Sunday, January 24, 2010

vintage inspired: lace dress

Continuing the story of my sewing journey, we skip ahead a year. My first year of sewing has been grand, learning new techniques, trying out commercial patterns...and I get a little bit bolder when I see a dress I just have to have for spring.

It's a lace dress, a 1930s reproduction, but I can't find a pattern that quite matches (mind you, this was before I even knew what eBay was!) Instead, I chose a sleeve from here, a neckline & bodice from there, a skirt from another...and added some of my newly acquired French sewing skills to add the lacy detailing. Here is my 1930s Lace Dress:

The dress itself is an all-over embroidered rayon netting. I believe I got it in the bridal section of my local Hancocks. I probably had to save up for it! The lace is cotton lace, also from Hancocks. I remember being so excited that I found real cotton lace there. It was OLD. And I bought a bunch of it at a 50% off sale! I still have a bit left, too. I tea-dyed the entire lot (netting & lace) in a tea & vinegar bath to "age" it some more.

The bodice was empire, but I added a strip of puffing all around, edged with more lace:

Here's a closeup of my puffing. I was so proud of it, although no one in my near circle of family & friends had the slightest idea of what puffing was:

In the back, the puffing gets tighter at the center back, where the bodice also gathers:

The hem has a netting ruffle, also edged with lace:

Here's the dress without the underslip. It's so dainty and sweet.

For underneath I made a cream slipdress, using a New Look pattern long thrown out.

I knew nothing about FBAs or fitting, the only sewing book I possessed was a 1970s edition of the Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing that my mom & dad picked up for me at an auction for $2. (I still have & use this too! It's my favorite how-to book for the basics!)

Consequently, the slipdress fit through the bustline, but was too big through the neck & shoulder area. Not having anymore fabric to cut another (and no $$ to buy more) I cut away the binding from the neckline and made little darts in front, and a box pleat in back, fiddling with it until it fit. I actually liked it better after my "fix".

I wore this dress to church a few times, but I wished that I had some grand tea or summer wedding to wear it to! I'm not in my 20s anymore, and the dress is too snug now. Sniff. I wish I could still wear it. I would! Everywhere!

Maybe with my cream silk vintage hat.

I'll be posting a lacy baby dress next. It went hand and hand with this one, a reproduction of a vintage 1920s baby dress.


  1. I love the delicacy of it! It's just lovely.

  2. Angie, my mom had that EXACT SAME Reader's Digest book while I was growing up. She sewed a lot and I remember looking through that book as a little girl, imagining sewing all kinds of fun things.

  3. Wow, Angie! I love these "memory lane" posts. It's a beautiful dress, thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Lovely dress. I have that same book and use it very often. It's such a great resource!

  5. Incredible early sewing project. You really had no fear! Your dress is beautiful.

  6. That dress is so pretty. I have that book too - bought from the annual big 2nd hand book sale for 50 cents. Obviously a sewer wasn't doing the pricing.

  7. That looks like a dress that fashionable ladies would have gone to "tea" wearing. Lovely. I'm impressed that you figured out how to make the slip fit, early on.

  8. Gorgeous! It looks so delicate and pretty.

  9. That's beautiful! I love how dainty and precious it is, a wonderful and meaningful garment. I have that book too- from my mom :) Almost got rid of it before I picked up on the sewing bug!

  10. So pretty, and the tea dying makes it just perfect!

  11. Hey, I have that book, Complete Guide to Sewing! Beautiful dress. All those times we watched Pretty in Pink over and over rubbed off. :-)

  12. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Hey Angie , did you see the new issue of rolling stone?
    Poor John Mayer can't find any body to love. Great pics of him though.


I love hearing from you, and thank you in advance for reading and commenting! &