Lace Chatter

I sent off another bride with her newly-altered dress this week and now I'm not quite sure what to do with myself!

Truth be told, I had a chance to pick up another wedding dress alteration gig for November but the bride called me on a particularly trying day in my world of potty training, homeschooling, and housekeeping and I told her I was taking a month or two off.  A decision I am slightly regretting now that I realize I could use a trip to the hairdresser for a highlight or two hundred and a little extra spending money would be nice.

After that other big wedding dress job in March, I received a delightfully simple wedding dress in May, so I was good and ready for another biggie in August.  That's the dress I just finished and it was a learning experience.  Aren't all sewing projects?  When friends asked what the bridal gown looked like, I explained that it was a tulle explosion.  A very pretty tulle explosion of a wedding dress.

The bride arrived with a sweetheart strapless (lace-up) bridal gown and commissioned me to make long lace sleeves.  (It also required taking in, hemming, and a six point bustle, but that was all pretty standard stuff. :o)

The original gown had corded lace so it seemed only right to match it with more of the same.  I enjoy working with Alencon lace which is probably an excellent thing since I've been spending such large quantities of time with it this year!

Photo Credit --
This pretty lace pictured is the one my bride ordered online for her sleeves.  The sleeves were off the shoulder and the plan was to use these two scalloped edges at the top and bottom of the sleeves and fill in the trunk of the sleeves with a full-floral lace.  Unfortunately, when the laces came in (a mere three weeks before the wedding day, I might add), they didn't work together and were two different shades of off white.  In fact, if I didn't know better, I would have assumed the floral lace was straight-up white.

The dangers of ordering online, right?  We formulated a Plan B that involved using the net shawl that came with the bridal gown (yay for perfectly matching bridal net!) to create a lace fabric long enough for the sleeves she wanted.

I love that you can cut this kind of lace apart and piece it together and no one is the wiser, but gosh, I wish it were a faster process.

All said and done, with two yards of the original lace, I ended up with four yards of scalloped trim and fourteen appliques to work with.  I arranged them, photographed them, and texted the bride a bunch of variations of this:

On a side note, before buying this lace, please take into account that the scallops are NOT symmetrical.  Those half circles have a long side and a short side but they do not alternate at any point to create a perfectly symmetrical pattern. They march along in one direction.  Thankfully, it is not noticeable to most people -- probably just to the person (me! me! me!) trying their darnedest to make the measurements all work ;).
Sewing the lace to the net ended up being simple enough.  Extremely, prohibitively, time consuming, but easy to do.  With the first sleeve, I carefully pinned and sewed from the top.  This gave fantastic results but I wondered if it might be even more time consuming than it needed to be.  The second time around, I pinned the lace on the front...

...and flipped the whole shebang over and sewed entirely on the backside.  While propped on the couch watching TV.

Oh bother.  Ignore the late night photo cropping problems?
Did this speed up the lace sewing?  I think so.  Maybe it was only ten minutes faster, but it did seem more efficient to stay entirely "on top" of the fabric instead of having to work front to back.  I didn't have to deal with as much thread knotting or unnecessary stitching.  It was (very, very, slightly) more pucker-y in the net around the appliques, but not enough to worry about.

I bet you wish you could see the final product!  I wish you could too.  Honestly, I forgot to take a picture of the dress when it was finished.  This is all I have:

Can you tell what's going on there?  That's the sleeve on top of the dress.  We also put a strip of the scalloped lace across the front of the dress behind the original beaded sweetheart neckline.  Maybe this will help -- this is the Vogue sewing pattern I modified:

Photo credit -- Vogue Pattern V2842
Imagine a {very pretty} tulle explosion of a dress with a beaded sweetheart and this general look of a lace bodice neckline and sleeves added on.   You totally get that from this picture, right?

Ha!  Well, you can't say I didn't try to show you ;o).

Alright kids, I have lemon bars to finish and a "good morning note" to write and a husband to wake up (he's out cold on the couch) and send to bed.  The day is done over here.

Good night!

p.s.  9/21/16  -- My bride texted a wedding day photo of her dress and she looked positively lovely.  In a world of mostly strapless dress (which I'm not knocking, btw -- I wore one!) a dress with sleeves really does make a statement. Especially as the weather begins to turn.  So pretty!


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