A Lace Dress for a Non-Lace Girl

Hi, all! I hope you guys have enjoyed the lace project posts this month as much as I have! Now, it’s probably pretty apparent that I’m not much of a lace girl, so my goal with this challenge was to make a garment that I would actually wear and love. I decided to avoid anything overtly floral or feminine, and with this in mind dug through a gazillion bolts of fancy lace (inadvertently missing an entire section of what I guess is “not fancy” lace, whoops!). I settled on this gold mesh-like poly lace:

Bown Lace Dress

Pretty cool, right? I decided to pair it with a black cotton sateen. Dude. There is TONS of cotton sateen at Mood Fabrics (and tons online, too!), so I was having a hard time deciding which to choose when Michael pulled out the perfect bolt. Moral of the story: talk to the folks at your fabric store!  They know their stuff!  I had no idea that humble, inexpensive cotton sateen could feel so luxe! It’s medium-weight and has an amazing sheen and body… I could hardly bring myself to cover it with the lace! But I did.. and here’s how it turned out!

Bown Lace Dress

I used the Belladone pattern from Deer & Doe (which I’m now MADLY in love with). The pattern suggests using a soft, drapey fabric, but I thought it would be fun to see the pleats in a more structured fabric. I think it worked out pretty well!

Since the lace is pretty stretchy, I basted each piece to the sateen underlining by hand and pulled the lace just the teensiest bit taut as I pinned it. I basted the layers together up the middle of each dart (like I always do when I underline fabric). The poly lace couldn’t handle a ton of heat when I was pressing it, so it’s a little baggy in places and I really had to work to get the darts to lay flat. I decided not to line it A) because the dress was already pretty heavy for a sleeveless dress with a back cutout and B) because I’m in love with the sateen and wanted to feel it against my skin. I just serged the seams, which worked really well… until I caught a wee bit of the bodice in the serger and cut a hole right at the, um, apex, of the bust… sigh… I had to tons of hand stitching to repair that screw-up. It’s not invisible now, but it’s not immediately apparent.

Bown Lace Dress

Pockets!

The neckline and armscyes are finished with handmade bias binding. Cotton sateen is pretty heavy for bias tape, so if you want to use medium-weight fabric, you have to really grade the seam allowances to reduce as much bulk as possible. I made the waistband out of just the sateen to

The only thing I’m unhappy with is the hem. I stitched a machine hem, thinking that it would make the dress look a bit more casual, but I don’t think the stretchy lace played well with the feed dogs so there’s some twisting and such around the hem. I’ll probably rip it out and do a blind hem by hand.

Bown Lace Dress

Overall I’m pleased! The color is a bit more drab than what I usually wear, so I was nervous as I was constructing the dress that I was going to hate it. But luckily I really like it!– it just feels so fancy and fun! I love the way the skirt hangs in a full-bodied fabric– I felt like a Parisian princess when I slipped the dress on (and not like someone who’d spent the better part of the afternoon cleaning up after a sick dog!). Maybe I cheated a little by not choosing a really lacy lace, but I’m still going to count this as a successful lace project. 🙂

How do you guys feel about lace? Like, love, hate? What are your tips for sewing with lace? I’m especially interested to hear if anyone has any tips for sewing lace with a bit of stretch!

Bown Lace Dress

31

Comments


  • Kacie
    March 25, 2013

    I love this dress! I saw this pattern for the first time a week or so ago and I can’t wait to get my paws on it. Your fabric choices are perfect, and I love that you used contrasting bias binding. Successful lace project indeed!

    • Ginger
      March 26, 2013

      Thanks, Kacie! It’s a fun pattern to choose fabric and bindings for! I’m sure it would look great in lots of different kinds of fabrics!

  • Rachel Haggerty
    March 25, 2013

    Not cheatig at all! It IS lace…. And I love seeing each person’s interpretation of challenges. Keep it up!

    • Ginger
      March 26, 2013

      It is fun, isn’t it? Who knew that there were so many different kinds of laces and ways to use them?

  • Carolyn
    March 25, 2013

    This is so pretty! You did a great job with this!

    • Ginger
      March 26, 2013

      Thanks, Carolyn! It’s not as fun as yours, but I learned so much from your construction posts that I feel pumped up and ready for my next go-round with lace!

  • Sarah Gunn
    March 25, 2013

    This is a great dress! The pattern is adorable with the unexpected back opening. Great job!

    • Ginger
      March 26, 2013

      Thanks, Sarah! This would look really cute on you and/or your girls!

  • Lauren
    March 25, 2013

    Ah, I love how this turned out!! That back cut-out is so freaking awesome, and the gold looks beautiful paired over the black. Awesome job, yo!

    • Ginger
      March 26, 2013

      Thanks, gal! Party in the back, dude!

  • Lori
    March 25, 2013

    Perfect lace for this darling dress. Great job, Ginger.

    • Ginger
      March 26, 2013

      Thanks, Lori! 🙂

  • Sue
    March 25, 2013

    Girl, this is TOO cute! I love the idea of layering the mesh-y lace over cotton sateen. Turned out great!

    • Ginger
      March 27, 2013

      Thanks, Sue! I bet this would be cute in a softer, drapier fabric, too. Rayon challis, maybe?

  • KristiEllKay
    March 25, 2013

    What’s blowing my mind about all these lace makes is that I’m now seeing what I would normally consider “plain” lace (is that an oxymoron?) in beautiful creations, when my eyes used to just skip right over it. I never really thought about how pretty and feminine even the non-flowery laces could look. Great job!!

    • Ginger
      March 27, 2013

      Thank you, Kristi!

  • gMarie
    March 26, 2013

    This is stunning. It’s a great dress. I love that you left the waistband without the lace. g

    • Ginger
      March 27, 2013

      Thank you so much! I’m always trying to create the illusion of a waist when I’m really pretty rectangular. 🙂

  • Karin
    March 26, 2013

    beautiful! great work!

    • Ginger
      March 27, 2013

      Thanks, Karin!

  • toy
    March 26, 2013

    Very cute, I love the trim for the neckline and armholes and the back, very flattering on you.

    • Ginger
      March 27, 2013

      Thank you! I love using bias trim… well, I don’t love applying it, but I love how it looks. It’s always fun to add a bit of a contrast with it.

  • Susan
    March 26, 2013

    Love your Belladone and would you believe I had the same serger mishap (right bust) when I foolishly stood while serging the waist seam last weekend?! I’m still wearing mine this Sunday and with a little Stich Witchery it’s not too obvious.

    • Ginger
      March 27, 2013

      Aww, man, isn’t it the WORST feeling when you realize you’ve done that? Ugh! Glad you were able to get yours fixed, too!

  • crystalpleats
    March 28, 2013

    The dress turned out great! I love the pairing of fabric and pattern.

    • Ginger
      March 28, 2013

      Thanks, Crystal!

  • Kay
    March 28, 2013

    You have the cutest smile ever! I like the dress alot, but I love dark, subdued colors.

    • Ginger
      March 28, 2013

      Thanks, Kay! You’re too sweet! It’s fun to wear something more sophisticated from time to time. 🙂

  • Amy
    March 29, 2013

    For not liking lace, you made quite a cute dress. I love the back cut out!

    • Ginger
      April 2, 2013

      Thanks, Amy! I’m surprised by how much I like this dress!

  • anne jewell
    April 18, 2013

    i love the mesh lace–usually i don’t care for allover lace fabric but i ‘m impressed with the elegance of your make.