Lace Party Dress

 

Talk about a slow sewing dress and slow to post blog (hahah), I started my lace party dress beginning of October and finished it just in time for my friends’ wedding on October 20th. And yes, it’s February and I am finally writing about it.

I love slow sewing projects. I mean don’t get me wrong, I can complete tons of fast sewing in no time, but I love being able to focus on details like handpicking a zipper, hand-basting lace to underlining, or hand stitching the lining to the skirt. My goal for this year is to focus on similar projects. I have a few planned that will be tons of fun.

Carefully pressing seams over hams with a presscloth become like meditation…

The dress uses the bodice from Simplicity 8096 and a gathered skirt plus self-drafted pockets. I draft most of my own pockets, which is not a huge skill to brag about, but I can’t stand a small pocket. I don’t have large hands (actually super tiny…like I buy kid’s size gloves to get them to fit right) but I like using pockets for my phone, kleenex, keys, key fobs, protein bars for when my food restrictions/allergies/intolerances make grabbing something to eat impossible, my kindle, a brick, etc. You know, normal things. The whole idea of tiny pockets on women’s clothing is weird and stupid and misogynistic since men’s clothing gets huge pockets all the time.

I had limited fabric for this project. I only had 2 yards of the dusty rose lace. The lace was bought many years ago through fabric.com at the same time as other orders for my wedding dress. I originally had plans to use the dusty rose lace on the bodice of my dress instead of the ivory lace and use the ivory lace instead for lingerie. My plans changed and I had this lace leftover.

With only 2 yards, there had to be some pretty good pattern tetris. I also had even less than 2 yards for the beige satin I used for the underlining AND lining…. eeep. Luckily the skirt underlining was able to get cut out using the satin, but I did need to use some other cotton pieces for the pockets and parts of the lining of the bodice. As you can see, I also needed to cut the beige skirt lining much shorter than the lace. It actually made for a lovely tiered hem look. I also used the beige satin for the straps.

The fit on this dress is similar to the fit on my crop top version. It is a bit tight at the front unlike the crop top, where I added in some inches for the overlap there and didn’t have 3 layers of fabric. I think I could benefit from adding an inch to the center panel for comfort. The back fits okay. Although the strap could be brought in on left by an inch (hello, asymmetry!).

 

As part of this outfit, I also wanted to wear a short crinoline under the dress for the wedding. I did leave it off for the pictures to show you the tiered hem. I originally thought of using tulle in my stash and making it from scratch. However, I had a crinoline from my wedding dress that was simply sitting around in a garment bag; the crinoline was longer than most of my skirts and dresses. I decided to be smart and just shorten that crinoline instead to be able to use it for other outfits. I removed the bottom panels of the two skirts of crinoline and then finished the hem with ivory hug snug.

The new shorter crinoline looks great. I have enough crinoline left from the panels I took off the bottom of both skirts to make another crinoline!

I think that some fabric dye would work great on it and then I would have 2 crinolines in different colours. I’m thinking maybe hot pink for the other one.

The result is a great party dress which I wore with some brown Doc Martens and a lovely floral shawl for the wedding. I felt pretty stylish. It was a really lovely night. I didn’t actually take any pictures, though. As a result, it took me forever to actually take blog pictures for this post.

 

Here I am accepting my fake award for being incredible.

 

To say I love this dress is an understatement.

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My Sew Style Hero: Shannon from Rare Device

I originally posted on the Sewcialists blog about this project, but I definitely wanted to also post here, because Hello my blog needs this post too! I also have a bunch more pictures to share.

I chose Shannon from Rare Device for my Sew Style Hero for many many reasons.

  1. I love her style. She has a knack for great colour and fabric choices. The things she wears always look great on her and embrace trends like crop tops, wide legged pants, etc.
  2. She plays with gender in her style. Something I used to do a lot, but haven’t done in recent years since I started sewing for myself. It is something I want to do again (I even have a button up shirt cut out!) with a focus on making things that are comfortable for me to wear given my physical disabilities.
  3. She started Sew Queer and that prompted me to start Chronically Sewn to help highlight sewists with physical and mental chronic illnesses.

Speaking of style, Shannon is known for her crop top and flowing skirt or pant sets, either matching or mismatching. She is actually just finishing up another set using a monstera leaf print that makes me super envious!

 

I looooove the look, but I had never tried a crop top before in my life. What better time to overcome a fear of releasing the mid-drift?

I went through my stash looking for a fabric that would be perfect for the set and had just enough of a lovely soft cotton tropical flower print. For the crop top, I chose the bodice from the Simplicity 8096 dress view A.

To the Simplicity bodice, I added a band at the bottom and elastic through the band. I also added a button band at centre front and cut the back on the fold eliminating the zipper back there. The entire top unbuttons from the front and is incredibly easy for me to get on and off with my physical constraints. It’s incredibly comfortable.

 

I made the skirt without a pattern. It’s just a simple pleated skirt with pockets and a button band. The look above on the far right of Shannon is the look that inspired mine. The skirt is cut a bit shorter due to fabric constraints. I am also much shorter than Shannon so it actually looks the same length on me!

A big floppy sun hat completes the inspiration look!

   

And I actually feel incredible in this look! Crop tops are some kind of wonderful.

   

I love the purple buttons I got locally for both the crop top and skirt. They look great with the floral print. The skirt could be a bit tighter. I may actually put some elastic across the back after I run it through the wash once to see whether the fabric shrinks a bit. To add the elastic, I will just open up two spots along the waistband at the back and then run some 1 inch elastic through and tack it down. That should do the trick.

  

Thank you, Shannon, for all that you do for the sewing community. You are an amazing Sew Style Hero!