The Prince is Giving a Ball: Pink Dotted Swiss

This upcycle was another project that was happening in the last few days before the show.  I always like to arrange my mental calendar so that I have a pocket of “free” time where I can fix costumes that either don’t fit the cast member, or just don’t fit in with the other costumes.   This is one of the reasons to have your costume preview/costume parade a week or so before dress rehearsal.   This next project was a case of “one of these things is not like the other”.

The base dress was a vintage pale pink dotted swiss dress:

It is a lovely dress with a very full skirt (and a few stains).  When we were originally pulling costumes it seemed like it would be a perfectly acceptable Ball gown.  However, in the meantime, as we had donations coming in, the Ball gowns became a little more elaborate and some of the original dresses we had assigned were replaced by fancier ones.  This one wasn’t.  It stood out not only because of the type of fabric, but also the style and simplicity.

I happened to have an old costume that someone had donated when they knew we were doing “Cinderella”.  It came from a garage sale for $1, and oddly enough, had the sleeves cut out of it, and a general “costumy” look.  However, it had a number of things going for it including the silver lacing and tulle overskirt.  It also had a very stretchy bodice and so easily slipped over the base dress.

old donated costume over dress

The first thing I did was slit the pink satin underskirt and pull it to the sides.

front of costume dress slit

Next I selected a fabric to use to make the sleeves and to extend the bottom of the overskirt.  I had a piece of pale pink organza with a swirly silver glitter print that I had purchased on clearance from JoAnn’s.

I made very puffy sleeves–note that I cut the sleeve taller and wider than my already-puffy pattern.

cutting out the sleeves.

I attached them to a lower band that I made from silver confetti dot fabric covered in the organza.

sewing the sleeve to the sleeve band

These sleeves were inserted into the commercial costume.  The sleeve ruffles on the underdress served to help poof them.


The bottom layer of the tulle on the dress had a row of silver iridescent stitching that was actually quite pretty.  This was a very simple, yet effective, way to finish this edge.

silver on edge of tulle

I cut the remaining organza into strips:

cutting out the bottom strips

And stitched it to the bottom of the tulle, adding a row of lace to the seam, and a row of sequins at the bottom.

view of lower skirt

The finished dress:


In the Show:



At the Ball

I was really pleased with how his dress turned out.  I was able to use a donation–which I love to do.  I was also able to preserve the dotted swiss base dress, which is a great style to have in stock for other shows as I can see it working well in “Oklahoma!”, and even “Music Man” just off the top of my head.

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