It’s been awhile since I posted, but I know you’ll understand why — it’s summer. Either you’re wasting your time luxuriating in the sunshine, or you’re wasting your time panting in the shade of the nearest tree, wishing for a hint of a breeze, something, anything. Poring over a computer screen seems like something you should save for winter, along with hot baths, mugs of tea and wool fabric.
Wool is definitely a bad word right now. Lace, on the other hand…
Like almost all my projects, this one started with the fabric. When I discovered the LaceFabrics shop on Etsy, I suddenly realized that I HAD to have an off-white, casual, cottony lace, RIGHT NOW. It would be a dress. Any dress. Details were unimportant. Let Future Sarah handle that problem.
Luckily, I had a ready-made lining in my stash, a lurker that I’d always found totally befuddling: cotton crinkle crepe. What? Yeah. Lofty but lightweight, spongy, 100% cotton with a shit-ton of mechanical stretch from all the crinkles. I was totally dismayed when it arrived from Mood — what the hell was I supposed to do with something that was too soft for a dress, was too thick for a blouse, and doubled in size when you ironed the crinkles flat? Oh, and I only had 1.5 yards of it.
Now I know exactly what it was for. Fabric destiny, guys! The dress starts off clingy out of the wash (like in these photos), but relaxes after a couple of hours to a beachy, looser fit. Perfect.
Summer is uncomplicated, and I wanted this dress to have the same feel. Simple — a tank dress, maybe. A little bare — perhaps with a scoop back. And I didn’t want to muslin anything. Come on. It’s summer. So I turned to New Look 6095, a shift dress pattern that I’ve used before, and I drew in narrow straps, a scoop neck, and an even scoopier back.
I came up against a problem right quick. As aforementioned, when you iron that crinkle crepe, it expands by about 100% but loses its stretch. I wasn’t planning on ironing this dress in the day-to-day, so should I fit the fabric ironed or unironed?
My compromise: I ironed the fabric and added ease to the pattern, thinking it’d feel loose when ironed but snug straight off the clothesline. Luckily, this actually worked. I like the dress better after it’s looser, but I’m willing to put up with a little snugness.
To get the necessary ease, I omitted the back darts from the pattern, and I think I might have added a little ease to the side seams, too. That was …. overzealous. The back was way too big, so I ended up essentially taking a single giant dart down the center back, or a partial center back seam, however you’d like to describe it.“Uncomplicated” being the rule of the day, I hand-basted the cotton crepe to the lace as an underlining, then finished all the edges with purchased bias binding. Usually I like binding edges with bias strips made from soft fabrics, but the stiffness of the store-bought kind added some welcome structure to the neck and arm openings on two unstable fabrics.
I had hoped to let the pretty scalloped edge hang over the hem of the dress, but I got to that point only to realize that somehow I had … completely f–ked up the pattern, so that the back scallops hang lower than the front ones, and both front and back dip in the middle. I’m not even sure how I did it. It doesn’t matter. I hemmed the lining a bit longer so that it’s less noticeable.
But nobody cared about the uneven hem when I wore it on vacation. That’s how you know summer is here.