Lady Skater Dress: With Lace Fabric Upgrade
From my stash, the main fabric is a lovely, heavy cotton-y lace printed up in some of my favorite colors to wear, black, several unapologetic pinks, and various beige-tan-taupe shades.
The bodice and skirt are underlined with pink cotton-lycra jersey. There wasn’t really a choice as to whether it would be underlined or not since lace alone would have caused massive modesty issues. In the end, all I had was a choice of what color to use for the underlining. I originally had planned on underlining with black, but the pink shows up the lace pattern and makes the pinks look even pinker. I was a little sloppy with the underlining techniques. There were no fancy basting stitches done first or anything. I literally just cut the pieces out of each fabric, stuck them together an pretended they were one piece. I probably did more pinning than I normally would for a knit dress, but otherwise, it was mostly just a matter of sewing slowly enough to make sure that all the edges were caught within the seam allowance and nothing was too horribly twisted. The sleeves and sleeve bands/neckline band are not underlined. I’m not sure you can really tell that the sleeves aren’t underlined, my skin seems to be a fairly close match to the ballet-pink jersey once the lace is thrown over it.
I just serged the bottom of the pink, since it’s hidden under the lace and won’t be seen. I didn’t even bother to change out the thread color for it, though I did check to make sure it wouldn’t show through terribly. I finished off the bottom of the lace skirt with a serged rolled hem. Even though the lace doesn’t fray too badly, I have the feeling that over time it would look ragged if not finished off somehow.
To lengthen the skirt, I added at the hemline, extending the side seam at the same angle as the original skirt, so the skirt is a nice and swooshy a-line, not overly full.
The Lady Skater instructions include using clear elastic on the shoulders and waistline. With two layers of fairly weighty fabric and the longer skirt, the elastic was absolutely essential to keep things from stretching out of place. It does a good job of keeping things stable.
As you can see from the above pic, the fit probably could have been improved by a sway-back adjustment; the way it’s hiking up on the right makes the left side hem look uneven. It’s just the way the dress is sitting, I didn’t have any pictures of the back that didn’t have this problem (thus my thought that maybe a slight pattern adjustment would improve the situation). Overall though, I’m thrilled with this make. It reminds me a lot of a dress I had as a teenager. That particular dress originally belonged to my best friend, then was passed on to me, then to all my sisters as we each outgrew it. That dress had the heavy lace like my new Lady Skater, but it was all ivory and I think it might have had princess seams and ties in the back. I do recall the lining drove me absolutely bonkers, since it didn’t really have the seaming of the dress and I think might have been cut off grain; there was a lot of tugging and adjusting involved in wearing that dress, as I recall. There’s no tugging or anything involved in this new dress. It’s super-comfortable, but manages to look more dressed up than many woven fabric dresses.
Here’s one more gratuitous picture, just because.
Stash-busting Stats: 7 projects this year. 13 yards of fabric used.