Apr 12, 2011
So yesterday I made mincemeat of nearly five yards of black lace. As you may recall, I'm working on a cocktail dress that will be a cross between this:
I don't own either pattern, but I do have an image of the back of both pattern envelopes so I can see what the pattern pieces look like. The lace overlay will be in the form of a redingote, something like a full-length belted coat, with 3/4 kimono sleeves. That's what I worked on yesterday and I hope to complete it today.
My $2/yd. lace is surprisingly easy to work with and very sturdy. It doesn't shift (much) or ravel, and a single stitched seam feels very sturdy. Nevertheless, I've used French seams for the main construction. I picked up a few useful techniques along the way.
I stitched the seams first at 3/8" wrong sides together, then I lay the seam on white tissue paper atop my self-healing mat, so I could see the seam allowance clearly, and trimmed it down to roughly 1/8" with my rotary cutter.
Then I turned the garment inside out and stitched along the enclosed seam at 1/4". The French seams look like this:
Friends, I so badly wanted these seams to be just 1/8" but I couldn't manage it. The lace doesn't press and the only way to enclose the seam and trimmed allowance was to feel the bit of bulk with my fingers as I stitched. It's fine and it's mainly going to be invisible as the underdress is dark taffeta.
The downside of kimono sleeves done in lace is that there's both a visible top and bottom seam (as opposed to a single sleeve seam). The upside is that there's no shoulder seam. It's a trade-off.
I will probably trim those vertical back darts, though they're not much thicker than the French seams along the sides. I trimmed the front darts and they're barely visible. (Are you following me?)
Here's something else I learned: with transparent lace like this, you can trace the darts atop the pattern piece, which makes things oh, so much easier. I traced mine in white chalk.
I thought this lace was really going to be a nightmare and it so wasn't.
I also experimented finishing edges with bias strips. This will be the finish along the neckline and the front, which I envision closing with hook and eyes. (My strips will be made from some black polished cotton I have lying around. Poly satin is too heavy.) I may add lace trim if it's not too expensive -- I see a strip of little black lace daisies or the like, don't you?
Now the question is the underdress: Simplicity 8270 has a bodice and attached skirt; 8243 has just a slip.
I think I'm going to go the one-piece slip route so I don't have to match the waistlines of two separate garments: the redingote will fit over the slip and be belted. The slip will be taffeta underlined either with thin cotton or another layer of taffeta (I have 5 yards). Believe it or not, I'm adapting the slip from this:
It's the only princess-seamed pattern I have and the pieces are nearly identical. Obviously the bodice will be cut like the top of a slip and I'll add straps.
What do you think? I didn't want the redingote to have a dirndl-style skirt as the gathers would look thick at the waist. I think it's full enough -- it will have to be. Down the line, I may want to experiment with something fuller.
OK, it's time to get to work. I was delighted to discover yesterday how many of you are lounging around all day in satin smocks and velvet smoking jackets -- actually, just how many of you were lounging at all!
Have a great day, everybody!
Labels: works in progress