Edited on 11-26-14 to add pictures of the lace layout
After several weeks and a whole lotta muslins, it’s done! This is going to be my Christmas Party Dress. So settle in; this one is long and picture-heavy.
Pattern Description: “ALISHA DRESS: A wonderful party dress complete with a slip. Use scalloped lace to create beautiful and interesting neckline. The lace edge can also be used on the hem and sleeves. This pattern can be made many ways – all lace, lace yokes & sleeves with plain body, or completely plain. The choice is yours!”
Sizing: 4-30. I used a 10
Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff home machine for the lace dress, Juki home machine for the slip dress.
Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle. Thread. Silk Organza. Invisible zipper
Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix.
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes.
How were the instructions? Not great. The slip is easy-peasy, but the over dress can be tricky, especially at the collar. This is not a pattern for beginners. StyleArc’s instructions are somewhat variable. In this case they did a decent job of explaining the collar construction (it’s a wraparound collar) as long as you’re working with a non-lacy fabric (more about that in the Construction Notes), but there was an omission elsewhere – they don’t tell you to attach the back bodice to the back.
All that said, This pattern is drafted beautifully, and if you have experience with sewing construction, you will get great results. This pattern is rated by StyleArc as “challenging”, and that is a fair assessment
Construction Notes: First off, you can see the Slip Dress Construction here. And you can see the fitting work that I did with Phyllis In This Post. Making the muslins (I made three altogether) took the most time, but I think it was worth every second. The fringe benefit of making three muslins? By the time I cut into my lace, I had the construction process down pat. After I finished the final muslin and was satisfied, I cut it apart and used it for the pattern pieces. The nice thing about that is that any asymmetric fitting adjustments get transferred directly to the lace.
I constructed the dress differently from the way StyleArc recommended. First, the instructions tell you to sew a seam to the pivot point on the collar/shoulder seam, then lift your presser foot, clip to the needle, pivot and continue sewing the rest of the seam. That will work okay in a fabric that is tightly woven, but lace? It’s 90% air. Chances are pretty high that you will clip to a point that gives you a big ol’ hole at the pivot if you do it that way. Instead, cut a small square of silk organza and center that over the pivot point. Staystitch that in place by stitching right along the seamline:
Clip to the pivot point before you stitch. Then you can easily maneuver the pivot and stitch the seams.
I used a Hong Kong Finish on all my seams using bias strips of red silk organza from my stash.
I used a lightweight, soft tape Lampo invisible zipper that I got at Botani in NY when I was there last month. It makes a huge difference to use a lightweight tape on a fabric like lace. I finished the edges of the zipper tape with silk organza.
Some other notes: I was careful about matching patterns across seam lines where I could (on the back)
And I thought rather hard and long before cutting about how to match up the lace scallops at the hems and sleeves:
Likes/Dislikes: This is a beautiful dress. It’s beautifully drafted, and I love the design details StyleArc added to work with scalloped lace. The downside is the instructions, but it’s not a beginner pattern, and if you have been sewing for a while, you can figure it out without trouble. Do make sure to do a fitting muslin. Most StyleArc’s fit me without too many alterations but this one needed a bunch to get the look I wanted.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Would I do it again? Yes. Will I do it again? Probably not – unless DH and I decide to renew our vows for our 30th anniversary, in which case I might make it in ivory, and if we renew them in Australia, which is my dream, I would invite Chloe and the ladies :).
Would I recommend it? Absolutely!
Conclusion: I’m psyched to wear this to DH’s company party next week! Here are the front and back views on Shelley. I’ll try to post pictures of me in it.
Well that was a tome. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving (in the US) and a great weekend (everywhere)!