Part 3 of how I made this wedding dress – the lace overlay.
The lace overlay was probably the hardest part of the dress and definitely the part I dreaded the most! The thought of cutting in expensive lace and possibly making a mistake really got my heart pumping! But I managed (and sewed grandma slow!) and I think it was worth the effort! The lace fabric that Jess settled on, came from New Zealand! We searched high and low, but we didn’t find anything that we liked and was in our price range! But Grace and Lace had all the answers!
First of all, bust out the good scissors (this is what you have been saving them for) or at the very least get yours sharpened! If you are really nervous I suggest buying some very cheap curtain lace that is a similar width to your lace to practice cutting out so that you know if you have bought enough. Or which way to cut it out. Jess wanted lace with a scolloped border, which is understandable because it looks AMAZING! But that means that your cutting out needs to be perfect! For this dress we put the scollop around the neck and back and around the hem line to get the best look. The only problem with this was – this pattern connected two pieces of fabric to create the neckline – so I had to create new pattern piece for the the bodice to get the full affect of the scollop.
1. Using your original toile pattern pieces for the bust – roughly sew them back together so you can make a new pattern piece for the the lace. This is the only new pattern piece you will need to create. I laid out a large piece of paper, and put the toile bodice piece down, you want the straight edge of the paper in line with the neck line – this is how you will get the scollop edge to be neckline. Trace along the bottom of the bodice – move the toile neckline along the straight line. Trace where the toile ends – you will have a large pattern piece, to make this fit you will need to put a dart under the arms, but it is worth the trouble to get the scollop to become the neckline.
2. Roll out lace and start placing the pattern pieces down. I did each piece separately, but on my toile I took the time to label every piece which side was the right side and which was the edge we wanted the scollop on. Once every piece was pinned down, I cut each one out and left them attached to the toile pieces so I didn’t need to label the lace.
3. At this point you will need to change the needle on your machine to make sure that it is for fine fabrics such as lace, you will also need to use a scrap of lace and practice sewing on it. You may need to change the tension so you get a nice smooth stitch. You can see the massive difference changing the tension can make.
4. Sew together the skirt pieces first. I recommend sewing this with french seams – this means sewing your fabric with the WRONG sides together (opposite of the normal way) and then trimming the seams and folding them back so the the seam is enclosed in a seam and is neat. It is a good idea to do this with a fine lace because overlocking would be very obvious and it gives the seams extra strength and looks finished! Pin together the pieces starting at the bottom making sure that the scollop edges match up. Leave the side open – on the same side as the zip.
5. Start the bodice – start by putting the bodice on yourself (Pin at top of the shoulder) pin in a dart so that the scollop forms the neckline. Pin in darts on both sides – sew them. Try on again and make sure you are happy with the scollop placement and if you are – trim away excess fabric from the back of the dart.
5. Attach the bodice front with the back under the arm and at the shoulders. Leave one side open to get on and off.
6. Using the french seam method attach the bodice to the skirt – leaving on side open.
7. Roll the arm holes in onto themselves and hand or machine sew down. Alternatively you could make very thin bias binding from the satin and bind around the arm holes.
8. Place the nearly finished lace over the finished satin dress – mark where is zip ends with a pin on the lace. Sew using french seams the open side seam – up to the mark of the zip.
9. To get in and out of the lace dress I used clear plastic press studs hand sewn up the sides. I thought a zip would of been way too obvious. By hand I sewed 5 press studs up the opening.
10. Try on both dresses! Finally I marked by hand where I wanted more press studs to go. I put them on the shoulders so the lace wouldn’t slip off, at the back of the open back so to didn’t move, the neck line and lastly under the bodice so it would sit tightly on Jess’s rib cage so the lace didn’t just hang.
11. Once that hand sewing was complete the last thing was to do was make 2 small cuts in the lace at the centre back seam. This was so that the button and loop would poke through and the lace could also be hooked up at the back.
12. COMPLETE! Congratulations you have made your own wedding dress!!!!!!!
See all the steps for this wedding dress
You can check out Jess’s final dress