It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bookish girl must be in possession of a free Thursday night want of a ball. And if she sees an Instagram ad for a Bridgerton ball taking place in her city, she must text her Bridgerton-minded friends a link asking, “WILL YOU GO WITH ME???”

By a few days, a few text conversations, and more than a few dollars later, I was officially going to the Diamond Ball with my friends Meghann, Kirsten, and Claudia. Then three of us decided that we were going to make our dresses for what Kirsten called our “friendship project.”

Now, as much as I’ve tried, I can hardly call myself a seamstress. I tried to make dresses one summer, but I mostly massacred innocent bed sheets and learned what not to do. Nevertheless, undeterred by my history, I decided to give it my best shot in the name of our friendship project.

The first sewing session, I went over to Kirsten and Claudia’s apartment. While I cut out my pattern pieces, they showed me their fabrics. Kirsten chose a cobalt blue satin with a sage green belt, and Claudia had a lavender, floral lace over a white cotton lining.

I stared in awe as I looked at my uncut satin and I knew one thing for certain: my dress had to be perfect if I was going to keep up with my friends, and I refused to be underdressed. Not for the Bridgerton ball.

I finished cutting the fabric pieces at home, and I set a goal for myself for the second session. By the end of the day, I would have a fully sewn bodice. I told this to Kirsten when I walked a week later, and she said, “Wow, that’s ambitious. The pattern instructions aren’t helpful, and the bodice is weirdly complicated.”

Well, that’s too bad.

Claudia’s sewing machine had a busted foot, which made the notoriously finicky satin even more difficult to work with. No matter how hard I tried, every seam looked mangled. I decided to focus on the sections that weren’t supposed to lay flat anyways and use my machine at home for the rest.

By the end of the night, Claudia had finished almost all of her dress, and Kirsten had a hemmed bodice and a finished skirt. I know that not everything is a race, but my goodness I was losing.

Meanwhile, Meghann’s dress arrived in the mail, and she sent me a picture. She bought a gold off-the-shoulder, corseted ball gown with sequined stars on the ruched skirt. She looked absolutely perfect. I wondered if it was too late to order something online.

Once I was working on my own machine, I worked a little faster. By the next week, I had most of a bodice and the beginnings of a skirt. The seams lay fairly flat, and the stitches were fairly straightforward. The main problem became time. When talking to my parents, I joked to my boyfriend that date night might be him watching me sew. He said, “That actually sounds sick.” So the next Tuesday, he watched X-Men 97 while I attached the skirt to the bodice.

I tried on the shell of the dress, and my heart dropped. I looked like an old lady.

“Oh no,” I said.

My boyfriend paused the TV. “What do you mean?”

I almost broke into tears. “I look like Lady Featherington when I wanted to be Daphne!”

“No, you don’t look like Lady…um…you look amazing!”

He hasn’t seen Bridgerton.

He held and consoled me, saying that it would look better once it had sleeves, a zipper, and a hem, and I already looked stunning. I tried not to cry.

“Do you want to order something on Amazon?” he asked.

I steeled myself. “No, I’m in too deep.” And I set back to work.

Confused by my sudden change in demeanor, my boyfriend said I looked beautiful one last time and went back to the more predictable Wolverine.

Two days, three attempts at making sleeves, and countless seams later, I had an almost finished dress. The ball was in about three hours, and I just finished the hem.

I carefully set down the dress and set off to do my hair and makeup, avoiding mirrors until I could see the full look. I set to work with my smallest curling iron and beauty blender.

With the final touches of my new tiara and white gloves, I put on the dress and looked in the mirror. It was perfect. I felt like a beautiful freaking princess.

The ball itself was wonderful. Everyone was dressed up, including the men in Napoleonic jackets. My friends glowed in their finest attire. We laughed the night away in our ball gowns, twirling to Vitamin String Quartet covers and dancing in our wildest fantasies. Even if none of us were named the diamond, we felt nothing less than radiant.

1 Comment

  1. Hannah McNulty

    Oooh, I’m so jealous! Never read/watched Bridgerton, but so many people I know wish there were more opportunities to wear an evening gown and go to a ball. Those regency style dances where you all walk in circles look fun, too.


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