Tie (Up Loose Ends)

It is a bit as if 2018 is still going on here 😀 Still things to finish up from last year. If you remember this…

… then maybe you also remember I had cut out a tie for my husband to wear on Christmas Day.

And I did finish it minutes before we sat down for dinner, actually the rest of the family even had to wait a bit. Honestly, I thought it is going to be a quickie, but either I misunderstood something or the pattern really is as poor as I think it is.

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The pattern is Burdastyle 12/2013, model 148. I downloaded mine from burdastyle.com. It seems to me that the part on how to attach and work on the insert to shape the tie are problematic, as it was nearly impossible to hide the insert behind the lining piece on the wider end. Also, if I would ever make it again, I would cut the insert much narrower, not just without the seam allowance in order to be able to make it look acceptable.

Since I didn´t have a wool insert (what is it anyway?) I used a piece of windstopper material that I had left over from a coat (hint!), which worked fine.

For the lining I used the same fabric as for the dresses. You can see how much I hurried from the sloppy hand stitches on the narrow end…

Conclusion? Probably the only tie I will ever make, unless there would be some event so special that I´d be willing to spend another full day on making a matching one with my dress again.

But my husband loved it and the family photos are really fun, unfortunately none with a very good view of the tie, but you get the idea I believe 😀

Me and Mini Me

Hi!

You knew this was going to happen, right? 😀

Well, I couldn´t resist! These are the dresses I made for Liisa-Mai´s first Christmas, we wore them already for the childrens Christmas party at my workplace, but definitely will wear them for the Christmas dinner with family as well. I actually have cut out a tie for my husband in the same fabric, we´ll see how this turns out. And then this might be the best use of fabric I have ever managed, although I bought the piece without any clear ideas about 2 years ago. But for the readers in Estonia – I noticed it was still on sale in Kangadzungel!

The pattern for my dress is Burdastyle 9/2013, model 108 (size 38) and for Liisa-Mai, 07/2012, model 145, size 74 – she is 7,5 months old already!

I love that I managed to find two patterns that have identical sleeves 🙂 Liisa-Mai´s dress is a bit simplified, because I realized that if I want to make a tie as well, there will not be enough fabric left after this skirt piece with its pleats and gathers. So I omitted the pleats, which I think would have added unnecessary bulk anyway plus the plaid fabric probably would have hidden them, too. So Liisa-Mai´s dress is just gathered, I used as much fabric as I had which was about 10 cm less than it would have been with the pleats.

I added the piping detail for her dress sleeves and if I had had more time, probably would have done the same for the collar. I also contemplated using the blue fabric for the bodice and then add the collar and fabric-covered buttons in plaid. It would have been really cute, but the blue fabric is 100% synthetic and the plaid felt more skin-friendly. The blue pieces are remnants from my Estonia 100 dress.

For her buttons, I used a special set that I purchased some years ago from Singapore. It is a great way to add some personality to a garment and I think it is especially cute for a baby! There are three hidden press studs down the front of her dress as well.

As for my dress, I shortened it about 15 cm and as you can see, added piping to the neckline, sleeve edges and the curved darts. The dress is fully lined with one of the most luxurious-feeling lining fabrics I have sewn with, a stretch and silky lining by Versace. I used the same fabric for her sleeves as well. It was such fun to see the tiny sleeves sewn up exactly as the big ones!

I am quite satisfied with the plaid match and placement and especially about the fact that although I managed to finish my own dress at a relaxed pace, the final decision to try to make hers for the party was made the previous evening…. I literally attached the last press stud like half an hour before leaving for the party!

I have actually dedicated a lot of time on sewing these past months and there is a big project waiting for its reveal, but it needs final touches and then there is the annual Christmas party for which I am also making a few things. So more to come, just a little patience!

Happy upcoming holidays!

The Tie Blouse

Hi!

With little Liisa-Mai around, my wardrobe choices have become somewhat limited as there are too many boxes to be ticked – the garment has to fit reasonably in the bust, fit reasonably in the belly area; be breastfeeding friendly and finally, be suitable for the occasion!

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I realized how few of my clothes are actually button-up or wrap style in order to allow comfortable breastfeeding! The other issue is the belly – I have lost most of the baby weight by 8 weeks postpartum, but the belly is resisting, especially as I used to have a pretty flat one prior to pregnancy (of course I would never have agreed to that statement back then, there was always little something too much in my opinion!) and the clothes were sewn to fit that body, not the one I have at the moment.

The pattern I used for the top above is Simplicity 8601 and it is not breastfeeding-friendly, however it does conveniently have a center front seam! So all i did was adding an invisible zipper to the front seam and omit the back closure. I cut size 14 and used view C for my blouse.

I also did not use the facings, but went with white cotton bias tape instead.

 

I am so satisfied with the result that I think I will repeat it. However, I think three ties on one blouse is a little too much, I would rather prefer either one in the front (and then go sleeveless) or only keep the sleeve ties. My husband also came up with a good idea – to make the front and back piece identical and without the tie – then the blouse would be more like a shirt and could be worn with a belt for example. I need to consider all these options before cutting into the next fabric.

 

I actually prefer to style the blouse with pants instead of a skirt, but we have had an amazing spring and summer this year so far – much warmer and sunnier than usually and of course this makes the long walks with Liisa-Mai very enjoyable.

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The fabric I used is a good quality cotton gingham that a dear friend of mine brought from his business trip to Germany a few years ago. When he gave it to me, I was a little “meh” to be honest, but for this project it is perfect, breathable and I love the light blue color too! I am happy I could find a good use for this old-timer in my fabric stash!

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It is hard to get the shade of this baby blue correct in photos, it is definitely brighter than in the photos taken indoors, however slightly duller than on those taken outside 😀

Some close ups too:

 

Next post is coming soon as I managed to finish a long time unfinished project recently!

Happy sewing!

Estonia 100 Dress

Hi!

My home country Estonia celebrated its 100th anniversary on February 24th and if anything deserves a new dress, then it is this proud celebration day!

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I have been sewing a few things this year already but I must admit my sewing mojo is a bit down as I am quite tired in the evenings and rather prefer to spend my energy on walking and keeping fit rather than making efforts with sewing. I have nearly completed a patchwork quilt blanket (my first after the obligatory one in high school!) in preparation for the arrival of our baby and started a dress, but my sewing machine did not love the fabric so I just had another unfinished object added to the deepest corner of my drawer.

Also, I am not too excited about sewing floaty garments which is the only style I can wear right now and therefore the only thing that really pushed me to make something was this big anniversary and the fact that we were invited by friends to a celebration party for which I REALLY did not have anything to wear 🙂

The pattern is from Patrones 332, model 18.

The sizes in Patrones are different from Burda or the American brands, so when I normally cut size 38 from Burda, I am 42 for Patrones. This time I decided to go up one size and cut 44, although it was already obvious that the pattern is generous enough.

It is quite a straightforward model and a quick make which is exactly what I needed right now. In order to add some spark, I used a sequined fabric for the front yoke. It is the first time I used sequined fabric and because the sequines are small, it didn´t create any problems and I could just sew through them. However, the whole house was full of sparkle as cutting and trimming released hundreds of sequins or pieces of them.

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The most important aspect of this dress for me was that I wanted to feel comfortable, yet appropriate for the occasion. I managed both and there is even hope I can wear it in the future once I am in my normal parameters again!

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Some close ups as well:

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I will work for another three weeks and then stay home to prepare for the upcoming life changing moment. I can´t promise I will make anything during that time because I cannot make anything I really like right now, but at the same time completing a new garment is so satisfying that I may decide to whip up something anyway.

The Blue Gown

Hi!

Would you believe that with all these years of sewing, I never made a maxi dress? This one is my first!

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I have a few ready-to-wear ones for summer, but generally I prefer to enjoy the warm weather in short and light clothes. There is only one maxi dress that I have worn to pieces and it is made of very breathable and lightweight cotton batiste.

However, as the annual Christmas party at my workplace was approaching fast, I needed something that would tick several boxes – appropriate for the environment since this years party was held at an old art nouveau style mansion (it is worth checking it out: Ammende villa), easy and quick to make since I was running out of time, fit me in the current circumstances and preferrably be wearable in the future. I managed to tick all those, plus as a bonus, I could use up some of the fabric from my overflowing stash! Win-win!

So the lucky winner pattern was Vogue 9104:

I am very happy I took the time to look up some blog posts on this pattern because a few of them mentioned the problem with the armholes being too low-cut. I guess it has to do with the weight of the fabric as well, because you need 4.1 meters of it for size 10 and the armholes can easily be dragged lower by the weight of the dress! The pattern also recommends lightweight jersey, but with this amount of fabric, jersey would definitely stretch even more, causing the armholes reaching too low. So just to avoid the trouble, I raised the armholes of my dress by about 2,5 cm and I am thankful I did! Instead of using the facings provided with the pattern, I used bias tape to finish them, another tip from one of the blogs I read!

It took me a while to decide what to do with the lower contrast part of the dress. I had just enough fabric in my stash for the upper part of the dress and I had it already cut out, so the task was to find something suitable for the contrast. It was really not easy. I considered sequins, but eventually they were not in the right shade; I was also thinking about using silvery lurex, but I was afraid the end result would be something in the lines of Ded Moroz, the slavic equivalent of Santa Claus:

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Photo source: http://www.artlebedev.com/mandership/173/

In the end I bought some glittery stretch lace and backed it up with matching lining fabric for the lower pieces:

This meant I had to cut the lower details out not four, but eight times and additional seams to join them. Not hard to do, but so time consuming, especially because the lining fabric is slippery and the pieces are quite big. It took a lot of pinning, basting, pressing and sewing. The seams are really long as well! And yes, the glitter was all over the place!

As you can see, the photos are taken at my parents place and my shoes don´t really match the dress, I just borrowed them from my mom for the photos. We actually tried taking photos at the villa since we stayed the night there but initially the cameras battery was dead and the next moment we had time to take the pics was at 3 AM, my husband almost asleep and my own face sleepy as well. The light conditions were not ideal either, but we took a few before going to bed:

The belt I am wearing was a must, I would have felt huge otherwise. It is metallic, but very elastic like spring and I love the leaf motif of the front closure:

Honestly, in my opinion this dress is as good as it gets in terms of the choices an expecting mother has for an evening gown! It is very comfortable and shows enough while hiding enough at the same time! For example I got really tired of wearing tights during the evening and due to the length of the dress, I could just remove them and go on without anything digging into my belly. In addition, since the lower contrast parts are not joined at all, the slits in front and back are quite deep, so there is some sex appeal to the dress as well.

Another great tip I got from reading blogs was to cut a size smaller than usual due to the really extreme looseness of the pattern. So instead of my regular 12, I cut it in size 10 and I think it was absolutely worth it. I also omitted the side pockets, because… who would need them really?

While the dress was halfway finished without the lower pieces attached yet, I also discovered that it would make a great summer dress in short version.

And last but not least, we had a professional party photographer, thankfully, so we managed to get a pic together with my husband, too:

We have a collective holiday every year during the Christmas and New Year so I am totally enjoying it now, preparing some patterns and sewing but also meeting friends and spending time with my family.

Just a few days left until Christmas, may you all have beautiful holidays with your loved ones!

Jalie Jeans and Leftover Top

Hi!

The first projects of 2017 have been chosen solely because I wanted to try out my new serger, Brother M1034D.

You might recall my Just Cavalli dress that took ages to complete. I don´t know how about you, but I find it really difficult to throw away large pieces of leftover fabrics although I never use them for another project again, so they just pile up and I am really happy when I can use up the whole yardage of fabric for a project. The only fabrics that I use again are linings.

So I had quite a lot of Cavalli fabric left from the aforementioned dress and after making these crazy blue pants I also whipped up the top, thus using every scrap of the fabric I had!

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So the pants are my first ever try of the famous Jalie patterns I have heard read so many good words about. Mainly about their jeans pattern which I had in mind at first, but then I noticed that they also have a pull on jeans pattern and since my fabric is very stretchy I thought I could also take the easy road. So I bought, downloaded, cut, taped and cut again their Eleonore /Jalie3461/ pattern.

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I mostly used my serger to make the pants and just sewed the zippers, topstitching and hems with the regular machine. I enjoyed working with the pattern and I only had to take in about 2 cm at the waist before attaching the waistband.

The zippers are my own addition to the pants. I actually have the idea to wear them with a jacket I am planning to make and once it is ready (no promises), it should match even better due to the silver zipper detail of the pockets.

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Because of the zippers, the pockets are actually bigger than the pattern originally requires. The zippers are purely decorative and since they are sewn onto the fabric I didn´t see a way to shorten them so that they would match the pockets. So the solution was to cut bigger pockets in order to make it happen. The pockets are about the width of the seam allowance bigger than original on each side.

For the top I used an old Burda pattern (from 7/2007, model 105) that I always thought was really cute:

It is the record project in terms of speed – I started cutting the fabric at around 10 PM and by 1.30 AM the top was complete. Of course I wasn´t too excited about it a few hours later when I had to get up for work and then drive all the way to Riga in the afternoon 🙂

The only thing I changed was adding the back center seam, because of my fabric print. I also just serged the back opening edges. The small ties are sewed on separately and they are both double layer of fabric, so they are not so easy to tie neatly and every time I end up with a different result – sometimes the tie ends show north-south, sometimes east-west!

Now I said “crazy” blue pants and I wasn´t lying – the photos above were taken in Riga at the hotel we stayed during the first trip to hunt for the wedding dress and the lighting conditions were obviously not the best. Here is how the blue is in reality, pretty electric, huh?

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I actually think that the top also looks better with black pants, but the truth is that I have to make some additional garments to wear with the pants, it is not easy to match colors with such bright blue!

It seems that April will go by without any new posts, since I am really pushing myself with the thesis, but it is going at a very slow rate. Still, I have so many sewing projects on my mind that we´ll see, maybe I will make something simple just to tame the craving!

Candy Pocket Dress

Hi everyone, I guess its about time for the post of February!

I am in that state of mind where I am avoiding something important I have to do by finding replacement activities and “duties”, I guess its called procrastinating? Anyway, what I should REALLY be doing is to sit down and write my final thesis which is the only thing still on my way to my Master´s degree, but I have been busying myself with sewing instead.

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Actually I have made three items already, but I am trying to force myself to slow down on sewing and finish that dreaded thesis once and for all, so I will keep some stuff to be posted in March.

I used the pattern 104B from the October 2016 issue of Burdastyle in my  usual size 38.

Considering the choice of fabric (poly ponte ) I guess I could have also gone down by one size. But the fabric made it really easy to work with the pockets that at first took me a moment to understand how exactly they are meant to be created. However, I really like the pattern with its fun pockets and 7/8 sleeves!

This dress is the first thing I made in 2017 and it was sewn almost entirely with my new overlocker Brother M1034D! I bought it on Amazon at a price that was about 50% cheaper than here in Estonia as a Christmas present to myself. I actually own another serger too, but that one is a cheap no-name brand and I have struggled with it, so I actually have not used it for any projects. Maybe one day I will have it fixed and then sell it cheap as I don´t need two machines anyway.

I have been wearing this dress twice already (to a birthday party and even to a ballet show!) and always have been too busy to take photos for the blog. And to be honest, I wore it both times without having finished the hem! I just serged it and left it as is because folding and hand-sewing it didn´t seem to be a good idea as neither was using a double needle.

However, I found hemming tape on my recent trip to Riga and then hemmed the dress in less than five minutes using a hot iron. I have been wanting to try this for a long time, but haven´t noticed it anywhere in the local sewing shops. So it can be said that the dress is my first venture into shortcuts and quick makes, because until now I have been bias taping all my seam allowances and done miles of handsewing for my projects. I am sure I will continue with these techniques too, but it was definitely very interesting to try out these new to me things!

Here is a closer look, I really like how clean it looks:

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As I mentioned the recent trip to Riga, Latvia, I can also share the reason for the trip – I went hunting for a wedding dress hoping to find better prices there in comparison to Estonia. We were there on Thursday and Friday and first of all I really liked the city but secondly, I also found the dress! Since the boutique only has samples to show an try on, they are going to sew the dress for me according to my measurements, which means we have to return next weekend for the first fitting. Honestly, I could nearly have picked any dress from their collection, they were all very beautiful, but you can go and see for yourself (and try to guess which one I chose!) on their website.

I think everyone who hears about our upcoming wedding in September, pops the question whether I will be sewing my own dress. I would really like to, but there is this superstition that it will not bring good luck, so I am not taking any chances here! 🙂

I could not resist hopping into a small fabric shop in Riga, I actually saw several of them downtown, but since I had to concentrate on the dress, I only squeezed in one:

Until soon!

 

 

 

 

Wrapping It Up (Dress)

Hi!

I am once again trying to compete with time and get this posted a few hours before the end of the month! And again, what a month!

To put it short, I have been travelling to three different countries, made three new outfits, got promoted at work and still hoping to keep up with the school tasks, just to top it off with a Featured Member interview on burdastyle.com! You can check that one out here!

So, first one of the new items I made. I don´t know how many of you have tried or even know about such a pattern magazine as La Maison Victor, but although I have a few of their magazines and one single pattern, this is my first try to actually make something. I got my magazine issues from sewingpatterns.eu.

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I used their Wanda dress pattern from September/October issue of La Maison Victor, since I needed a semi-casual dress for a conference event in Liverpool and I had just the right fabric (a blue polyester ponte with some fun silver and black zigzag print on it).

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I sewed it up within three or four evenings, including the time for tracing and cutting the pattern. I made the size 38, but could have easily done with a size smaller as well. It requires quite a lot of fabric, about 2.5 metres and you really need it, not like with some patterns where with a clever placement you can cut down on the yardage.

I really liked the suggestion of interfacing the hems, I have read about this technique in some blogs, but always forget the useful tips when they are not mentioned in the instructions. I only used the double needle for the hems and went with one for the rest of the seams.

The two ties are quite interestingly placed in the middle of the waistline and they are really long, but you need it to wrap it properly up and I quite like the effect. You can see the length of the ties here and they are both actually already wrapped once around my waist! I did not finish the ties as the fabric doesn´t fray and I simply think it looks better in this case, as well.

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So, as already mentioned, the dress was made for a conference event in Liverpool. Although I have travelled quite a bit, it was actually my first time in England! And I must say I have the best of colleagues because during these days we only had a few short hours for walking around the city and they agreed to spend a whole half an hour in a fabric shop with me after chasing it down on Google Maps!

We visited Abakhan Fabrics, which actually has several shops in Estonia as well, but I was curious to see whether there is a big difference. The kind shop assistant even mentioned that there should be at least one in Estonia and was a bit surprised I got fabrics, assuming that they must be cheaper with the weaker British pound. Actually the prices were very similar to Estonia, but since I spotted some nice fabrics, I got a few pieces.

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Just a week back from England, I had another work trip to Zürich. Since I was there alone, I didn´t have to worry about anyone else getting bored at the fabric store and spent a little time in a downtown fabric shop called Stofftrucke.

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The price level is as expected in Switzerland – nothing comes cheap! However, as I always get something on my trips, I made no exception here and got two matching fabrics with a potential for a casual top or tunic.I really liked how the fabrics were laid out in matching colorways and they had great knit fabrics, too!

My picks are here – red is a color you don´t see me wearing very often, but this one is kind of broken, a little bit orangey and I liked how the two different fabrics matched in color:

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So this is it for November. The other two projects I mentioned are going to be for two special occasions – one for the annual university ball, which will be held tomorrow and another one for a wedding just next week. Since both projects still need a few stitches I will leave you with one final photo from Zürich!

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The Holiday Dress

Hey!

As promised, this is the sequence to the previous post on the trip to Greece.

So we hired a tiny car and drove to the island of Evia and all the way through it to the seaside town Karystos. The following days were spent driving around the island, stopping at secluded beaches for a swim and hiking in the beautiful Dimosari Gorge, while the evenings were dedicated to eating (or should I say stuffing ourselves with?) all kinds of Greek food that I have missed. Since we stayed at a fully equipped villa, I even cooked okra with chicken, potatoes and tomato sauce one night, because okra is not available in Estonia and yet it is one of my favorite dishes!

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The second item that I made for the trip is a simple off the shoulder dress. Now I am saying simple because this is what it is supposed to be, but I actually struggled with it! The reason is that once again, something seems to be very off with the latest Burda Easy patterns. If you recall the dress I made some years ago, the problem was that the pattern seemed to be too big. I ran into the same issue this time as well and it could easily mean that I am done with Burda Easy!

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Of course one might ask why use a pattern at all, when there are such great tutorials out there, like this one by Erica Bunker; but I thought it might be even easier to use the bodice pattern pieces from Burda Easy spring/summer 2016…NOT!

See how the model is holding her arms tight close to her body? This is because most probably she has to hide the fact that the armholes of the pattern are so deep that her bra not peeks but completely shows on the sides! What is visible however, is the excess fabric of the bodice because it is so wide that I took off 6 cm on both sides!

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For my dress, I followed the tips from Erica´s tutorial for the calculation of the ruffle and just cut two long rectangles. The pattern of the fabric made cutting really easy for such a dress, I just followed the print lines! The fabric is from one of my trips to Helsinki for my studies, it was about 4 m long so actually I still have plenty of it left. And because it was sold by weight, I paid 12 euros for the whole piece, what a bargain! Even the sales assistant commented that it is really beautiful, too 🙂

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I lined the dress, apart fom the ruffle, with the leftover lining from my Ludovico dress, which only needed a little bit of fabric. The colours don´t match, but the lining is so silky, smooth and cool against the skin, that I preferred this over another lining material that matched perfectly colour-wise.

The lining also adds some weight to the otherwise lightweight viscose, but I still have some quite funny moments captured, where the wind plays with the dress, creating hilarious balloon-effects. This here shows a quieter moment:

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Now the holiday is done and whatever sewing I will be doing, it will definitely be much more wintery. The calendar is merciless, given the work and school tasks plus the house revamp, I might better start thinking about this year´s Christmas party dress!

 

 

Graduation Day Dress

Hi!

Some things apparently so simple to make, may take a lot of energy and work and then there are others that look hard to make, but in the end turn out quite the opposite. This was the case with my last project, a dress for my brother´s graduation day (I cannot believe how grown up he is!).

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It took me a while to get started because of doubts about how to actually go about it. I read several articles and blog entries online in order to choose the best approach for working with this kind of lace.

In the end I decided that it is the best to try to underline it. What confused me was that I could not find any answers to whether adding a lining is a common thing to do once you have already underlined the lace or not. I decided to use lining on the bodice part, especially because the front and back yokes without the underlining could then be neatly sandwitched between the layers, but skipped it for the skirt, so that in the skirt part, the seam allowances are finished with bias tape and are visible on the inside.

However, it could be reasoned that since the typical instructions on underlining say that the pieces should be treated as one layer of fabric later on, adding a lining would also be ok.

The technique was new to me, but it was not hard or too time-consuming in my opinion, although some of the articles I read gave me the impression that it would be so.

The dress is actually a mix of two patterns : Simplicity 1415 for the bodice:

…and Burdastyle 8/2015 model 109 skirt, that I actually have already made as a skirt here.

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The bodice of the Simplicity 1415 really attracted me with its sharp angles between the bodice and the yokes, although they are maybe a bit less evident since the lace  is not straight. The pattern actually is for a bodice and a separate overlay, but I used a part of the overlay pattern to create the yokes.

Initially I was worried about how precise the connection between the two patterns at the waistline would be, because I just worked with them separately. Therefore the surprise was great when the two parts matched exactly! But the experience with the Simplicity pattern was that it seems to be designed for quite busty ladies, I had to take in quite a lot from the back and side seams but not at the waist!

I really like how the underlining is barely visible under the skirt, so it is hard to tell where it stops!

I also changed the placement of the invisible zipper. Originally it was meant to be in the center back seam, but I did not want to interrupt the lace, so I moved it to the side seam and now the back piece looks so much better as one!

 

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The neckline and the “armholes” were finished with lace applique trim that I cut off the rest of the lace and hand-stitched to the edges to achieve a similar look as the skirt, which was just cut with the selvage of the lace on the bottom. I could use the skirt I had already made using the same pattern to predict the desired length, since I could not have made any changes to the hem later!

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I did not specifically try to make the lace motifs match anywhere, but they do match in several seams which helps to create the illusion as if it was molded out of the fabric without cutting too much.

The lace itself is not really elastic, but the lining/underlining is and thanks to the structure of the lace, it also has some give, so although the dress is very fitted, it is surprisingly comfortable to wear!

Here are some dressform pictures as well (note that this is just a window decoration dressfrom from a shop that closed down, it is not in my measurements, thats why the fit is not that good):

The dress took me two weekends and about 30 euros to make, which I think was absolutely worth it.