Lace for A Valentine’s Day Dress

For the past couple of months, us Mood Sewing Networkers have been plotting to have a month where the entire group worked with a similar fabric. Lace was decided for March, and since I had already been lurking the lace selection and dreaming up options, I was 100% game. I was also inspired by Liz’s Macaron Lace Dress because GIRL(boy?), have you seen that gorgeousness?! so jealous. I thought it would be fun to have the dress ready for Valentine’s Day – I’m not really much of a Valentine’s person (this is like, one of maybe four Valentine’s EVER that I haven’t been single, aha), but it’s not too late to start yeah? Not to mention, if I had a fancy dress all ready to go we’d HAVE to end up doing something. Preferably something that involved gelato.

So, without further ado, I give you… my Valentine’s dress:
Cotton Lace Dress

Β I knew I wanted a substantial lace in a bright color (no whites or pastels for me, please), and while my original dream dress involved visions of navy, I knew this red lace was “the one” the second I laid eyes on it. It’s perfect for this type of dress – the pattern is large and bold, but held together with delicate netting which keeps the fabric from being too heavy. Since it’s a cotton lace, it will wear nicely in the summer as well as during the cooler months we’re in right now. The lacework is erratic enough where I didn’t have to worry too much about matching up the design at every seam line (just thinking about that is making me break out in a sweat, argh!).

Once thing I did notice with this particular lace is that the pattern runs parallel to the selvedge — so I had to adjust my pattern layout accordingly. This wasn’t difficult to do, and my lace was wide enough where I was able to get my pieces in there (including the full circle skirt) without too much fuss, but I thought I would point that out if you are thinking about working with directional lace. I’m so used to the pattern running perpendicular to the selvedge, I almost didn’t check before I started cutting. Editor’s note: Click here for a selection of lace fabrics available at MoodFabrics.com.

Β Cotton Lace Dress
For this dress, I improvised and merged a few different patterns together to create my Frankenpattern Dream Dress: the bodice is McCall’s 5972, the sleeves are a vintage Butterick pattern, and the skirt is my self-drafted circle skirt. I’m actually surprised at how well everything fit together, like these pieces were meant to be.

Cotton Lace Dress
I love love love the bodice of this pattern; it’s definitely my new TNT.

Cotton Lace Dress
The dress is underlined with Bemberg rayon in watermelon pink – everything except the sleeves. I decided to underline because I wanted to give the lace structure in addition to an underlying color – a hanging lining doesn’t do too much Β in terms of structure, plus the seams would show through the sheer netting. Choosing the right color underlining took some time – it was a toss up between white, Lauren-flesh, red, and pink. I felt like the first three were just tooooo predictable (although I still have some red lace leftover, so maybe I’ll try a different underlining with it!), not to mention I loved the dimension I got with the pink underlining. To underline, I basted the pieces together by hand, using silk basting thread, around all edges and also along the dart lines. Then I sewed the dress up as normal, serging the seams as I went and pressing them flat.

Cotton Lace Dress
Like I said, I left the sleeves un-lined because I love the effect – look, you can see a tiny peek of tattoo!

Cotton Lace Dress
Cotton Lace Dress
The sleeves posed a special challenge since they were unlined and I wasn’t sure how well that netting part would hold a seam. I had a small piece of pink cotton batiste in my stash that perfectly matched the underlining, so I cut long bias strips and bound the sleeve seams for extra stability. The resulting seam is very strong, and I love the little peek of pink that shows when I move my arm πŸ™‚ I also used the pink cotton to face the sleeve hems and neckline, bind the armscye and waist seams, and add a strip of piping to the waistline.

Cotton Lace Dress
I mostly plan on wearing this with the satin bow (because I love looking like I’m wrapped up like a present), but I do like the way the dress looks with just the piping πŸ™‚

I hemmed the skirt with 2″ white horsehair braid, since I wanted it to flare. Actually, hemming was the worst part – and not because it involved nearly 5 yards of hand-sewing. I could not decide how I wanted to treat the hem, since the lace is sheer and the braid would show through. The dress is underlined, including the skirt, but I was afraid that pulling the underlining all the way down to the bottom of the skirt would end up with some funky grain problems. In the end, I laid the skirt out VERY CAREFULLY on the floor and matched up the hems on the lining and lace, pinned everything together, and then stitched the braid on. There are a few areas where the fabric doesn’t hang *quite* right, but thankfully the giant circle skirt-ness of the whole thing kind of hides that.

Cotton Lace Dress
Anyway, it’s TWIRLY β™₯

All in all, I think it’s a pretty snazzy Valentine’s Day dress. Lookit how fancy me and my man look!
Cotton Lace Dress
And just for the record – my evening did involve gelato, so yay!

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Comments


  • Samina
    March 4, 2013

    Beautiful dress! Everything came together here: fabric, design & fab sewing expertise.

    • Lauren
      March 5, 2013

      Thank you! I’m definitely pretty happy with how it came together – even better than I’d initially imagined πŸ™‚

  • Erica B
    March 4, 2013

    You look gorgeous. Yor dress is beautiful!

    • Lauren
      March 5, 2013

      Wow, thank you!!

  • Lori
    March 4, 2013

    Your dress is stunning and you look so beautiful. Incredible job.

    • Lauren
      March 5, 2013

      Thanks Lori πŸ™‚

  • Amanda S.
    March 4, 2013

    Very pretty! I love how you figured out how to treat the seams on the sleeves and do the hem. Sewing is such a fun puzzle at times.

    • Lauren
      March 5, 2013

      It is, isn’t it? I think that’s what I love most about sewing – figuring out the steps to effectively solve the problem. Thank you πŸ™‚

  • Carolyn
    March 5, 2013

    Lauren this is a beautiful dress that fits you so well and is full of amazing construction techniques! Well done and what a wonderful way to kick off our month of lace pieces!

    • Lauren
      March 6, 2013

      Thanks, Carolyn! I can’t wait to see what you have planned for your make πŸ™‚

  • Brenda
    March 5, 2013

    I love that you picked the pink underlining. It shows off the beautiful pattern.

    • Lauren
      March 6, 2013

      I thought it added a nice layer of dimension without being too predictable πŸ™‚ I’m glad you like it!

  • Alethia ak.a. Mesewlot
    March 6, 2013

    What a beautiful dress, perfect style for you!!!

    • Lauren
      March 6, 2013

      Thank you so much!

  • Ginger
    March 7, 2013

    This is so gorgeous! I don’t think I could stop twirling if I was wearing it!

  • Amy
    March 7, 2013

    Gorgeous! What a great way to start off the lace month! It’s just perfect. Glad you had a great Valentine’s Day, and I hope you have a blast in NYC this weekend!

  • anne jewell
    March 19, 2013

    congratulations on ‘frankenpatterning’ so successfully! you could make countless variations using this as a basic block.

  • Diana Deap
    March 24, 2013

    Such a pretty dress and it looks lovely on you.

  • Marlene Hiestand
    April 1, 2013

    This is absolutely gorgeous. Love the way the underlining shows the pattern of the lace. Well done.