Making Adele’s Wedding Dress: Lace

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I am now working on lace skirt of Adele’s wedding dress. The lace itself is very special. It is from my late great aunt who worked in the lace and textile mills in West Warick. I inherited several huge barrels of lace a few years ago. This piece was by far the best and I immediately felt it deserved to be a wedding dress some day. I washed it and folded it and put it aside in a safe place. Lo and behold, here it is becoming one. Adele wanted off-white lace and a vintage look and it fit the bill perfectly.

Laying out the lace

Luckily there was a lot of it. The skirt pieces are so big, I need a whole room to lay everything out. The lace is much more thick and resilient than the silk, so I can pin and baste however I like.

Cutting out the lace

The problem with lace is making an attractive seam. With the silk, or any opaque fabric, I only need to worry about finishing the seam so it looks nice from the inside. If I make a normal seam in lace, it will show through because lace is see through. The solution to this is an applique seam. To start, when cutting the lace I need to leave a lot of extra fabric on the seam allowance. I mark the seam line with some loose basting stitches so I can see where the two pieces should overlap, even though there is not an even edge.

Sewing an applique seam

After lining up the two seam lines, I can start hand stitching the seam. The idea is to carefully cut out each individual motif (in this case a flower) that crosses the seam line, and hand stitch all the way around it.

Behold! My first applique seam!

When all the excess is cut away, the seam is barely visible. I am very pleased with my results.

A finished seam

Here is seam in the lace over a seam in the satin, how it should look on the actual dress. The seams will actually be hidden under a pleat, but if they should end up showing they shouldn’t be a distraction. I can now set the pleats and finish the skirt.