Completed: My Valentine Dress

6 Mar

For the past couple of months, us Mood Sewing Networkers have been plotting to have a month where the entire group worked with a similar fabric. Lace was decided for March, and since I had already been lurking the lace selection and dreaming up options, I was 100% game. I was also inspired by Liz’s Macaron Lace Dress because GIRL(boy?), have you seen that shit?! so jealous. I thought it would be fun to have the dress ready for Valentine’s Day – I’m not really much of a Valentine’s person (this is like, one of maybe four Valentine’s EVER that I haven’t been single, aha), but it’s not too late to start yeah? Not to mention, if I had a fancy dress all ready to go we’d HAVE to end up doing something. Preferably something that involved gelato.

So, without further ado, I give you… my Valentine’s dress:
Lace Valentine's Dress

Lace Valentine's Dress
I bought my lace back in the very beginning of January – and then sat on it (well, not literally – that would get wrinkly) for nearly a month. I knew the minute I saw this red floral lace that it was ~the one~, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with it other than wrap my body up in it’s yardage. I couldn’t settle on an appropriate pattern – and when I finally did, the muslin was a DISASTUH (let’s not even go there), so it’s safe to say that about three weeks of that month were spent pouting and thinking I’d end up with a boring circle skirt.

Lace Valentine's Dress
I mean, I like circle skirts as much as the next gal, but I really like them when they are attached to a matching bodice, see.

Lace Valentine's Dress
In the end, I improvised and merged a few different patterns together to create my Frankenpattern Dream Dress: the bodice is McCall’s 5972, the sleeves are a vintage Butterick pattern, and the skirt is my self-drafted circle skirt. I’m actually surprised at how well everything fit together, it’s like I fulfilled some kind of pattern destiny or some shit.

Lace Valentine's Dress
I knew I wanted a substantial lace in a bright color (no whites or pastels for me, please), and while my original dream dress involved visions of navy, I knew this red lace was “the one” the second I laid eyes on it. It’s perfect for this type of dress – the pattern is large and bold, but held together with delicate netting which keeps the fabric from being too heavy. Since it’s a cotton lace, it will wear nicely in the summer as well as during the cooler months we’re in right now. The lacework is erratic enough where I didn’t have to worry too much about matching up the design at every seam line (just thinking about that is making me break out in a sweat, argh!).

Once thing I did notice with this particular lace is that the pattern runs parallel to the selvedge — so I had to adjust my pattern layout accordingly. This wasn’t difficult to do, and my lace was wide enough where I was able to get my pieces in there (including the full circle skirt) without too much fuss, but I thought I would point that out if you are thinking about working with directional lace. I’m so used to the pattern running perpendicular to the selvedge, I almost didn’t check before I started cutting

Lace Valentine's Dress
The dress is underlined with pink Bemberg Rayon – everything except the sleeves. I basted the pieces together by hand, using silk basting thread, around all edges and also along the dart lines. Then I sewed the dress up as normal, serging the seams as I went and pressing them flat.

Lace Valentine's Dress
I love that you can see a hint of tattoo through the lace sleeves 🙂

Lace Valentine's Dress
The sleeves posed a special challenge since they were unlined and I wasn’t sure how well that netting part would hold a seam. I had a small piece of pink cotton batiste in my stash that perfectly matched the underlining, so I cut long bias strips and bound the sleeve seams for extra stability. The resulting seam is very strong, and I love the little peek of pink that shows when I move my arm 🙂

I actually used that pink cotton to add a lot of special touches to an otherwise plain dress…

Lace Valentine's Dress
Facing the hem on the sleeves

Lace Valentine's Dress
Binding the armsyce seams (again for stability at an area that can get a lot of stress, and also because serging there would just be ugly)

Lace Valentine's Dress
Binding the waist seam

Lace Valentine's Dress
The neckline facing (label is from here, fyi!)

Lace Valentine's Dress
Piping the waistline (my favorite!!)

Lace Valentine's Dress
I mostly plan on wearing this with the satin bow (because I love looking like I’m wrapped up like a present), but I do like the way the dress looks with just the piping 🙂

Lace Valentine's Dress

Lace Valentine's Dress
I hemmed the skirt with 2″ white horsehair braid, since I wanted it to flare. Actually, hemming was the worst part – and not because it involved nearly 5 yards of hand-sewing. I could not decide how I wanted to treat the hem, since the lace is sheer and the braid would show through. The dress is underlined, including the skirt, but I was afraid that pulling the underlining all the way down to the bottom of the skirt would end up with some funky grain problems. In the end, I laid the skirt out VERY CAREFULLY on the floor and matched up the hems on the lining and lace, pinned everything together, and then stitched the braid on. There are a few areas where the fabric doesn’t hang *quite* right, but thankfully the giant circle skirt-ness of the whole thing kind of hides that.

Lace Valentine's Dress
Anyway, it’s TWIRLY ♥

All in all, I think it’s a pretty snazzy Valentine’s Day dress. Lookit how fancy me & Landon look!
We fancy ❤
And just for the record – my evening did involve gelato, whoop whoop!


90 Responses to “Completed: My Valentine Dress”

  1. Sarah March 6, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    Really beautiful, and so lovely the way you have finished all the little details with so much care. Did you find the lace tricky to sew or not so bad because it was cotton? Such a great project!

    • LLADYBIRD March 7, 2013 at 6:39 am #

      I found it quite simple to work with, although the underlining helped a LOT. Definitely underline- it gives the lace structure and makes it easier to handle 🙂

  2. biff March 6, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    Oh my, what gorgeousness. Please do tell how you inserted the zip. The last time I tried to do a zipper with a lace overlay I about killed myself. Any tips?

    • paisleyapron March 6, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

      Oops, my name is not biff…but it is a good one.

    • LLADYBIRD March 7, 2013 at 6:40 am #

      I just picked it in by hand :). I think the underlining really helped- it kept the lace from moving around too much. I usually just sew zippers in by hand if I think they’re going to be tricky- and I wanted to make sure the piping lined up right. You get so much more control by hand.

  3. Fwaire March 7, 2013 at 4:29 am #

    What a gorgeous dress!! 😀 So so pretty! 😀

  4. goodbyevalentino March 7, 2013 at 6:26 am #

    You’re amazing Lladybird! Thanks for the sleeve binding tip.

  5. Katy March 7, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    Wow, it’s so gorgeous. What a lovely valentine present you look 🙂 You are crazy talented, I don’t know how you keep it up! Long may you continue to inspire me 🙂

  6. sallie March 7, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    Just lovely! Lace is always pretty – but I love that you chose such a classic, feminine silhouette to pair it with. It’s like pb&j (or pb&chocolate?) – anyway, a perfect pair. And good for you guys for celebrating Valentine’s day!! Embrace the damn day, I say!

  7. Tina March 7, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    I love that cotton lace where did you find it? And how can I get some?!!!

  8. mokosha March 7, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    so pretty.. love the little details with piping and facings and everything, makes your dress look even more luxurious

  9. Jessica March 7, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing all the ways you made this special and how you dealt with stuff like seams in the unlined part.

    BTW, I read your post and thought, oh good, she’s got time before VDay. And then I realized – shit, I seem to have lost a month, that’s already passed, hasn’t it?

  10. zilredloh March 7, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    Your dress is lovely!!! Thanks for the props on mine btw. Yours reminds me of that lovely red lacy pushing daisies dress. Do you know the one I mean?!

    I finally can see what that sneak peek of waistline piping was for now! It looks divine on this dress and breaks up the lace a bit. Mega props on another awesome creation.

  11. Lucy March 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    All I can say is BEAUTIFUL…. and it fits you perfectly.

  12. missjoiedevivre March 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Holy shitballs this is incredible. Without a doubt you are my absolutely favourite blog to read, your stuff is beautiful, your writing is incredible, and you are so damn prolific! I can’t decide whether to be inspired for just sell everything now cos I’ll never be that brilliant. Only time will tell.

  13. Philippa March 8, 2013 at 3:01 am #


  14. sorbetsurprise March 8, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    Oh I love that fabric! I also love how sometimes it looks pink and sometimes red in your pictures as it looks so good in both! Really love the sleeve length!

  15. MariaDenmark March 8, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Oh wow! Great work! You look marvellous! And I love the label!

  16. kkegeland March 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    im obsessed with adding piping to waistbands too! good choice 😉

  17. notches and notions March 9, 2013 at 4:44 am #

    Love your tag “this took forever”, I hear you! He he!

  18. deanna March 9, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    This is a great dress. You did a fantastic job. And the bow really dresses it up.

  19. crystalpleats March 9, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    Beautiful dress and a fun occasion to wear it.

  20. zoe March 10, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Oh so pretty!!!! That Franken-pattern is the shizzle! xxxx

  21. Kimberly March 11, 2013 at 6:34 am #

    omg piping at the waist = brilliant!

  22. kimmie March 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    This is simply gorgeous…Who doesn’t go apeshit for a twirly dresss? I know I do. Also, your labels are adorable and I wish I could sew just for labels like that. I think I am gonna steal my mom’s old 60’s singer soon and give it a go. When I make that step, I will be picking your brain.

  23. Rebecca March 11, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    I love love love your dress!! It’s absolutely beautiful 🙂 I’ve recently been adding circle skirts to different bodices as well. They always look lovely and of course fun to twirl in!

    • Rebecca March 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      P.S. I think I recall seeing your early works on craftster!

  24. Becca March 25, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    This is absolutely gorgeous! All of your finishing touches (facings, bindings and pipings) make this dress really special. The dress looks great with and without the satin bow, but I share your love of belts and bows. 🙂 Oh, and twirling around in a dress with a circle skirt is always fun, and it never gets old. This post makes me think that I really need to get around to making an all lace dress. Love it!

  25. Portia May 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Lovely dress!!! I just bought McCall’s M6754 and started dreaming of all the possibilities. Then I stumbled upon your site and saw this dress and it was EXACTLY what I had envisioned. I do have a question though: I’m totally apprehensive about using rayon for an underlining because of how it can pill and run. Do you ever have this issue when using it? Especially when you add the lace, it seems like a super delicate dress…. and I’m not a super delicate dress kind of girl. I gotta have a fabric that can hold up and take my abuse, lol.

    • LLADYBIRD May 13, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      I’ve never had that issue with my rayon as a lining or underlining. Hm, I wonder if you’re thinking about the same rayon that I use? It’s the Bemberg rayon Ambience lining – it’s an actual slinky lining, not a fabric that is used as lining (if that makes sense). I can assure you I am *not* delicate with my clothes and I’ve never had an issue with my lining pilling or tearing away.

  26. Hannah February 20, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    Love the dress, really cute.



  1. Weekend sewing inspiration | Go To Sew - March 9, 2013

    […] Lladybird made a red lace frankendress and it looks lovely. […]

  2. Completed: A Lacy Georgia (+ a giveaway!) | LLADYBIRD - February 19, 2014

    […] I *love* the excuse it gives me to make a new dress specially for going out. Last year I wore red lace, this year I decided to go with… lace again. Except this time, I thought I’d ramp up the […]

Yay, comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: