I’ve been quiet lately as I started a new job in the spring and it has been challenging to strike a new balance between work, parenting, sewing, and socializing. While I have been sewing a lot, I haven’t made the time to photograph and share all my makes as I would like to. If you ever want to see more of what I have going on in real time, make sure you pop over to my Instagram– I’m a lot better about posting regularly there, including in-process photos (and occasional food and hiking pics too). I’m finally settled into North Carolina and I’m excited to have access to an amazing photographer AND I upgraded my own camera so my selfie game is starting to make a comeback.
When Tami & Kelly announced the summer Lace Tour I had a couple of ideas in mind based on my current lifestyle. Recently I’ve found myself wearing 2 almost entirely separate wardrobes – the first is my business casual clothes that I wear to work- generally skinny pants and business-appropriate tops. Due to some specific facility/ gowning requirements, I don’t get to wear dresses and skirts as much as I would like now. My second wardrobe is my very casual after-work/ weekend wear that covers exercise, kid-chasing, and errand running. I’m working on building a transitional wardrobe that can cover some of that ground, while also working for socializing and dating. That’s where this tour is coming in! I need more neutral, easy-to-wear pieces that can easily be dressed up or down and don’t limit my mobility. The La Bella Donna (aff link) immediately jumped to the front of the line – it’s an instant gratification sew that you can finish in well under an hour and can look casual or formal depending on fabric and accessories.
The outer fabric is a crochet lace with small chevron fringe detail- it has vertical stretch, but no horizontal stretch (not even mechanical stretch from the open weave which is a little weird). I picked it up ages ago in LA, and unfortunately pre-washed it in a load that included a hot pink fabric that bled, so it has a slight pink cast no matter what I do. The La Bella Donna has a very forgiving fit, and I’m right in between sizes- normally I size down, but because there’s no horizontal stretch I sized up for this one and it’s still a bit roomy. The lining layer is a rayon slub knit that is still just slightly sheer- I could have sized down on the lining but opted to cut the same size for 2 reasons – first, I needed the necklines to align; second, I’m lazy and this was easy. Cut your lace on the tunic length line, and your lining a couple inches shorter – this should get your unfinished hem a couple inches above knee-length. I’m 5’1″ and actually removed 2″ from the tunic length line for my finished length. I would also suggest cutting the lining sleeve extensions an inch or so shorter than your lace, but I didn’t do that here.
The construction for this dress is incredibly quick:
- Sew the front and back lining together at the shoulder seams.
- Sew the front and back lace together at the shoulder seams.
- Put the lining and lace together so the right side of the lace faces the wrong side of the lining, lining up the neckline you just created between the shoulder seams. This makes it so that the right side of the lining is visible through the lace, rather than the seams. Sew around the neckline completely attaching the two layers. Depending on how your fabric is behaving, you can understitch this seam, or opt to use a neckband instead.
- Sew the lining side seams from from the hem to sleeve.
- Sew the lace side seams from the hem to sleeve.
- Flip the garment right side out and you’re good to go!
- Seriously, I didn’t hem the sleeves or bottom hem. If not-hemming makes your eyes twitch, or if your lace frays then by all means hem! Also, I wasn’t able to get my hands on small white pom trim like the inspo has on the sleeves, but I think it would be adorable, and have a nice clean finish so I’m going to keep my eye out for some.
Monday: Sewing Curves SewSophieLynn Kainara Stitches
Tuesday: doodlenumber5 My Heart Will Sew On Third Shift Creations
Wednesday: Princesse et tresors Phat Quarters
Thursday: All Things Katy! Back40life
Friday: Sew Like a Sloth Very Blissful Seamly Behaviour