True facts: I got it into my head one day last year that I needed to make something out of lace. There was no plan, no pattern; just a vague, fuzzy hankerin’. I was in a walmart when this hankerin’ hit, so I moseyed on over to their (tiny) (cheap) (all around just generally shitty) fabric section, and discovered…well, almost nothing. There was no black or white lace, no pink or blue or pretty lace. There was a lace which, if bleached, maybe, could become cream or ivory. It was dingy-looking as hell, and nothing that I’d want to wear, ever.
So I bought some, naturally.
I’m an instant-gratification sorta gal, y’all. I never could quite force myself into using that lace, either. It was just so…nicotine-y. Is that a thing? That’s totally a thing.
The pictures I took of it don’t quite convey the yellow-brown undertones that made this lace so awful to me, but oh well. Doesn’t matter a bit, anymore, cause…:
When Project Sewn announced their challenges, the pink challenge got my brain a-percolatin’ (sorry, I was rocking out to some Alan Jackson today on the drive home from work, and it’s obviously influencing my thoughts right now).
Just about everything ever written about fabric-dyeing on Teh Internats says you can’t dye synthetic fabric with your average, ordinary Rit Dye. Welp, I strongly suspected my (cheap) fabric from (shitty) walmart wasn’t silk or cotton or anything nice like that*, so I figured screw it, I’ll just buy TWO bottles of dye! That’ll take care of it!
So after that test swatch, wherein everything came out wonderfully vivid, I went for it and dyed the whole mess of lace in my washing machine. I also snagged a cerulean sheet from Goodwill (I can’t quit this fabric source, guys), as I was always a very firm believer that magenta, cerulean, and scarlet are the best crayons in the big box and they’re all happily married forever (I guess they’re polyamorous? I didn’t really think it through that much…). I was actually searching for orange fabric, but when I held my test swatch up to this beautiful blue, I was sold.
I actually made the dress in the blue before I ever cut the lace out, because I knew I needed to make some changes to the pattern. My last NL6000 is tight enough to be past the va-va-voom stage and firmly planted in the sports-bra-uni-boob stage. So I did an FBA, that just went all the way down to the hem, adding a couple of inches (I needed more hip room, too. WHAT, I JUST GOT MARRIED AND I EAT STRESS, LEAVE ME ALONE =p). I did a similar slash-and-spread to the back pattern piece (we also ate a lot of cake after the wedding, too…I’m stuck in honeymoon mode), and then basted everything together in the blue fabric. MUCH BETTER. I pinned out some super-lengthening for the darts in the front, and re-stitched the side seams eleventy billion times, until I was finally happy. Then I trimmed the dress down (I had just been re-sewing, not cutting anything til I was sure), unpicked the seams, and layed it out on the lace.
I pinned the fabric to the lace very thoroughly, cut it out, and then basted them together through the side seams and up the center of all my darts.
Basting/underlining sounds scary, but it’s really that simple. You pin the fabrics together, and run a needle and thread through em both, enough to more or less hold them together. After that, it’s just one fabric. Super easy, but something that had me really intimidated up til now.
And et voila! A dress! As you can see, I did not underline the sleeves; they’re just lace and seam binding (on the inside), because I really love that effect. I actually lined my pattern pieces up along the scalloped border (see the second picture of this post), so I preserved that AND didn’t have to bother hemming/cuffing. These are my favoritest sleeves, which is a thing I never thought I’d say, prior to starting sewing.
I tried to serge my seams, originally, but my serger was being a PITA, so I ended up binding all my seams in rayon seam binding, from Sunni’s shop. GAWD I want all those colors! This is “flamingo”, fyi, and it’s superperfect for this dress.
I skipped the facings, because
all the changes I did to the dress would’ve meant drafting new facings pink rayon seam binding is magnificent and wonderful, and just generally easier better than boring ol’ facings that don’t want to stay put. I also super-cheated and machine stitched the seam binding-facing down, because you can’t see jack with this lace! My stitches are impossible to find (as I discovered with my seam ripper…=/). The invisible zipper is “coral”, and it’s from my stash.
I also made sure to keep the scallops for the hem, so I only hemmed the blue fabric, making it slightly shorter than the lace. (Another good reason for making the dress up in the blue, first. I could figure out exactly where the hem would hit in lace, because I already had it trimmed and serged in the blue.)
The center back seam is just a wee bit awkward at the hem, since I decided last-minute that I didn’t need to do the vent, after all. I put the dress on and proceeded to lunge around my living room, do some high-steps, and just generally frolick with the dogs, and I had no problems with it, so I just stitched the vent area closed. Oh well! Can we just say how perfect this dress is for my shape? Just ignore the brown tights I was wearing with this. I was sewing in bra and tights right before taking these pics, finishing up my “facing”, and never got around to taking the tights off. This is definitely more of a Spring-y style dress, though, so I’ll have to find some more appropriate tights to wear with it. Like orange. Or blue.
I can’t take a picture without dogs. Ever.
*To be fair, I totally tried to do a burn test. I stood over the sink and played with fire for a while, but I couldn’t narrow it down to anything other than “synthetic”. The charts I found said nylon would smell like celery when it burned, and polyester would smell like…chemical? Whatever, it made black smoke, but I inhaled a LOT of this fabric-soul, and it never smelled like anything to me. But I probably have cancer, now. Thanks, Obama.**
**This is a joke, and in no way reflects my political inclinations. Just google “Thanks, Obama”, you’ll see it everywhere. So I’m preemptively telling you to chillax, yo. =p