I'm a sewing enthusiast in Beacon, New York, with a love of all things retro. This site is all about tutorials, tips, inspiration, and lots of spirited discussion about sewing as it relates to fashion history, pop culture, body image, and gender. My first book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, is now out from STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books! Also look for my line "Patterns by Gertie" from Butterick.
So, as I mentioned on Friday, I'm planning a red lace holiday dress, inspired by this fab little Erdem number:
I'm making the pattern myself, so aside from the usual muslin, I decided to give it a test run in a simple cotton fabric (I used this voile, which would also be a great pick for the Crepe sew-along) and I'm so glad I did. I'm very happy with the shape and silhouette but it needs little tweaks: the upper bodice is too long, causing some bunching. I'd also like to move the neckline gathers more toward the center of the neck, and I'll probably make the neckline a bit lower. The fit in the bodice needs a few adjustments to make it more stream-lined. I'm going to make one more muslin before I cut into the lace. It was outrageously expensive and there won't be a single scrap to spare.
But overall, I think I'm pretty close! Perhaps the bodice is a tad too long in general?
Here's a closer view of the neckline. You'll have to excuse these photos; I had to take them at night and the lighting was horrible!
After I perfect the pattern, the next thing I need to decide on is an underlay color for the final dress. (This is essentially an underlining, except it will have to be hemmed before it's applied to the lace. The lace won't need to be hemmed because I'll place the border scallops along the bottom of the sleeves and skirt.) The Erdem dress has a flesh-toned underlay, so I tried a Bemberg rayon lining that matches my skin, but I'm not sure I'm absolutely loving it. It does really let the lace shine, though. What do you think?
Then I tried a coral charmeuse, but I'm worried the coral has too much orange to it. (Though it's actually looking more pink-ish in these photos. Ack, cameras!)
Next I tried a matching red underlay in China silk, and I'm liking this one the best. Do you agree? Or is it too same-y?
Any input will be much appreciated! The crazy thing is that I've now bought THREE different underlay fabrics just for this dress, and all because I can't make up my damn mind. Luckily, it's always good to have lining fabrics around, but seriously . . . help me get a grip!