So, this has been my labour of love in June. Courteney turned 17 last Thursday and attended her year 12 school ball last night. It was a bitterly cold night at the end of a snowy week, not the sort of week that you think about parading around in strapless gowns. Her father and I attended her pre ball party where we mingled with the kids and their partners and parents and took photos like crazed paparazzi, much to the bemusement of the young people.
This dress was conceived last month and started out as a very simple strapless cocktail length gown in turquoise blue. Courteney is not prone to frou frou, so we figured simple is better. What we were unprepared for however was that school balls seem to take on a life of their own and very little is discussed for some weeks prior to the event, by both the young men and young women alike. Every time we visited a fabric shop our initial plan grew just a little until our vision was not even recognisable from the dress you see above.
Our starting point was Butterick 5457, which I picked up online in a pattern sale. Our original plan was view B, made in satin with a contrasting sash just as in the picture. I knew Courteney would not fit a stock pattern though so I actually drafted the bodice in size 8, grading out to size 12 in the waist and shortened it by quite a bit to fit her petite frame. I cut the muslin out in some cotton calico that I had lying round and after a couple of muslins, I was ready for the final bodice. By this time however, Courteney had decided on some very sparkly royal blue organza that she had seen in Lincraft. I had some reservations about sewing in such a flimsy and uncooperative fabric but like the eager to please mother that I was in ball mode, I dutifully obliged but secretly began to mentally chew my nails. This was, I knew going to be a challenge. There is no unpicking with this stuff, and this dress just had to be perfect!