A Lacy Knockout Dress for Valentine’s Day

As much as I’m not really one for ~celebrating~ Valentine’s Day (I’ll take the flowers and the steak dinner, though, thanks!), I *love* the excuse it gives me to make a new dress specially for going out. Last year I wore red lace, this year I decided to go with… lace again. Except this time, I thought I’d ramp up the knockout factor with some black lace and a form-fitting shape.

Lace slip dress made with Anna Sui lace from Mood Fabrics and By Hand London Georgia dress pattern.

I’m really loving the combination of emerald green paired with black lace, so as soon I saw this Anna Sui black stretch lace on Mood Fabric’s website, I knew I had found my match. Each piece is underlined with cotton sateen, which gives the lace some body and heft and makes it a good weight for such a form-fitting dress.

I love underlining and the effect it gives – especially when working with lace – but this dress about did me in with all the prep work. I had decided to make use of the beautiful scallop border on my lace, which meant I had to very carefully cut each panel piece for the skirt to ensure that the scallops were even and uninterrupted all the way around the hem. I didn’t bother with matching the lace at the seam lines (mostly because I was afraid I’d die of stress if I tried, haha), but it turned out that getting the scallops to match up meant that the lace motif also mostly matched across the seamlines. YAY. I love it when things work out in my favor!

Lace slip dress made with Anna Sui lace from Mood Fabrics and By Hand London Georgia dress pattern.

To keep the lace from shifting around (and thus ruining my hard work of matching up the scallops), I underlined each piece by hand with silk thread, keeping it flat on the table while I worked. After I sewed the pieces together, I removed the basting threads and serged each edge independently so I could press the seams open. Although this lace is polyester, I had no trouble with steaming it into submission. It really was a delight to work with!

Georgia dress - stabilizing neckline
Georgia dress

To keep the bodice from gaping, I eased twill tape into the seam allowance, which pulls the top of the cups in toward the body and keeps them there. No gaping, no stretching – just a beautiful, fitted cup!

Georgia dress

The straps gave me their own special circle of hell – I knew I wanted them to be completely covered in lace, but the traditional method of making straps (sewing a tube and turning it right side out) was too bulky with all the fabrics I had going on. After some thinking, I treated the straps the same way one makes belt loops – by finishing one edge, folding the straps into thirds (with the finished edge on the top) and then slipstitching everything together. I love my finished straps, and they feel very secure despite the fact that they are made of stretch fabric.

The only bummer about this dress is the bodice size – as you can see in these pictures, it’s quite a bit small! It’s not nearly as noticeable in real life as it is in these pictures, thanks to the lace, but it is driving me crazy nonetheless. Next time I make this pattern, I will definitely be giving those bust cups a nice big adjustment.

Lace slip dress made with Anna Sui lace from Mood Fabrics and By Hand London Georgia dress pattern.

I used the Georgia dress pattern to make this number. The shape of this pattern really reminds me of some of those slip dresses we used to wear in the ’90s, which is why I decided to wear it with my chunky mary janes and my bright orange hair. Ok ok, the orange hair is a transition color – next time you see me, it’ll (hopefully!) look totally different. ;)

Lace slip dress made with Anna Sui lace from Mood Fabrics and By Hand London Georgia dress pattern.

Finally, here we are on Valentine’s Day, post-dinner. That’s my smug full-of-wine smile, fyi ;)

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Comments


  • oonaballoona
    February 18, 2014

    oh. mah. GAH.

    i just. I CAN’T. and your hair goes perfectly with this hue, i know it’s gonna change, but for real. TOTAL ENSEMBLE SWOON.

    • Lauren
      February 18, 2014

      What’s funny is that I was going crazy trying to get it dyed before v-day because I thought the blue/green would go sooo much better with the emerald… and maybe it would, but I love the orange and I’m not gonna apologize for it!

  • Heather Lou
    February 18, 2014

    Green and black lace Georgia? Girl, I like the way you move. I mean, the way you think. I’m getting all confused because of the romantic holiday. Do you normally have to do a FBA? This lady fit me right outta the package.

    • Lauren
      February 18, 2014

      I seriously haven’t needed to do a FBA in a long time, so I was a little surprised! I mean, I probably still should – my underbust is like 5″ smaller than my full bust measurement – but I guess since I don’t normally make such form-fitting boobie tops, I’ve been able to get away with it before now.

  • Amanda S.
    February 18, 2014

    Awesomeness! Love the color combo and that solid green strip at the bottom!

    • Lauren
      February 18, 2014

      Emerald green with black lace is one of my new favorites, I just can’t get enough of it these days!

  • Sarah Gunn
    February 18, 2014

    I had to stop reading to post to order the pattern, even though it’s a fantasy that I can pull it off :)
    Lauren, it’s spectacular and a genius combination of fabrics! Your sewing is phenomenal as well.

  • Sarah Gunn
    February 18, 2014

    make that…….
    I had to stop reading YOUR post to order the pattern, even though it’s a fantasy that I can pull it off :)
    Lauren, it’s spectacular and a genius combination of fabrics! Your sewing is phenomenal as well.

    • Lauren
      February 18, 2014

      No way, the shape of this dress is gonna look AMAZING on you! Can’t wait to see what you do with it! :D

    • Ginger
      February 18, 2014

      Sarah, you can TOTALLY rock this, and I can’t wait to see your version!

  • Ginger
    February 18, 2014

    This is sooooooo cute! I need to make this pattern! Lace really steps it up a notch and makes it feel even more special!

    • Lauren
      February 18, 2014

      Yes, you do! I am betting it would look super good on you! :)

  • Kelly
    February 18, 2014

    Wow, what a stunner! That dress is gorgeous, I love the fabric and colour combo! The fit looks great – I hadn’t even noticed the bodice was a bit small until you pointed it out. Seriously – hot!

    • Lauren
      February 18, 2014

      Thank you! This color combo is my favorite these days, can’t get enough of it :)

  • Meg the Grand
    February 18, 2014

    STUNNING! The dress is magnificent, the fit is perfect, and the color makes your hair shine! Love the entire look!

    • Lauren
      February 18, 2014

      Yay! Thank you, Meg ;)

  • Rachel
    February 18, 2014

    Lovely! I’m also making a Georgia dress, but having a really hard time fitting the bodice!

    • Lauren
      February 19, 2014

      Oh no! Have you been following the sewalong on the BHL website? They have some tips on bodice fitting.

  • Neeno - Sew Me Love
    February 18, 2014

    Beautiful!! I also made a Georgia Valentines Day dress. Yay dress twins! Love the idea of underlining using cotton sateen. I have always wanted to use lace or sheer fabrics but had no idea what to line it with!

    • Lauren
      February 19, 2014

      Oh yes, DEFINITELY try underlining with cotton sateen. It makes sewing with lace soo much easier, especially if you take the time to apply the underlining by hand :) And yay dress twins! :)

  • Lori
    February 18, 2014

    OH, what a fabulous dress and I love the fabric combination. You just have the best sense of style and always looks so darling!

    • Lauren
      February 19, 2014

      Aww, thank you so much, Lori! You’re so sweet :)

  • Peter
    February 19, 2014

    Beautiful and very sexy — love the styling!

    • Lauren
      February 19, 2014

      Thanks, Peter :)

  • Sallie
    February 20, 2014

    Yowza!!! I am loving all your nods to the 90′s! And your lacey Georgia makes for one sexy Valentines getup! You really can’t go wrong with lace. And thanks for the heads up about the bust cup sizing on the pattern – I’ll definitely be muslin-ing my Georgia before I go there!

  • Mary Danielson
    February 21, 2014

    Wow! This is beyond gorgeous, Lauren. The lace placement you did looks super couture and Georgia’s silhouette looks amazing on you. Such a bombshell dress! Nicely done.

  • Angela
    February 28, 2014

    I love seeing this because I am in the middle of my first Georgia right now so it is very helpful to see the inside seams ;) Beautiful job. Love it. I might have to do something similar after I finish my current dress. I have some lace. Might have to think about this. I really like yours. Would help if the weather would warm up a little here though. I’m sitting in my living room with a down coat on. Cannot get warm enough with all these windows…

    I found the bust cups to be a little small too :) I’m not finished with my dress so I might adjust mine before I finish the dress. It seemed ok with the muslin fabric too, but it is much smaller with my fashion fabric.