I was invited to an old school friends wedding reception this month, and I wanted to wear something pretty but not too formal. The Grace dress sprang to mind straight away. I got the pattern free with a copy of Love Sewing magazine and loved the lace overlay version of it.
I also wanted to use up the fabric that I have been hoarding away in my stash. Luckily I bought some black lace back during my holiday to the Somerset last summer from Fabric Land, Bristol. The fabric was around £4.99 a meter. I bought 2 meters of it and never had any idea what I could make with it! As it was my first time working with lace, I wanted to use a pattern which I had made before and had a simple construction.
The pattern itself has a gathered skirt, lined bodice, and a waistband. I first made the dress last summer out of a cotton liberty print poplin, where I fully lined the whole dress.
Although the dress fits quite well, it gapes a bit around the shoulders and armhole. Therefore with the lace version, I decided to attempt to do a full bust adjustment (FBA), which I had never done before! I used a variety of books and websites to help with my FBA, and I think the fit turned out perfect, however, I don’t know if it was more luck than skill!
With the liberty print dress, I cut out a size 12, based on my full bust measurement. However with the lace dress I cut out a size 10 (based on my high bust measurement) and graded back out to a size 12 at the waist, otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to breathe! I think the lace dress has a much better fit around the waist and bodice, and I feel like it looks a lot more flattering, especially for evening occasions.
The lining of the dress is a mixture of some scrap black fabric for the bodice and some cream peachskin fabric for the skirt. I bought both fabrics from The fabric Room. The black fabric is called “Flippa”, it was £3 pm, the black is now out of stock, however, you can get other colours here. The cream fabric is a gorgeous and drapey peachskin which can be found here, and best of all it is only £2 pm! I highly recommend the Fabric Room for great plain fabrics, however, the catch is you have to order a minimum of 3 meters.
As the lace had a fair amount of stretch to it, I struggled at times to match up the lining bodice and skirt. However, once everything was in place I just topstitched the top and bottom part of the bodice in place. This also helped me at a later stage when I was inserting the invisible zip.
Unfortunately, when It came to inserting the zip I did come across a few problems! The first time inserting the zip (perfectly I hasten to add!), the waist was just a tad too big and it looked a bit frumpy and odd. So I painstakingly unpicked it! I then quickly found out that unpicking lace is the root of all evil and probably the reason I will not work with lace for quite some time! Once I had unpicked it, I then reinserted the zip to then find out it didn’t sit right, this is where a few tears were shed! With the third insertion of the zip and a lot of pins on the floor and thread everywhere, I then noticed the zip was a little wonky at the waist. For my own sanity, I left it and just ignored the fact that I have a wonky zip. If I can’t see it, it’s not there right? In hindsight, I may go back to it in a few months time and reinsert it, although I really don’t know if the material is up for it…
You will also notice that the back is a lot deeper than the pattern, I decided to lower the back to give it more of an evening look. I love the neckline and back of the dress. Just a shame about the train wreck of the zip! We live and learn!
Overall I am pretty happy with the dress. I love how it fits my body much more than the liberty print dress and I adore the little lace detail at the bottom. Although there were a few hiccups along the way and the elephant in the room is that horrid zip! I really enjoyed wearing it and felt great given the time constraints that I had.
I am sure you can all agree that sewing brings many joys in life, but when one thing goes wrong, it can be one of the hardest and most frustrating things to fix!