Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Bodice and Lace


I killed dead things yesterday – that means I was very busy. And, I just heard that I’m Pattern Review’s featured member! Don’t really know what that means but it’s nice anyway.

I know all those couture sewing techniques are fiddly and thread tracing and lace placement and toile fitting takes loads of time but actually, once all that is completed, actually sewing the dress took hardly any time at all. Well, the skirt bit of it anyway.


I had to rip out the front left hand panel and make a new one. Even though I can’t match the lace motifs across the seams, I can do better than this….


I have sewn the lace in as part of the dress, ie it is caught in the seams but is floating over the panels, just like an underlining but on the top. I was going to to sew each motif to the satin but that was actually a pointless activity. I sorta like how there are little ripples of satin underneath – it shows that the lace is still an overlay.

Now to the hem. Most lace overlay dresses have the lace the same length or longer than the skirt but I really like the lace being shorter by about 2″ – it’s more unusual (and I think easier to hem).

I had already traced out on each skirt panel where the scalloped edge would finish and cut the lace panels to fall short of this so that there wouldn’t be a proliferation of lacy things around my knees. I cut the scalloped edge and prayed that the measurements were right – this is not a cheap lace.

I separated the scallop


Pinned and tacked this onto the hem. Sewed around the leaves and flowers by hand to secure it.

Then cut away (very, very carefully) the excess net, and the little bits of motifs that lay underneath to clean it up a bit. I had to attach the scallop edge this way to keep it whole, as I knew those stalagmites would get cut off and lost in the seams if I cut the skirt panels to the edge of the lace.


I know it’s a little ‘busy’ in places where the scallops run close to a motif – but heck, I’m an amateur and that’s what you get! And if any of you wedding dress experts make a comment  – ******! The scalloped edge now hangs free of the dress, adding to the overlay effect. I had to hang the skirt on Doris as I sewed to make sure everything was lying smooth. By the way, I haven’t sewn the left hand seam yet.

One of the nice problems about sewing your own clothes is the choices you have – sometimes too many – I need a decision about the bodice, so over to you for favourite lace placement on the bodice……..


Upside down scallop with stalagmites to mirror the hemline


Scallop straps extending over the bodice


Just the lace motifs like the rest of the dress with satin straps


Half cup scallops on bodice only


Upside down scallops hanging loose over the bust

So I’ll get cracking on attaching the bodice to the skirt.


Oh and another choice – same length opera coat or short cropped jacket? Or maybe both, because –  I can!






35 thoughts on “Bodice and Lace

  1. Hi there Ruth,

    Isn’t it coming along beautifully.

    My choice would be picture number 2 for the dress – lace motif as the rest of the dress, and the coat. I have seen pictures of you in the coat and I think the style suits you so well. Will be chic and elegant with the dress. Will you be leaving the coat/or jacket plain, or adorned??

  2. Great progress! My vote would be for the longer coat. You are going to look as though you live in that castle 😉

  3. I love you in that longer coat- so Joan Fontaine- you have my vote

  4. My choice would be the scallop straps, but I’m bust-adverse. and the coat!

  5. I say go for the last choice and the coat.

  6. I like the first bodice choice and either coat would be gorgeous.

  7. Ruth, when I did my motifs I cut out spare motifs and appliqued them on to my dress so that they went across the seams, that way you don’t get the cut in half look – however it is still looking stunning – I vote for the long coat too

  8. I vote for the long coat and the scallop straps. I think it balances with the hem without shouting “here comes my bust!” 🙂 You are going to look bee-you-tee-full.

  9. I vote for “Upside down scallops hanging loose over the bust” WITH lace straps. That may require extra piecing. or handsewn motifs on the straps.

  10. I like the first bodice option the most. You’ve made an opera coat before and it was fab but would it conceal the dress too much?

    This will look great and better still on you!

  11. Scallop straps and opera coat

  12. Personally I like the first version of the bodice but you know in 3-D what is the best choice. The opera coat would look best with that version. The short swing coat would be better with the other bodice versions. IMO. Love fancy weddings. Have a great time.

  13. This dress is going to be stunning Ruth. I love the colour and the lace. My preference for the lace placement would be the last photo with the upside down scallops hanging loose over the bust, but I do love the look of the lace over the straps too. I’m sure whatever way you choose will look fabulous. Definitely go for the short coat. You don’t want to hide that beautiful dress. I’m following your progress with great interest.

  14. Hi Ruth.
    My you have been busy.
    I like the last one , the upside down scallops. And just to be different I like the cropped jacket. If it was really short it would show off your waist in the fitted dress. And , as the wedding is in July there’s a chance you might not need a coat despite it being in Ireland !
    Sew far sew good . Evelyn

  15. This is awesome ~ the dress is just gorgeous! Personal fav would be #2. Whatever style you choose (lace placement and coat length) you will make your own … as you always do … J

  16. So pretty, Ruth. And your side panels are perfectamundo. Gosh, coverup is a hard choice isn’t it? A full length is always elegant, with a bracelet length sleeve. But capelet types seem popular as well and would showcase that beautiful lace detail rather than hide it. Or a pretty silk knit a little closer to the body…I know you’ll find the perfect one! Are you wearing gloves? Looking forward to your next update.

  17. Sorry, back again! I was going to say, if you choose the longer coat, just think it will have an extra WOW factor when you take it off ( it will be a warm day) and reveal the dress in all its splendour ……………..and people will get a glimpse /reveal of the dress as you walk with the coat on.

    You will look stunning. So excited and looking forward to seeing the pictures when the dress is done. Have you decided on a hat style??

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