria BC Canada) including you and you’re all so much fun to read and watch I’m sure it was too much fun for words. Such a great idea! A ball where you can actually wear your me-made fancy dresses!

  2. You look stunning, the fit and colour are spot on. It looks like it was a amazing evening and I hope it becomes an annual thing.

  3. What a fun event! The dressmaking world does pull us closer. I believe I recognise one of the dresses in the group shot. On your left, 8 bodies over, the woman in the teal dress is on the pattern review site, I think I’ve seen that dress in that fabric?? You, Emily, are gorgeous. Congrats to you and all the participants.

    1. Thank you! 😊. That dress might well be up on there. I think most of the participants are quite active in the online sewing community!

  4. Your photo just came up on my Pinterest email. Your jumpsuit looked lovely at the ball and I look forward to reading more on your blog. From the woman at the ball in the pink flowery bridesmaidesque dress.

    1. Hi Heather! It was lovely to meet you IRL! I hope you had a fab time at the ball. I hope they make it a yearly thing as it’s a great opportunity to meet new sewing friends! 🙂

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