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12 June 2013

My Christmas lace dress Burda 02-2009-124

SETTING: A middle class suburban home. A family is getting ready to leave for Christmas dinner at the grandparents house. The wife has sewn a lace dress for this special occasion.

HER: Love, are you bringing your fancy new camera to dinner at your parents?

HIM: Of course, I'm looking forward to trying it out. Why?

HER: Oh, great, then can you please take some nice pictures of me in my new dress? I want to write about it on my blog and your pictures are always infinitely better than mine.

HIM: No problem babe!

Ummmm... Yup, that's them. Those are the best 3 out of the gazillion photos my DH took of me in my new lace dress... LOL! Do any of you happen to know a good fashion photography course? :-)

So here are a couple of pictures I took later so you can actually see the dress.

What do you think? I looove my lace dress. I only wish I can find more reasons/occasions to wear it!

The fabric is a guipure lace with a flower motif in that lovely shade of "greyple" that I always gravitate to only to later kick myself for it because I cannot match it with anything. It took me months to find a lining/underlining that would complement the lace nicely. As often happens, after trying out many, many different options (silver, skin color, white, tone-on-tone) when I found this China silk in a very light mint green I immediately knew this was it. The mint color really brings out the purple shades in the lace, enlivening it. And the shiny surface of the silk sparkling under the matte lace makes for a wonderful contrast.

I made the dress using Burda 02-2009-124.

There are lots of great versions of this dress at Pattern Review. My favorite is sewingelle's version in a gorgeous cherub print. Amanda made a super cute version in yellow flower print. Trena from the Slapdash Sewist made it in a beautiful geometric lace that looks both sweet and modern.

And Cindy-lou's 4 great versions show how versatile this simple dress pattern is.

For my lace version I made a few significant modifications to the pattern:

1. Moved the zipper to the side seam (since the neckline is wide enough to fit my head comfortably).
2. Removed the back seam on both top and bottom. The shaping from the back seam I redistributed to the darts making them deeper. This and #1 I did to keep the lace with as few seams as possible.
3. Raised the back neckline to the neck, closing it completely.
4. Converted the front neckline to a squarish "U" shape by closing it at the shoulder seams and bringing it a bit down at the front. I find this shape more flattering than a very wide neckline.

I've never sewn lace before, so I was more than a bit nervous about cutting into this lovely fabric. But the thing is, half the fabrics in my stash are by now "too good to cut into" so what are my options? Sew nothing?! Well, I tried that for many years already and it is obviously not the right answer. LOL!

Instead, I thought carefully about what pattern would work best and then I made a muslin. I also researched techniques appropriate for lace and made a few samples first. Nothing groundbreaking, just the good advice I've always heard from every teacher and experienced sewer but I somehow always ignored. And I think all that preparation work paid off!

I still had a few scary moments, like when I realized how stretchy lace can be, yikes! All that empty space I guess. Luckily the China silk underlining helped me keep it in its correct shape.

I used the flat lining method so that the raw edges would be nicely finished and the lining would act also like an underlining and give more support to the lace.

I love the clean finish this gives to the inside of the dress, so I have to show it off a little. Looks nice, no? It also makes it more comfortable to wear against the skin.

I used the scalloped edge of the lace for the hem and after some deliberation and research, I decided to scallop the lining as well and sew it to the lace by hand. I was a bit worried that the lining would be baggy, but it has held pretty well after a few months of hanging and the one wear for Christmas dinner.

For the neckline I added a facing in the same China silk as the underlining. To keep it from flipping out I edgestitched it and then tacked it further down to the lace by hand.

For the sleeves I simply did the same flat lining finish and then folded the edges over and sewed a hem by hand. With lace and a good color match for the thread, the stitches are absolutely invisible.

So, do you ladies have any ideas how I can dress my new lace dress down for more casual wear? I want to find a way to wear it to work. It is not a very conservative office. About half the people wear suits and the other half come a bit more dressed down, though there are very few jeans, mostly only on Fridays. I have seen a few colleagues wearing lace skirts, but not a full dress. Is it a simple as finding a top to turn the dress into a skirt?

Ah, yes, here is my review of Burda 02-2009-124 at Pattern Review


  1. That's gorgeous! The scalloped hem is so pretty and your finishing is great. Dressing it for daily wear, I find that difficult since I'm not so good at styling. Maybe with a scarf and a belt, try out a couple of scarves to see which colour compliments best (maybe dark purple or eggplant?). Or a black jacket and black shoes for work?

  2. Fabulous dress! but I am here as
    Here is a sweet surprise - I have nominated you for the super sweet blogger award!

  3. It is a lovely dress and looks fantastic on you. I hope you find other times to wear it.

  4. Pretty dress! As for dressing it down; boots, a cardigan and a chunky belt would help. A denim jacket & flats also work wonders for dressing down outfits :)

  5. I can't believe I'm just seeing this now! What a wonderful dress. You did a great job working with the lace. The hem details are beautiful.