Wednesday, July 22, 2009

BWOF 02-2009-124, Lace Dress

Thumbnail

I love all things girly and ladylike so I was thrilled when lace came in style last year. I found this lace at Jomar in Philly when we had a mini-PR weekend last November. I don't remember exactly how much I paid for it, but somewhere in the neighborhood of $3/yd.

When I bought it, I was very influenced by Claudine's lace dress, which, as with everything she makes, is very classy and sophisticated. So I was thinking classy and sophisticated with a flesh-tone underlining. At some point, someone recommended I underline it with hot pink. I had to let go of the idea of myself as classy and sophisticated (which I'm really not) and embrace the true me, lover of hot pink. I think this turned out to be the right choice; I love hot pink, I think it really sets off the lace, *and* it makes the dress suitable for day. I wore it to work yesterday with a jacket and it did not seem outrageous.

The underlining is a polyester of some kind purchased as a lot from a vintage store several years ago for around $3/yd. This is a pretty fancy dress for under $20!

Now, I have something shocking to reveal. Prepare yourself for...

Muslin

a muslin! The smallest size this BWOF 02-2009-124 comes in is a 38, so I had to size down two sizes to a 34 at the bodice. I am confident sizing down one size, but two sizes is twice as difficult. Also, I was concerned about the length of the bodice. It's not empire nor is it at natural waist, and I thought that midlength might really emphasize my flat chest. I wanted to make sure I didn't need to shorten it to an empire line.

It turned out that the lines were fine, but I was glad I had muslined nonetheless because the neckline was icky high (with a flat chest I find it more flattering to have a lower neckline, otherwise there is a long flat expanse of fabric above the bust that is just not attractive), it was so wide it was falling off my shoulders, and I needed the world's largest swayback adjustment.

Bodice Front

I had already narrowed the front bust dart for an SBA, and that was good. After the muslin, I made the front neckline into a V to match the back neckline and lowered it a couple inches (I think I ended up going even lower than shown on the altered pattern piece). However, I also needed to narrow the neckline opening to keep the dress from falling off my shoulders and ensure it covered my bra straps.

Bodice Back


Next I tackled the back bodice. I again narrowed it at the shoulders. I also ended up raising the back neckline an inch because I was concerned it might creep below the bra band as drafted (I did not cut off the seam allowances at the neckline on the muslin, so it the back is 1/2" higher than the finished product would have been).



Swayback Adjustment


Finally, I took a giant swayback adjustment tuck (around two inches!!!!) in the skirt back. I also redrew the lower dart point and added length back into the skirt (not shown).



Once all this was done everything was pretty simple. Projects with only four pattern pieces go together quickly! I guess it had been a while since I had done a standard dress with bodice, skirt, and nothing else.

I assembled the underlining and the lace overlay completely separately. I did all the construction on the lace with the serger, including the darts, as the seams were all going to show. I like the way this looks in the end result, because it emphasizes the lines and the darts.

Neckline FinishOnce both were completed, I joined the two pieces at the neckline, stitching along one fold of some double fold bias tape. I turned the bias tape to the inside and stitched by hand only to the underlining.

You can also see how I did the sleeve hems in that photo--turned the lace to the inside and stitched to the underlining hem allowance.

Side


The only thing I'm not happy about with this dress is the zipper (though the side view shows how well the swayback adjustment worked!). I considered sewing the lace and underlining as one to the zipper, but decided this would be too complicated at the bottom of the zipper as I wouldn't have wanted the lace to be caught up in the seam all the way to the hem. So I put the zip only into the underlining, and then pressed under the seam allowance of the lace and sewed it down by hand. I think what I need to do is undo alllllll that hand sewing (ugh!) and trim off the seam allowances. The lace is not going to ravel, and while the zip is never going to appear seamless and perfect there, I think the double layer of lace is what is making it look so noticeable and bride-of-Frankenstein-y there. And then hand-sew it again, of course.

I wanted to use the finished selvage of the lace for the hem. Since I hadn't muslined the full length of the dress I had to make a guess at the exact length. I definitely did not want the dress to end up too long, and I ended up erring a tad shorter than I would have normally chosen. To me, it feels extremely short while I'm wearing it. But looking at the photos it does not look short at all; it is merely above the knee. It's so funny that above the knee feels so scandalous to me now, considering the short skirts I loved in my 20s.

All photos are here and the review is here.

33 comments:

Gail said...

I admire your perseverence with the muslins. the finished product is very nice.

Trudy Callan said...

That is very lovely. You did such a wonderful job, and you look fabulous.

Sewfast said...

Very beautiful...I forgot about that dress...thanks for bringing it back into focus...better go dig through the stack of BWOFs!

Cindy said...

Looking good. I like the pattern but needed to tweak it too!

Shannon said...

All your hard work paid off - great dress!

eword10 said...

Wow! That dress is gorgeous! I love it. Especially the hot pink underlining. Very impressed with your muslining too. Now when are you going to use the silk jersey? ;)

Dana said...

Nice dress - it really looks nice on you. Great job fitting!

Claudine said...

Great dress! I love the hot pink. I actually considered hot pink for under my dress, as well. And yes, you are classy and sophisticated. It's nice that you could wear it to work.

Thanks for linking to me!

Anonymous said...

I was hoping to see this dress made up! I really like the v neck you opted for. Thanks again for the tracing paper info!

Lindsay T said...

I am just loving this dress on everyone who makes it. I think this is a very flattering style on you and can see it working in a number of different fabrics.

Sara said...

The dress looks great! And the above-the-knee thing comes from living in DC. This area is very, shall we say, demure.

Tiger Feet said...

Funny - my muslin was a horrific sway-back, too-big everywhere mess, but I think the final dress will be nice.

Love your front neckline - so much more flattering! And you look very retro-chic, has a definate 60s vibe that works nicely.

WEll done!

C

Uta said...

Very cute dress. And the hot pink is so "you"! I may need to shamelessly imitate and make a lace dress next fall.

Faye Lewis said...

That lace dress is just lovely!

Lisa said...

Good color! Nice dress. It is always fun to see what you have made.

Carol said...

This is a really pretty dress. I had overlooked it in the magazine, but made up on real person it's a great style. I think I'll have to add this to the never ending list of things to sew for summer!

Sew4Fun said...

Lovely dress! I especially like how you underlined with hot pink. Perfect! I never have been a fan of underlining black with skin tone fabric.

AllisonC said...

Yikes good job you made a muslin! This is one of the few patterns that fit me right out of the "envelope" so to speak which goes to show how different we all are and why fitting for your own shape is such a crucial part of sewing. Your dress turned out gorgeous, I really love the lace and hot pink combo!

Vicki said...

Too cute! Good work with all the alterations.

senaSews said...

I'm glad you've choosen the pink lining. It looks oooh-so-great!

Lisette M said...

Great looking dress. I would redo the zipper so that there is nothing about this dress that you are not happy with. I'm working on the same pattern right now.

Little Hunting Creek said...

Wow - this is beautiful! I'm glad you went with hot pink. Beige is tasteful but pink is better, and it looks great on you.

Katharine in Brussels said...

Another gem for happy hour, you look great in it.

~ Kimberlee B ~ said...

You did wonders with it and the fabric is so interesting!

Amy said...

Gorgeous! I love hot pink too :)

Adelaide B said...

This is really cute!

Christina said...

Oh wow, the muslin was totally worth it! I love how this turned out, I'm so intrigued by the lace.

ClaireOKC said...

This looks fantastic, although, like you, I think I would have sewed the backing to the lace, and then sewn the zip in....you slit the seam at the bottom of the zip and then allow the hem of the lace to be free from the zip (does that make sense) - at least this is what I do when I do layered fabrics for my formal dresses- like chiffon & organza. It looks better and hangs right. Otherwise I tend to have a neurosis trying to get the flaming foldlines of both the backing and the lace just exactly right.

I need to make this dress up for an event and love seeing it made up. Now I need to find the right fabric for this!

Great job

Karen said...

First of all, FABULOUS dress. Second, congrats on using the lace before its first birthday. Now you have to come back and buy more!

sewducky said...

This is a very beautiful piece. I love the color, and you did a wonderful job on it.

L said...

This is gorgeous!

geek sewing said...

Lovely dress!

You've been inspiring me with your fabric choices. So today, I bought lace.

Sharon said...

That is a really gorgeous dress and it's not short at all. I think you did an excellent job and have fun traveling!