This Woman Created A Dress For A Ball, But When She Spins Her Transformation Blows People’s Minds

As soon as Ivy Thompson heard about a masquerade ball taking place in Seattle, Washington, she immediately saw the gown she wanted to wear. The concept was as fanciful as the Cinderella-style dress that inspired it. But when everyone saw the fairy-tale transformation, it completely blew their minds.

Like the fairy tales that sometimes inspire Thompson, she lives a somewhat double life. When describing herself, she claims that she is an “English teacher by day, seamstress by night”. Indeed, her Instagram account is a magical portal into her secret sewing world.

Thompson’s Instagram page is full of wonderful, self-made garments. She creates everything from jumpsuits and skater dresses to basic work-wear for the classroom. The teacher even managed a wardrobe’s worth of vintage-inspired clothing for her honeymoon in the most romantic of cities, Paris.

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As Thompson described in an Instagram post in December 2017, “The best thing about sewing is having everything be exactly what you wanted.” Indeed, as every woman knows, finding clothes you love in the precise length and fit, and with the perfect detail can be a nightmare.

But aside from Thompson love for sewing, her Instagram also showcases the streamstress’ passion for costume design. From Bavarian dirndl dresses for Oktoberfest to octopus-inspired Halloween costumes, there seems to be little that the English teacher can’t make with a needle, thread and a whole lot of imagination.

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And imagination and creativity appear to be Thompson’s forte. In fact, her hand-made garments are often inspired by the Japanese and Victorian eras, as well as the Edwardian-influenced Lolita trend. But there’s another theme that has sometimes fed into the seamstress’ inventiveness: Disney.

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Indeed, when Thompson heard about a masquerade ball taking place near her home in Seattle, WA, she knew she had to go. And what’s more, she knew exactly the gown she wanted to wear. Inspired by a Disney production she had seen, the teacher wanted to recreate the gown for herself.

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In fact, perhaps the most surprising aspect of Thompson’s ambition, however, is that, as a seamstress, she is entirely self-taught. She first began to explore her passion as a hobby through skills imparted by her mom and grandmother. Since then, however, her talent, and vision, has grown.

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But it’s that self-taught premise that made Thompson’s ambitious concept all the more challenging. Despite her complex and elaborate designs in the past, she had never attempted anything like this before. But, with the masquerade ball approaching, the teacher knew she at least had to give it a try.

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The concept of the gown’s design came from a production of Cinderella Thompson had seen. In fact, it was not unlike a dress inspired by another Disney production, Beauty And The Beast. And in each instance the transformation wasn’t limited to the character that wore the costume.

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Thompson’s idea was to create a pattern that in one seamless motion would transform from a Victorian-style gown into a strapless butterfly dress. She wrote in her personal blog in March 2017, “I’ve made a ballgown before, but that was a piece of cake compared to this dress.”

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Indeed, Thompson’s one previous attempt at a ballgown was inspired by another Disney character. In 2015, the English teacher attended a Halloween party dressed as Ariel from The Little Mermaid. At the time it was the most ambitious costume she had ever made. But her new idea pushed her skills even further.

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“I initially thought I’d just do the butterfly gown,” Thompson explained to the Sewing Magic blog in 2017. “But then I saw these amazing transformation gowns, and I wanted to push myself to do something I wouldn’t normally do.” So, the seamstress set to work in devising a method to transition the two looks.

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As Thompson described to news site Insider in March 2017, “The most difficult part about getting this gown from concept to reality was figuring out how to do the transformation in one smooth motion.” At the very least, the seamstress had the foundation of the costume and experience from her previous effort.

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Then, after a whole lot of pinning and stitching, Thompson nailed it. The teacher explained, “At the front it’s a snap panel, and in the back it’s a series of laces. So, by connecting the lacing to the snap panel, I can pull the cord in the front and both the lacing and the snap panel come undone at the same time.”

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The costume was made in honor of the Venice Is Sinking event, an annual charity gala to raise money for local non-profits in Seattle. A period-themed ball, entertainment ranges from musical performances, to dancing and circus acts. But Thompson had her eye on one particular prize.

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Guests attend the event wearing their own homemade attire in an elaborate Venetian style. Prizes are awarded for the best male and female costumes at the ball. And although Thompson didn’t win in 2017, it didn’t dampen her enthusiasm for trying again the following year.

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By January 2018, Thompson had already started work on her gown for the next edition of Venice Is Sinking. And it appeared her ambitions and skills had grown even further. The English teacher was working hard on her costume, so she could take part in what she described in an Instagram post as “my favorite part of the event.”

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Thompson’s 2018 design was based on a cake theme. Taking almost four months to complete, the gown was made in white and pink satin and featured a full skirt with lots of frills and ruffles. And to top off the dessert-look, she even wore a cherry headpiece.

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Thompson’s passion for costume making shows no sign of letting up. For the Luminata Lantern Festival in September 2018, in fact, the seamstress created a “star dress” with around 600 lights sewn into the fabric. In an Instagram post showcasing the dress she said, “I felt so incredibly beautiful. It’s really fun to talk to all the kids about whether I’m really a princess.”

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