Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Right Shade of Nude

Stretch lace wrap dress
This week I was determined to join the lace trend so I started with a navy stretch lace purchased a few months ago from  The pattern is a timeless wrap dress designed by Peggy Sagers at  The pattern is suitable for both knits and wovens.  If I had chosen a non sheer fabric, this pattern would have stitched up in a few short hours.  I like the dress so much I plan to make a few more in solid color knits.  If someone were here today to help me with photography, I would prefer to show you a photograph of me wearing the dress.  The pattern is cut so nicely and the garment is particularly flattering.  The form doesn't do the design justice.
Collar and front facing detail
I may omit the collar from future versions as you can hardly see it.  The collar would likely show better if I used a solid color fabric. The front facings  are the underlining material interfaced with fusi-knit.  I think the nude facing blends in with my skin.  The lace would have looked good on the front facings, but I didn't have enough fabric and I really didn't want the lace against my skin.  A navy front facing might have looked heavy.

Cuff added for a neat hem finish
The sleeve is not underlined because my skin color matches the underlining color well.  An underlined sleeve might have made the design a bit too stiff and formal for my purposes.  To make a neat sleeve hem, I created a two inch cuff.  I wouldn't make the sleeve without a hem allowance as the lace is soft.  Turning under a one or two inch hem would have looked cheap. 

I had two nude stretch linings in my stash. The fabric on the left is a four way stretch tricot with a slight yellow hue.  Originally I planned to use this fabric to underline the dress.  The fabric on the right is a pink nude stretch silk with crosswise stretch only. 
These are nude linings from my fabric stash
With the lace laid on the nude underlinings, the color difference is minimized but in proper lighting the lining on the left looked unnatural on me.  I have eight yards of the yellow nude which can be used to line non sheer knit garments, so I am still happy with the fabric for future use.  I decided to use the pink nude for the dress.  If I were to suntan this summer, this dress might not look good on me.  To find the right nude, you really have to drape the fabric on yourself in good lighting.  Asking a few people whether they think you have the right nude is also helpful.  My students told me right away the yellow nude was wrong.
the lace minimizes the nude color differences
To underline the fashion fabric, I cut all the pattern pieces out of both the stretch lace and the pink nude lining.  I would normally diagonal baste the two layers together thoroughly.   The stretch lace proved difficult to hand sew.  The fabric kept pulling up and curling, in other words it wouldn't lay flat.
stretch lace does not cooperate with diagonal basting
I decided to diagonal baste across the stitching lines only.  The pattern comes with 3/8" seam allowances, so my diagonal basting reaches one inch into the garment.  The basting will be removed once the entire dress is sewn.  If you hand baste with silk thread, there will be no marks after pressing.
diagonal basting straddles the 3/8" stitching line
The collar frames the face so it is important to have the right and left sides of the collar matching in size and shape.  I took the collar pattern piece and make a photocopy.  I took a ruler and pen, and removed the 3/8" seam allowances from the photocopy.  Now the photocopy is a template.
A template is used to make the two collar sides match in shape
I laid the template on each side of the collar, and marked the stitching lines precisely.  I used an air erasable sewing pen.  The marks are visible for fifteen minutes.  I marked dots rather than straight lines to avoid stretching the fabric.
Stitching line is marked with air erasable pen
With a nice nude underlining and symmetrical collar, the dress is attractive and will be a nice addition to my wardrobe. 

I am so excited to be working on a day dress from the Dior Spring 2013 collection.  I plan to post the project soon.  The reason for the delay is just when I began the project, Vogue came out with a pattern that makes drafting the under dress much easier.  I thought that some of you would be more inclined to try the project if you had an easy starting point such as a commercial pattern.  Anyway I had to wait for my local store to stock the new Vogue patterns so I could purchase it.  The project is actually two garments:  an under dress which can be worn alone, and an overdress which can be worn over a skirt or pants.  Here is the outfit:

I really hope to post the project next week.  Happy sewing.

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