It was love at first sight when I saw this simple lace dress on the September 2012 cover of burdastyle. The original fabric, which I adore, costs OMG 85 Euros per meter excluding shipping from Europe. Despite searching high and low, I simply wasn’t able to find 3D lace at an affordable price.
Well, not until recently when I realized I could buy fabric from taobao.com, China’s version of ebay. I’ve only seen this 3D lace in red and green and decided to go for the latter since green has always been my favorite color. Moreover, emerald green is Pantone’s color of the year, so what better time than this to sew something in green? So, I chose this 3D lace which cost me US$22 per meter (2 metres were used) and underlined it with a silk/cotton blend fabric in the same shade of green. Both fabrics can be hand washed which are huge bonuses!
The dress was meant for my Valentines’ date with dear hubby but was finished two weeks late. Cutting the fabric presented the first challenge I faced while working with 3D lace. There were lace floral pieces which were stitched at regular intervals on the fabric and while laying out the pattern, I had to keep in mind where these were and avoid cutting into them or have them on the seam line.
I cut a size 38, my usual burda size and added seam allowances. The fit was good for the shoulders and arms but there were way too much ease on the sides. I spent quite a bit of time refitting, unpicking, cutting and stitching again. I think even without adding seam allowances to the sides, I would still have to take them in. I didn’t take in the extra bits on the side for the skirt as I quite like the slight A-line. The lace is so thick that ironing wasn’t going to cut it. I had to press open the seams, pin them down and top stitch them to keep them open. Nonetheless, this fabric is so marvelous, I couldn’t help but turn to the back to show you more of it :)
I used the basic pattern pieces but did not have to cut away and reassemble the scallop edge. A unique feature of this rather heavy lace fabric is that I can cut my own scallop hem. So long as I do not cut without of the main stitches, the lace is not going to fray. Here’s the fabric before I cut the hem.
Here’s the hem I eventually cut.
The armholes were finished with green bias tape.
One other thing I manipulated on quite a grand scale was the relocation of many 3D lace floral pieces. As much as I love this lace fabric, I hated the 3D florals sticking out at the bust, waist and pelvic (front of dress) and at my tailbone (back of the dress). I realized that if I was extra careful, I could unpick the 3D florals and hand stitch them where I wanted them to be. So, off went those pieces I hated and the unpicking alone took me a week (around 1-2 hours a day or before my eyesight fails me). Here’s a photo of a partially unpicked floral. If I weren’t careful, the bottom lace would tear.
Here’s me relocating the pieces to make the garment more complete and interesting.
I removed the floral from the front of the sleeves and moved it to the centre, just on top of the seam.
A few floral pieces were also added to the side seams of the dress.
And a few over the zipper opening:)