Skip to main content

Made by a Fabricista: StyleArc's Alisha Dress in Lace

I love the holidays, and even more, I love wearing something I've made. Well, this year, I decided to make a beautiful lace dress. I've never tackled a project like this, so grab a coffee or your favorite beverage, and I will walk you though my journey.  



I choose this lovely pattern from StyleArc, the Alisha Dress.  I've had my eye on this dress for a very long time but wondered where on earth I would wear it and could I create it in a way that I would be proud of? Typically I am not a fearful sewer, so I just got busy and created my dress.  

Here is the pattern description from StyleArc's site: 
A wonderful party dress complete with a slip. Use scalloped lace to create beautiful and interesting neckline. The lace edge can also be used on the hem and sleeves. This pattern can be made many ways - all lace, lace yokes & sleeves with plain body, or completely plain. The choice is yours!

Fabulous V-neck dress with slip (pattern included)



Those design lines are so pretty!  I love the separate slip cut on the bias since bias cut garments just glide over your skin and feel wonderful!  




I also really like the elbow length sleeves with the zipper back and opening at the shoulder blades to the neckline where it closes with a hook and eye.  




Since I've not made a dress such as this, I choose to make not one but two muslins and I am very happy I did so! While I typically don't hardly alter a StyleArc pattern, since this was made in lace and more delicate to handle, I knew I would get a better feel of how the garment went together through the practice-fit. I just used a lightweight gabardine to test this for my first and second muslin. 




The first time through, I made the pattern as is with my usual 1/2" swayback adjustment and also a sort of new alteration for me and that is a slight (3/8") sloping shoulder adjustment.   And, constructed the dress as the pattern was written.  Honestly, if you think about the look of the dress and read carefully, this dress will make sense.  




After the initial fitting, I decided I wanted to have more room in the torso so I took out the optional darts and felt so much better about how the dress felt and how it looked on me!  I knew I could always add the darts at a later time if needed. I also raised the back seam that runs along the shoulder blades by an inch at the center back, as I didn't want my bra to show and yes, I will wear a bra. I am 52 years old and wear a C-cup, I am assuming if you were me, you would too.  :)  I also had to take in the armscye from the shoulder seam to the underarm on the back of the dress. Maybe I have a narrow back as well?  



The second muslin fit so much better and I held my breath as I cut into the lace. Let's talk about the lace for a minute. It was so lovely to work with and I like the design that has geometric patterns in it.    




I was very leery as to how to finish off the seams so they wouldn't pull apart as some of the lace has some open places.  And, since this dress is so lovely, I am considering wearing it to my son's wedding in January.  


I plan on dancing and can you imagine if the seams popped while I was doing the hustle on the dance floor? I researched quite a bit and came up with using silk organza cut into 1/2" strips and stitching those strips along the seams.  See how nicely the seams finished off after serging?  




The organza is black, just like the lace and is barely visible. I used the organza to reinforce the zipper insertion as well but instead of the silk on one side of the seam, I put it on both. I also used the lace pattern itself to create the hems on the skirt and sleeves. I practiced a bit by cutting different parts of the lace to see what I liked and I settled on this fringe base which I created by cutting off a portion of the lace pattern.




Another concern I had was due to the construction process. The directions tell you that when you are attaching the front and back bodice, you stitch to a dot, raise your presser foot, clip to the notch, pivot the fabric and carry on. I didn't want to risk cutting too far, so I staystitched the neckline and sewed a small piece of the organza to the pivot point to reinforce it and make me feel better about constructing this dress in lace. I must admit, it worked beautifully.  



Everything was going really well but I wasn't sure how to finish off the front and back neckline and I was a little worried about inserting a zipper in the lace. Again, I looked to the lace for the answer and I cut a portion of the design off and used a very narrow zigzag to attach it to the bodice. I simply stitched slowly and followed the edge of the design. After applying the edging, I used my applique scissors to trim the excess away. The left side is before I applied the edge. The right side shows my work in process.  



I normally wouldn't post a picture of my chest like this, but it does show the neckline really well. As you can imaging, dear husband took this photo when I wasn't looking.  




The last headache I had with this dress was the zipper. As I was working with the lace, I knew a regular invisible zipper from JoAnn's or Hancock's probably wouldn't cut it due to the weight of the zip and the lightness of the dress. I predicted a big puddle at the bottom of the zip and sadly my estimation was correct. I had no idea what to do and reached out to the sewing community. An angel in disguise led me to a site that sells lightweight invisible zippers. Shipping was fast and I had the new zipper inserted in a matter of minutes and whew, no more puddles! In case you are wondering about the weight difference in a regular and lightweight zipper here it is: 



Lightweight zipper--four grams


  
Regular zipper--six grams.  Those two grams make a difference!  Trust me!  



While it sounds like this dress was a ton of work, it really wasn't. The lace was lovely to work with and it behaved just beautifully. It presses well and I am so happy with the end result.  

I almost forgot that I also made the slip as well! This is included in the pattern and I ordered this black charmeuse that was heavenly to work with. Luckily the pattern has a c-cup bodice for the slip and I made it as is. You don't need any special tools but I do have a recommendation for a bias-cut garment. Let the slip hang for at least 24 hours before hemming. If you have wonder clips, attach those every three or four inches to help the garment hand properly. If you don't have wonder clips, you could also use safety pins every few inches just a few threads up from the hemline.

  

I can't wait to wear my new lace dress!  I know, it is pretty fancy, but I think it will be perfect for my son's wedding!



Thanks for reading!




Sue @ Ilove2sew

Comments

  1. Wow this is stunning. Such a classic and classy look.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is beautiful and it looks so expensive! Perfect for a mother of the groom dress.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful dress! Thanks for detailing the construction process for the lace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Levone! I am glad you found the details helpful!

      Delete
  4. Wonderful! Perfect pattern and lace. Beautifully made and very flattering.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is beautiful Sue, just gorgeous. The edging is amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Elizabeth! I appreciate your kind remarks!

      Delete
  6. Absolutely stunning. Sewn beautifully. Gorgeous pattern and fabric.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh my gosh, I am speechless! What a beautiful, beautiful dress. You look like a million bucks!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment! All comments are reviewed before posting to help us eliminate spam. Your comment will be posted within 24 hours.

Popular Posts You Might Like

Made By A Fabricista: Sewing for Sleeveless Summer

Summer is so close I can taste it! With hot weather on the way, I need to get my sleeveless wardrobe up to date and stocked. I love to pair a breezy tank with shorts, and nothing is easier than throwing on a simple dress and heading out the door to drop off kids at camp or cruise to the beach. When the heat is up, the easier for me to get dressed the better.  With this in mind, I chose to add more woven tanks to my closet. They are cool to wear and not clingy like a knit top can often be. I looked through the ever-growing pattern section of the site, and the dartless aspect of the Megan Nielsen Eucalypt Tank was especially appealing to me.   No darts makes this a rather quick sewing project. The color blocking instructions are great, plus a basic tank is endlessly hackable and thus incredibly useful. I sewed a quick muslin, and then cropped it several inches with a straight hem, and that version is stylish and easy to wear, so there you go! Hack one done.  I wanted to try out a couple

Made By A Fabricista: Flounces, Ruffles & Ikat-Inspired Prints-Yes Please!

Hello Sewing Friends, I am excited to share my May Fabric Mart Fabricista projects with you all. I stumbled upon two beautiful Ikat inspired printed fabrics and knew I needed to sew something for my Spring/Summer wardrobe.  The fabric with the black background is a double border print cotton sateen shirting.   The other fabric is a rayon/cotton print voile. Originally, I was considering using them together to make a garment. But when they arrived I realized they did not work well together and needed to stand alone.  I decided to make dresses using Butterick 6677, and make some modifications.  I made version A with hemline variations and love how both dresses turned out. For my first dress, I wanted a midi length dress and a ruffle hemline. So I cut out view A as well as the ruffle for vies B & C. Then, instead of creating a single layer ruffle, I folded my assembled ruffle piece in half, creating a double layered and shorter ruffle. This created the exact length I wanted. I also li

Made By A Fabricista: Peach Skin Penny Dress

Have you ever lost your sewjo, or just taken a long break from sewing after a really hard project? After spending months altering a wedding dress, I just needed a bit of a break from sewing. Alterations are not my cup of tea, so I treated myself to a well-deserved few weeks off. After my sewing hiatus, I was ready to jump back in with a new sewing pattern I hadn't made before. The Sew Over It Penny Dress has been on my "have to make" list for a long time so it seemed like the perfect pattern to help me ease back into my usual sewing routine.  After browsing the Fabric Mart website for the perfect fabric for my Penny Dress, I noticed this beautiful black, shadow blue, and off-white floral peach skin fabric. If you haven't worked with or worn peach skin fabric, you need to get some right away! It is the softest, most delightful fabric ever! It's lightweight and has a beautiful drape, but isn't see-thru! In addition to my peach skin fabric, I also ordered some el