Sunday, October 24, 2021

A Black Lace Dress for my Cousin's Wedding (Vogue 9076)

 I had a cousin get married in September. Now I'm sure I probably already had a dress in my closet that would have been perfectly fine to wear to a wedding, but what's the fun in that? I wanted to make a new dress, and I decided a wedding was the perfect excuse to use up some fancy fabric I had in my stash - black net lace to be exact.

I acquired this lace off the clearance rack at Joann's two or three years ago. I bought 3 yards, enough for, well, something, but I had no plans for it what so ever at the time of purchase. It was just pretty, and a really good deal.

Every so often, when going through my fabric stash, I would come across the lace and try to figure out what I wanted to make with it - to no avail. Finally, sometime over the summer, after my wedding was done and I could think about other sewing projects again, I decided I was going to use the lace to make myself a dress for my cousin's wedding. What would this dress look like? I had no idea.

I went through my pattern stash to see if anything stood out to me that would work well with the border print of the lace. Vogue 9076 caught my eye. Those bishop sleeves would look fabulous in lace! It would be a tight fit to get this dress out of only 3 yards of material, especially since I wanted to pay attention to what parts of the dress I wanted to cut from what parts of the lace, but I thought it was doable.

Once I had a pattern picked out, I needed to decide what I material would use to line the lace with. Lace is great, but it needed the right base to shine to its fullest!
I pulled several different options out of my stash, but none looked quite right under the lace. Either they were too dark so there wasn't enough contrast between the base fabric and the lace, or they were too pale and the difference between the fabric and the lace was too stark. After a few weeks of failing to choose something out of my stash, I resorted to going to a local sewing room that sells donated fabric by the pound to see if they had anything that would work.

There I found a nice heavy purplish-blue satin which felt amazing and looked fabulous under my black lace! I cut out all the bodice pieces, the sleeve cuffs (but not the sleeves themselves), and the A-line skirt pieces included in the pattern out of the satin. 
The pattern featured gathers on the front skirt panels, but not the back the back skirt panels. I decided the satin was too heavy to gather nicely with my lace. I eliminated the gathers from the front panels by narrowing them a bit and cut the whole satin skirt just as a plain, gather-less, A-line.

As for the lace layer, I wanted all the gathers there! Also, the border on the lace wouldn't really work well with the curved hem of an A-line skirt pattern. So, I cut my lace in half right down the middle of the yardage. One half would be gathered up to make the skirt, and the bodice and sleeves would be cut from the other half.

Once everything was cut out, I started by assembling the satin skirt - pockets, hem and all. Then I sewed up the back seam on the lace skirt and gathered it onto the satin skirt.

I didn't want any more seams in the lace skirt than was absolutely necessary so I just cut slashes in the lace for the pockets and front opening, then whip stitched the lace to the edges of the pocket openings and the front placket on the satin skirt. Since the lace wasn't going to fray at all, this worked well.

These openings were then completely hidden and unnoticeable in all the gathers in the lace

See any pocket openings? Me neither, but they're there!

The edge of the lace actually wasn't scalloped, it featured a wide, rather unevenly sewn, stripe of embroidery, that just wasn't as pretty as I wanted. So, I cut that off. I trimmed around the scallops embroidered above the stripe, and was left with just the scalloped edge I wanted!

Once that was done, the skirt was ready to go, it just needed a bodice to be attached too!
I assembled the satin and lace layers as one, then finished the bodice off with facings.

The bodice instructions annoyed me. If followed, they leave a whole lot of internal seams raw that can be easily covered and beautifully finished if one just attaches all the facings a bit differently than instructed and does a bit of hand sewing. Now, I don't mind raw seams on the insides of some projects, but this was a fancy dress. I wanted the inside to look nice, because they so easily could!

So, as per usual, I ignored the instructions for the most part, did my own thing, and am very pleased with the results!

I gave making my own button loops a go, (I did it just fine for my wedding dress!) but this satin did not want to play nice with that plan and the results were less than satisfactory. So I went with plan B,  bought some black soutache cord, and made the button loops from that. 

I finished the dress up with black plastic shank buttons down the front, and black plastic 4-hole buttons on the cuffs (because I ran out of the shank buttons). 

Buttons on, a few hooks and eyes on the skirt placket below the waist, and we were good to go!

The wedding was held at a winery and it was beautiful!

 The food was good and the company was even better!

Between the wedding and the reception my brother took a few pictures of my dress for me.

The long lace sleeves were just perfect for an outdoor late September wedding!

Not too hot in the warm afternoon sun, but just enough to keep me from getting cold when the sun went down and it got chilly.

I think a wedding was the perfect excuse to finally get this lace out of my fabric stash!