After celebrating New Years with my family and Sewing Diva Phyllis and her brood at a local hotel, I got back to work on the Laura Bennett dress. Since the bulk of our New Years celebrating was spent by the indoor pool watching our kids swim, eating pizza and drinking wine out of plastic cups, I didn’t sweat finishing it for the countdown to 2007. But Diva Phyllis (and hopefully Diva Gigi) and I are converging on New York City later this month, and I need a fabulous dress for dinner on that trip. Plus, I’m going to a trade show in Las Vegas in April, and I want to bring this to that.
I don’t have any problem with that, but I would like to be able to wear a non-strapless bra underneath it. So I widened the front shoulder piece by 5/8 inch, and I thought that it might be nice to add some lace trim to the neckline as well. It can cover a multitude of sins, and gives a little more leeway for bra straps without weighting down the look of the dress. I had some really nice yardage of pleated black lace in my stash, so I cut a few galloons out and started playing.
Because I want this dress to be “just so”, I have been testing and basting almost everything before making any final design decisions. This is not a “fast to make” project, but it will be one that I have for many years, so it’s gotta be good. To test this neckline treatment, I did a few things. First, I hand-basted the seamline on the outside of the garment:
This would allow me to place the lace precisely. I wanted the motifs to be a certain height above the seamline when sewn, and this gives me that control. I was able to place the lace so the bottoms of the scallops hit right at the seamline:.
Notice that you can see the white basting thread along the seamline through the lace. This allowed me to place the scallops precisely. Next, I basted the layers together using a long running stitch, and put the dress on my (way smaller than me) dress form to see how I liked the result.
Bammmmffff! I didn’t like it. I pulled all the basting out and removed the lace. Then I sewed the neckline to the lining without any embellishment. I like it much better. I’ll post a picture of it later on after I attach the sleeves.
Now, some of you may be thinking that it was a frustrating waste of time. It wasn’t. It was time very well spent. I’d rather spend the extra 20 minutes prototyping and basting the parts together to get an idea of how the finished garment will look. It beats not prototyping, then hating the results when everything is sewn and pressed. And it eliminates the possibilities of a very costly fabric turning into a very, very costly wadder.
I’ll post more when I have the garment closer to being done: either tomorrow or the day after.