My Fair Lady Ballgown, Part V: Appliques and Trim


With the basic net overgown sewn, it’s time to start decorating! If you recall, this is the layout I drew up for the placement of the trims:


The first thing I did was the scalloped hem trim, since I figured that the weight of the trim along the hem could alter the drape of the gown. I’d intended to try machine-stitching it, but decided that I’d rather be able to see exactly where the trims were being placed relative to the rest of the gown, so I did all of the trim by hand while it was on the dress form.

Next, using masking tape for guidelines I pinned and then stitched the (mostly) straight lines of narrow trim down the front, outlining the center panel. I say “mostly” straight because on closer review of photos, it appears that the lines forming the central triangle actually curve off to the sides at the hem, allowing the short, slightly-angled columns of appliques at the bottom to be more vertical instead of angled towards the center. This makes more sense visually, but I hadn’t noticed it before.


Next, I attached the swags along the bottom of the dress. Here’s how the trims look together:


I used more tape to mark off the shorter sections of the same narrow trim on either side of the top half of the dress. (Getting those placed symmetrically was a pain, by the way.) And, upon stitching down individual flowers cut from the narrow trim  (because they had to be spaced out more than the trim itself), I quickly realized that I needed more guidance than just the tape; so I ran long basting stitches along the design line, attached the flowers along that line, then removed the basting stitches afterwards. It really helped to keep my flowers set in a smooth curve.


(I will note that the photo of the stitched flowers above isn’t up-to-date, since I ended up deciding they were too close together and re-spaced them later)

Next, it was time for the round floral appliqués. I purchased a set of round stickers to assist in placement and applied them to the net, forming groups of stickers to approximate the size of the appliqués. I used more basting threads as guidelines to get the stickers placed properly.


Of course, what you can’t see in the photo is that the stickers didn’t stick all that well to the net and were constantly falling off, driving me insane. I ended up having to pin the appliqués on and then shift them repeatedly, so the stickers were basically a failed experiment. Oh well.

The next issue arose when I realized that my largest-sized appliqués were just too big– I’d estimated the diameter from the movie photos before purchasing the trim, but I must have mis-measured or something because they just didn’t look right when I pinned them to the dress. I ended up omitting them entirely and using my medium-sized appliqués as the largest size, my smallest-sized appliqués as the new medium, and then creating a new type of small appliqué by stitching four (or in some cases three) of the tiny flowers together in a clump. Not perfect, but pretty decent-looking.

It took a lot of fussing to get the appliqués placed and stitched down, and they still aren’t perfectly aligned along the curves, but I’m hoping that after I add the sequins to fill in the blank areas it’ll look better overall. Here’s what I’ve got so far:


I realized at this point that I needed some additional kinds of appliqués to use for the leafy/flowery motifs in the center panel and the back. I put in an order online, but it’s going to take a while for them to arrive, so for now I’m moving on to the next steps in embellishment.

So what do you think? Is the dress starting to resemble the original yet?






4 thoughts on “My Fair Lady Ballgown, Part V: Appliques and Trim

  1. Pingback: My Fair Lady Ballgown, Part X: Final Photos! | It's All Frosting...

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s