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!






Sewing Again

I am glad to report that all the marking is completed and instead of my sewing table looking like this


it now looks like this.


That’s better.

Thank you all so very much for your constructive feedback, encouraging and motivating comments on the green linen dress. I’m sorry I didn’t reply to each one but you know I’ve been busy. And for the curious: I mark A-Level Psychology exams – the debates and science module. If I have to read one more discursive essay on Psychodynamic theory I think I’ll go a little neurotic myself. Because of your interest in the dress, it will be finished but not before I do this.

We are overjoyed at being invited to an unexpected family wedding – it’s a long story (isn’t it always when families are involved?) but suffice to say, everyone is best friends again and what better way to celebrate?


The wedding is in Castle Leslie. Those of you (like me) who are unaware of this ancestral home just let me say Paul McCartney and Heather Mills – but let’s hope that’s not an omen!


So, it’s going to be a fancy affair.  I need an outfit suitable to the surroundings.



After much internet and soul searching, couture books brought out and rifled through, Susan Khaljie’s couture dress class purchased and watched – I’m ready to cut out and sew!

I have lace, satin backed crepe, organza underlining, lining, boning, invisible zip, thread and a pattern. I’m doing slow and couture techniques.

Georgia By Hand London, won the contest.

Here’s some of the inspiration that got me started – yes, that is a Pinterest board! And so far, this is where I am……


Attempting to match the lace motifs – It’s impossible!


Tread marking for seams and hem and marker for the scalloped lace edge to be hand sewn to.


Organza underling


Three back panels pinned on Doris – see, can’t match that lace over six skirt panels

Lots to do, so I’m off to do it.