Lace in fashion

I still have a subscription to Stitches magazine and there are issues that I flick through and never absorb. In Vol 18 no 10, there is a story about Lace in fashion showing at the National Gallery in Victoria until January 2011. What caught my eye was a dress by Pierre Balmain made in 1966.

After doing a bit of thinking, I found two knit fabrics in my stash. One is a black net with lace outline and the other is a plain poly knit with a some texture. I think these were remnants from Pitt Trading years ago.

The photo doesn’t really show the texture on the solid knit. What this did give me was the fabric to make a similar styled dress.

I decided to keep the neckline the same and the dress body sheath was easy to do with this knit fabric.

The next step was to find a similar pattern in my stash to use for this pattern.

I chose Simplicity 2615 as the basis for the dress. You can see the a pencil drawn yolk line that starts under the sleeve and curves up to the center front. There is also a roll shoulder adjustment and I took out some fullness after making up the dress yesterday.

Once I traced the design lines onto the pattern I cut out the pieces and sewed it up. 
To overcome any slippage I used a walking foot.
This is one of my latest foot purchases since coming back from convention. I saw how people use the different feet on their machines and how this improves the quality of their work, so I’m really happy this my new foot. The foot was good to use on the lace netting because it kept the fabric together and the french seams were easy to produce.
At Rhodes yesterday Sharon and Wendy tidied up the fit. Simplicity 2615 has tons of ease because it has gathering, so we easily took out at least 5 cm off the side seams.


Here is the finished dress and below are the finished pattern pieces that I traced off the finished dress.

As you can see from my design, I have only included one layer of lace to keep the emphasis on my face. I still love the original Balmain version and would have loved to be tall enough to carry it off confidently.


Here’s what I did on Sunday afternoon…I did a spot of fabric colouring.


The short pants on the left are my favourite weekend/cycling pants that I can’t stop wearing. The pants on the right were a beige drill cotton pair that I got when I was a road cycling volunteer at the Sydney Olympics. This pair are my trusty gardening pants.
My cycling duds became a very pale grey and now with a cold water dye bath, they’re back to their former dark green shade. On the other hand, the gardening pants are definitely lighter and a very’nothing’ green.
I’ve become very curious about fabric colouring because recycling has become important. My view is that I want to know how to colour fabric so that if I need a particular colour, but can’t find it for a garment, then I can create the colour on white, or build the shade I want. 

I got an idea to do a stove top dye method using DH’s outdoor bbq on the stir fry element. He wasn’t to thrilled with this idea, but he suggested buying a gas burner to do some outdoor stove top dyeing. I may have plant this idea in his mind…maybe he’ll surprise me?

Too tight – V1020

So after making the top View B, at ASG in September I thought it would be cool to see how the dress version would work out. I decided to use a green brown poly cotton print to deal with the close fit and my bumps/curves.


This is the photo used on the pattern.
Maybe with some photoshop work – nah.

So I did the roll shoulder adjustment, lowered the front neckline (really), added some butt room and still had to add a side piece for comfort.

Yes. Too tight. So I’ve learnt a few lessons here. The main one is don’t glue dresses on when you’re not 20 anymore 🙂

By the way, thank you to Aroura from PR review for helping me with my lack of photo linking knowledge. You’re a real gem.

24/10/2010 – I’ve now added a 5cm piece down the side with the zipper and it fits, without looking like it’s been spray painted on. 🙂 I’m happy with it now.


This morning I took these photos and then decided to place them with the Opera House in the background, in memory of Dame Joan Sutherland. It’s been ages since I went to the opera and now I have a little black dress to either style up or down, depending on the moment.

I hope to have a few family celebrations coming up in the new year too. I hope this gets you to the photo bucket pictures. I promise to get better at this soon.

LBD – B5314

On Friday I had an idea. Now it’s a little black dress and an entry in two Pattern Review contests.Butterick 5314 is a dress pattern that I’ve had for a while, when I did a big shop online. So I’ve entered the pattern stash competition. This will help get through the patterns, and also decide which patterns need to go.

Fitted dresses are good for my shape and height (short).

I recently met my older nephew’s steady girlfriend and all I could see was a really happy young couple, and so after putting 2 and 2 together, I’m thinking next year might be the year for an engagement. Hence, a new LBD for that formal lunch or celebratory drinks at night…
Here’s a sneak peek. Tomorrow I need to do at least three photos as I’ve entered the LBD competition too. There are 3 days to go for the LBD.

So the bust point was repositioned, more room was added for my behind, the armhole base was dropped, the V opening was lowered and I’ve used a stretch woven and lined the dress. Because black on black is hard to see at night, I’ve used dark navy lining, dark navy invisible zip and dark brown thread for the seams. I’ve hand stitched in black thread.
Tomorrow I’ll post the real pics, so you can see the dress fit.


On the last day of the sewing convention, I chose to do a wrap with Nola Sterling and learn more about free sewing. Here’s the blue wrap. It has a combination of flec wool and real home spun wool.

Below is the underside. This has the very blue real wool layer.

 Here’s a closer look at the free machine stitching and pearl cording.

 This is the red wrap and it has a hole at one end so you can thread the wrap into itself.

 This is a close up of the stitching.

This is the underlayer with a darker red using white thread. It’s a real mess but that stitching is how this is all held together.

We used a wash away material to lay down the threads, wool, laces if you have any etc. Then you sandwich the ‘wools’ and start free sewing away. It took some getting used to and it is great if you are not feeling very accurate. The washaway material took 5 minutes to dissolve under warm water and what you see is the result.

I’ll use this technique for special collars on winter jackets next year. It’s spring now so these two wraps are going into storage.

BTW, my niece caught me sewing while she and her brother were with me yesterday and she shouted to her brother ‘Come and see aunty’s knitting machine.’ When her brother raced into the room he took in the ‘knitting’ things I have in my room and he asked, ‘can you make my sister a scarf?‘ They’re just so hug-able. I think I’ll be having a craft session with them next time they come over. PS Happy Columbus Day.

Weekend finishes

Last weekend was a three day weekend – of rain. While most people feel it limits what you can do, it’s also always perfect sewing weather (yay).

I did no sewing during the week so I left it all for the weekend. My sewing room is still in post-sewing convention mode. I did a few fix it jobs, so that I can concentrate on PR Review’s pattern stash competition. I’ll aim to use the patterns that I bought earlier this year from BMV.
What I’m also thinking of doing using my green fabric stash too. As at this moment, Therisa has already gained 8 points and used over 15yds of fabric, so the pace has been set. You go girl.

The skirt below was the result of an embellishing workshop I did at convention with Nola Sterling. She’s an energetic and very giving tutor. She can’t do enough for you. The skirt is Mccalls 8972 (oops) and I just love the yoke with pockets style, view H.
So the skirt attachment remains unfinished because I’m still deliberating on whether I attach this or not. I’m not sure if the attachment is my style however, this is a weekend skirt.

The main part of the workshop with Nola was using an embellishing machine. It really blew my mind. Sewing without thread and still having the ability to attach fabric together. I’m still getting my head around this. 

By the way, the green/grey stripy top is one that I made a couple of years ago. I sewed in the silver sleeves and some silver on the neckline so it looks like two tops.

I had another go at the neckline of the shiny blue dress below and then also trimmed the side seams in for a closer fit and raised the skirt hem. I was feeling pretty ‘mother of the bride’ in this dress, so it might stay in the closet for a while.