Red Satin and Gold Sequins – Sarah’s Dressmakers Ball Ensemble

My dress for the ball went through many redrafts before I finally settled on my design. The problem with having made lots of lovely dresses for and with other people in the past is that when I came to designing my own I had way to many ideas! But I am so happy with my final combo of design details!

I’ve seen quite a lot of high front low back hemmed dresses and skirts and thought this would make it really modern ball dress silhouette.


I self drafted the skirt thinking around a full circle shape.

I made a tiny 1/5 Scale mock up of a full circle skirt with a short front and long back and then slashed and spread this to add deep pleats to the waistband. I then calculated this up times 5 to give me my full scale measurements for my final skirt.

I measured these against myself to check I was happy with them and made a pattern using Adobe Illustrator. 

It was 90% experiment and I really didn’t think that the pattern I got back would be correct so I toiled it up knowing that I would need to make some adjustments. I was happily surprised that all the seams met up just about perfectly, the pleats needed a little tweaking but that was easy to do.

From the toile, I could see how the fabric would hang and how the pleats would sit. The hem needed a little adjustment. But other than that I was really happy with the fit and overall style.

On to the bodice…

I planned to make a bodice to attach to the skirt to make a full dress, however as the date drew near and my indecisiveness in my design was not improving I realised that maybe I could use a garment I had made previously but never worn.

I made a boned laceup back corset as a sample for one of our classes and I tried this on with the skirt shape and it suited perfectly!


Once this decision was made choosing the fabric to make up my finished skirt was a lot easier. I chose a beautiful crepe-back satin in pinkish red and lined the whole skirt in spotty black and white cotton. I finished off the waistband with a sequinned panel and a giant sequin bow at the back – I think this is my favourite bit!

I squeezed in time to make A matching bag and embellished my sparkly red shoes with big satin bows. Are used shoe clips to attach these and I’ll do a tutorial to show you how to make removable shoe bows later on. 


I love my finished outfit – especially all the finishing touches which I will use again and remember back to this fantastic night.

Happy sewing!

Sarah x

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