OK, so my lace addiction is so well documented by now, no need to make any lame excuses... I saw a dress kind of similar to this in a boutique window and I wanted to make something like... as well, the Dolce and Gabbana Spring 2011 is a big inspiration and I've bookmarked a few looks for my inspiration folder. Didn't want to go crazy over the top with lace however as this is more than well represented in my wardrobe already, hehe...
I had bought the fabric a few months back and thought about it for a while, as you do... when I got the urge to embark on it one Sunday lunchtime I set myself a little challenge. I decided to see if I could get a whole dress finished by the end of the day. And I'm happy to say that, apart from the hem, I did. Including the Hong Kong finishing to the seams, and hand-stitching the bodice facing on the inside and to the zip tape; and hand-stitching the lace on the midriff. I had only bought about 70-75cm of this Italian lace (rough measure, because they do not cut motifs in half, obviously) which was just perfectly the exact right length to go around the midriff with the tiniest of leftovers, and very fortunately the lace motifs matched up perfectly so that two were perfectly and evenly spaced on the front, and three were perfectly and evenly spaced on the back. This serendipity of perfect spacing is a matter of pure luck, not clever planning; the patron saint of dressmakers was truly smiling upon me that afternoon! (and, who is the patron saint of dressmakers, btw?)
(at left, the front; at right, the back)
As usual the hem took a few weeks of further contemplation... I finished it this morning, so I'll be able to wear it out to a dinner with friends tonight. Because I decided I wanted the dress longish, like the Dolce and Gabbana collection, I made a wide bias hemming strip. Hemming in this way gives you the high quality of a deep hem without any loss of length; for this I used for this the same black cotton as the Hong Kong binding.
The fabric; the bodice is slippery-dippery ivory silk crepe and faced in the same fabric; the skirt is a divine-to-work-with nubbly linen/cotton mix, with woven pinstripes in charcoal and ivory. The skirt is unlined as I want it to be cool in summer, and anyhow I felt it unnecessary to line this one. Just a dressmaker's instinct.
The pattern; I've used this New Look 6699 pattern quite a lot, and made just a few adjustments to get the look and silhouette I wanted for this dress; demonstrated in the pictures below. Firstly, the zip has been inserted in the left side seam rather than the centre back. This allowed me to eliminate the whole centre back seam and the back pieces are cut as one piece each (see below left, these pieces are all cut on the fold). Not having a centre back seam enables the details of the beautifully worked lace to stand out and shine, uninterrupted by a distracting cut-and-join right in the middle.
I wanted for the skirt to be slightly long and A-line rather than a pencil style, so tapered the sides out just a little (pictured above left). The bodice in this pattern has a sun-dress style of shoulder strap at the back, which incidentally I've never used and did NOT want for this dress either; way too casual a look. So the back bodice piece and shoulder strap piece were pinned together and the back bodice cut as one piece, (pictured above right).
Dress; based on New Look 6699, ivory silk and charcoal pinstriped linen
Shoes; Sandler (I've had these for years)