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