I've always loved the idea of a masquerade party. Not only would I get to wear a fun, fancy dress, but I could go all out, impersonate an animal or something, and look slightly ridiculous... and it would be okay! :)
Last year our family hosted a Titanic Ball, and we had SO much fun with it, we decided that we needed to do it again. We could have done a Titanic theme again, but I really wanted something different, so we settled on doing a Masquerade Ball.
New Theme means New Dress... at least as far as I'm concerned! :)
I had so many ideas swimming in my head... I really wanted to do a swan after seeing Mirror Mirror, but that would be a TON of fabric and the head-piece is so elaborate, it was just a little too over the top. And besides, I didn't want to look like a a bride by being in all white. :)
After about five other ideas, I decided on a Violet-Green Swallow.
I really wanted to make this without spending too much money on it. After Williamsburg, I didn't feel like I could justify getting more fabric. So I went to my stash fabric and pulled out my green silk that I've had tucked away for a regency dress for a long time. I had got the silk at Joann in the clearance fabric, and knew I wanted to make a bib-front regency with it, after watching the 1995 Sense and Sensibility and seeing Marianne's ball gown. I made the dress the exact same as my red-flowered regency dress.
The underskirt is made of some dreadful polyester taffeta junk that we bought online years ago. It's like... plastic. Blah. But it served it's purpose! I used Simplicity's regency pattern skirt pieces for the underskirt, and just added some straps to hold it up. I then sewed 35 chiffon ruffles to the back (the chiffon was left over from a over dress I helped my friend make for our last ball), clipped them into sharp points (my basement floor was a mess after that!), and it worked out perfectly to be the tail of the bird. This piece was not at all up to my normal standards... every last inch is machine stitched (except the hook and eye closure), 100% polyester, and the ruffles were not very evenly cut.
For the collar, I took my regency pattern front and drafted up a chemisette, and then made it out of buckram so it would sort of stand up. The feather-y part I just sliced like crazy, and paid no attention to measuring and detail. It's supposed to look rustic and irregular, right?? ;)
The necklace was easy. It is made of ribbon and a charm I found at Hobby Lobby, and a picture of a Violet-Green Swallow glued into it. It was really weird... I just wanted a locket-like charm to put the picture in, and I couldn't find it in all of Hobby Lobby... you know... that store that has everything and more than you could possibly want? :) So I got this piece and flipped it backwards and it worked perfectly. It really is supposed to say "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me". :)
And finally, you can't go to a masquerade ball without a mask! :) I made my mask out of puffy paint, tulle and plastic wrap, using a tutorial I found on (you guessed it!) Pinterest. I glued some feathers to the side of it, made a little fabric flower out of the green silk and put a glittery button I had in stash in the middle. I really liked the puffy paint mask because it molds to your face, rather than being stiff. The only thing I'll say about it though, is that tutorial says the plastic wrap will peel off... it doesn't.
Friends lined up to dance - I loved seeing the diversity of outfits - regency, modern formal, 1912 era, medieval, it was all there! We even had quite a few tuxes from the guys!
Photo Credit: Wendy Hill
Is this not the PERFECT setting for a dance?? It is a beautiful barn that has been finished (as we say it - a "rich person's barn"), and it is just a few miles away from where we live! Perfection at it's best! :)
Photo Credit: Gail Merry
No, I'm NOT singing a solo here, though it looks like I am.
Photo Credit: Wendy Hill
I had booked a caller for our dance back in April, and then never heard back from him after he had confirmed that the date was available. I didn't really worry until about 2 days before the ball - I knew he was going on vacation the week before, so I just figured he was a little behind schedule from that. Well, the day before the ball came, and still no word, so I started to panic and made up a list of dances with instructions just in case I had to call myself. A friend of mine let me borrow some music for the dances (thanks Emily!!!), which I managed to get together and on my iPod approx. 3 hours before the ball was supposed to start. Needless to say, I was really really stressed the day of the ball!
As I had supposed, my caller didn't show, so I had to call the dance. It went pretty well - not as fun as dancing, but I was surprised that I did actually enjoy calling a little! And my sister stepped in to call one dance for me, and after I had taught a couple of them, we did them again so I could do it, so I still did get to dance. :) Which was really fun. :)
The Spanish Waltz
Photo Credit: Sherry Pollock
Grace and me getting our traditional photo. :)
Photo Credit: Emil Bandy
The Dressed Ship
Photo Credit: Wendy Hill
All in all it was an utterly fabulous evening! And I've officially decided that Masquerade is one of the most awesome themes to do! :)