Tuesday, January 23, 2018

title pic The “White Christmas” Red Ballgown Costume

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on December 18, 2017

For nearly every year since 2012, I have endeavored to recreate a costume from a classic Christmas movie and share it with you all here.  In 2012 I recreated the blue “Sisters” dress (and now sell a similar style on my website), and ever since I have been bombarded with requests to make the red ballgown worn by Rosemary Clooney in the finale of the film.  For whatever reason it took a few years for me to feel like it was the right year to sew it, but I’m happy to report that I have recreated it and I’m ready to share it here, just in time for Christmas! (The images don’t show up full size in this post, but if you click on them you can see a larger view.)


This is actually the second version of the costume I made – the first one is currently under a Christmas tree somewhere for an unsuspecting lady whose daughter commissioned me to sew one for her, and I loved the first gown so much that I knew I needed to make one for myself after I shipped off the package to my customer!


I patterned this version after the gown that Rosemary Clooney wore in the final “White Christmas” scene.  It was a rare instance where I thought Rosemary’s (“Betty’s”) costume was more flattering than Vera Ellen’s (“Judy’s”).  It has a tiny shawl collar, fitted bodice, gigantic satin skirt, and yards of white fur trim.


It feels magnificent to wear!  The weight of the skirt is quite heavy, and it has a lovely “swish” when you walk.


Unfortunately the sequin embroidery isn’t as obvious on camera as it is in person, but there are almost snowflake shaped motifs of sequins which I embroidered underneath each shoulder.



This project crossed over from strictly sewing project into the “craft” category when I needed to make the silver leaf and red berry accessories for the bodice and the headpiece.  I had never done anything exactly like it before, but it came together fairly easily and I loved how it turned out!



The white fur trim was carefully placed and stitched – it is quite bulky so it requires slower sewing.



I set my hair for these pictures using a new hair product I purchased from VintageHairstyling.com, which is the ultimate place to learn about recreating authentic retro looks from the 40s and 50s.  I own both of Lauren’s books (Vintage Hairstyling and Retro Makeup), and they are amazing!  You can see some of the other vintage makeup and face projects I used over on my Instagram page, which is the best place to follow along with all my sewing projects.

Whenever I wear a dress like this, it almost makes me wish I had lived back in the 50s…  But since we live in the 21st century and there’s not a lot we can do about it, I think we should do our part to keep the spirit of classy dressing and polite manners alive and well.  The ladies I watch on old classic films are such an inspiration to me, and I think there’s nothing that says we can’t be just a little more proper and fastidious with our dressing if we wish to.


Thank you to everyone for following along with my costumes, and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Hannukah!  (I celebrate both. 😉 )

All the best,

Katrina Holte

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P.S. Thank you to my awesome husband for taking these pictures for me! <3