I have been dreaming about this style of dress for a long time. I remember pinning something similar and waiting for the right fabric and pattern to come along. The pattern finally came along when I found the Lacey Dress by Style ARC.
I thrifted this fabric this summer which kind of got the ball rolling. (Whenever I thrift fabric I like to do a fabric burn test.) But I made some mistakes during the process and had to redo it three times. I hated redoing it, but I knew I would only wear it if I redid it.
I’m happy I redid it, but I have to work up to it to have the energy and determination to redo it. Redoing something is so frustrating and disappointing, but it’s always worth it!
Let’s start at the beginning. I thrifted this taupe fabric from Savers this summer. It was about a yard and a half and it had an original handwritten note on it saying that it was “Rayon Flax” or basically rayon linen. I have other tips to sew and save money.
It washed up beautifully, it drapes beautifully, and it’s soft. I love the gray/brown color because it goes nicely with everything in my wardrobe. It’s a great basic. Here’s a charcoal linen rayon fabric* and a khaki linen rayon fabric*.
I wanted the cuffed dolman sleeve dress that’s semi-fitted. I didn’t want to sew a zipper though so I was pretty limited in patterns because of no zipper and only 1.5 yards. I finally decided on the Lacey Dress by Style ARC because it was exactly what I was looking for and I didn’t want to create/hack my own pattern.
I initially was in a hurry to finish since I wanted to wear it to a sewing meet up. I live in an area where there’s some sewing bloggers that meet up once a month to sew, but this last time we decided to meet up and take pictures. Of course I had to make something new and start the day before.
The first problem came when I printed out the Lacey Dress pattern and the test square was larger than it was supposed to measure. (I should have reprinted it!) I wanted to get going so I just decided to go for it even though it was too big.
My thinking was the extra length will already be added in so I don’t have to add it and I’ll just shave some width off. Well I made it just the bodice and it was way too wide. I took the side seams in, I shortened the sleeves, and I took the princess lines in.
The neckline gaped so I added a pleat to the front neckline. I decided to add all the gathering to the side instead of all the way around (which I found after the fact that I didn’t like it). I loved the pockets and cuffed sleeves so I was sure I would love the Lacey Dress. Here’s how to gather.
I never got to try the Lacey Dress on before running out the door and realized I didn’t really like it. I had to wear a belt to feel comfortable in it because the waist was so wide. I know people wear undefined waists and they look great, but since I have almost no waist I need some definition. After wearing it for the evening I knew I needed to redo it. Here’s how to seam rip quickly.
Right away I took off the skirt, cut it two inches shorter and used that fabric to make two sides ties. I took the pleat out of the neckline because I felt like it detracted from the simple style I was going for. I added a .5″ center front seam and .5″ center back seam to get rid of the gaping neckline.
It solved the neckline problem and you can’t even see the seams which makes me really happy. I sewed the skirt back on with the gathers on the side.
That was a mistake. It’s really cute in theory, but I just didn’t want to wear it with gathers on the side. Everyone has that thing they just won’t wear no matter how good someone else tells them they look.
And you know what? It doesn’t matter if someone else thinks it looks good. Because you’ll only wear it if you think you look good! And you only want items in your closet that you want to wear, right?
So it hung on a hanger in my sewing room for a couple of weeks taunting me that I had to redo the skirt AGAIN. I didn’t have to energy to fix it. I knew it wouldn’t take long, but it was the principle of redoing it. It made me want to cry.
Finally I got up the courage to take off the skirt and redistribute the gathering. I love it lots more now that the gathering goes all the way around the waist.
I also redid the sides of the hem to give it a slight curve. I love curves and have always been drawn to curves, and I think curved hems are very flattering. Here are some tips for sewing curves!
After those quick fixes I’m very happy with my Lacey Dress, the fabric, and the style. But I wouldn’t wish the mistakes and redos on anyone! Learn from my mistakes! No matter how good you think someone is at something, they can still make mistakes. Mistakes are okay and they help you learn!
What I’ve learned from this sewing project:
- Try not to rush. That’s always always when I run into problems.
- Reprint a pattern to get the square the right size!
- If you didn’t like it the first time you tried it, the chances are you won’t like it if you do it again.
- Even if someone else thinks it’s cute, you need to love it or you won’t wear it.
- It’s okay to stick with the basics. You don’t have to love a new design or style.
- Only sew curved hems on wovens. That’s only what I want to wear.
- Everyone makes mistakes no matter how good they are. Mistakes help you learn!
What did you learn from my billions of mistakes?