Soooooo, I was hunting on the White Tree Fabrics website for some fabric for a new rain mac (currently in production) when I got very very distracted by some beeeeee-autiful black lace with 3-d flowers.
OMG it is just stunning.
I had to have it. I just knew that it would make the most awesome of party dresses.
I didn't have the pennies to buy enough to make myself a dress, so I bought myself a metre and decided to make a Pippa dress, of which I have already made a fair few if you do a quick search of the blog.
However, due to this gorgeous fabric, I would have to make some small changes to the dress.
First up . . . how could I not use the gorgeous lace edge? Now, the Pippa dress curves up at the sides, and if I did this with this fabric it would cut off half of the lace edge. So, I decided to cut a straight edge on the pattern piece, which was simple enough - just extend the side seam down to the edge of the fabric . . . easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Second in the list of things that needed to be done . . . due to the lace nature of the fabric, it is see-through . . . not appropriate, so I decided to fully line the dress with some black satin. I was going to originally do a standard underline, i.e. line each piece before making up the dress, and then add a standard facing. However, I wanted the lace section to swing and sway away from the lining, and this would not happen if the side seams were attached. So, basically I made two dresses - a lace one, and a lining one. I then sewed the two together around the shoulders and then attached a standard facing. I contemplated lining like I had my other dresses, but thought that as the lace was sheer, the raw edges would show through and I wanted to avoid this.
|the photo doesn't show it brilliantly|
bit the smaller flowers are 3-d and stand
proud of the main fabric
Thirdly - the 3-d flowers. I didn't want any of these caught up in the seams when sewing. To combat this, Those that would get caught no matter what were removed very carefully with my thread scissors. Those that could avoid this fate were pinned back out of the way of the seams when sewing. Good in theory, but I ended up stabbing myself a fair few times in the sewing process, but then again there is nothing new about that is there? I'm sure I would make loads of money if I charged based on the number of pin and needle stabs I have received during construction!!!!
Anyway, all this was pretty simple and straight forward, other than me sewing when I was tired and doing a couple of things wrong and having to unpick, which I really wanted to avoid on this lovely lace, but it isn't a Holly-project unless at least one seam has had to be unpicked!
My biggest problem happened when it came to choosing the buttons for the fastening. I searched Ilkley for some buttons for this dress, but I just couldn't find any I liked. I did buy some, but I wasn't 100% sold on them for this dress, so I used them for something else.
The breakthrough came when my Grandma gave me her mother's (my Great-Grandma, who I adored) button box. I didn't even know this still existed. I'm not sure how old the buttons in there are (my Great-Grandma passed away 19 years ago and wouldn't have sewn in her later years as she had bad arthritis in her fingers), but the actual box itself has to be at least 80 years old - there is a label in there as there is a little label in there with my Gran's maiden name and I remember her and my Grandad celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary. The box is a treasure trove of buttons, and clearly I get my love of the colour blue from my Great-Grandma as there are more blue buttons that anything else in there. Blue was not going to work on this dress though, but I did manage to find some silver art-deco style buttons, which I thought would do the job nicely.
I'm tempted to take the button box to the Antiques Roadshow, as my Grandma also let me raid her jewellery (the bits she doesn't wear), and I took pretty much all of her brooches. I doubt any of them are actually worth much, but it would be nice to know the history behind some of them (one I found in the button box). Also, some need restoring (missing stones etc.) so it could be worth finding out how much that is going to cost me.
So anyway, that is the dress, which is now in the Folsky shop. It is a one-off. As I had to cut the fabric out a certain way to get the lace edge for the hem, there is no way I am going to get another dress out of it. I'm not sure what I will do with my leftovers yet - there isn't much edge left. All ideas and suggestions welcome.
I will have some halloween makes to show you over the next week, so you will be spoiled with more than one post in a week!
Until then . . .