One thing that dominated summer on the high street, and has moved seamlessly into Autumn, is applique Roses. I invested in some way back when, with the full intention of using them this summer. I had planned to make a simple black dress and just jazz it up with the appliques. But I went a step further than simple… I added inserts and Bell sleeves. I went full Stevie Nicks vibe on this dress and I love it!
I started with a skater dress bodice that I had drafted with a slightly higher neck. This pattern was traced and re cut from an old dress in my wardrobe and has become the base of many dresses, good and bad, its’s a perfect fit.
After tracing a copy, I then cut it down the middle front for the lace insert. I didn’t add any seam allowance here as I was technically just ‘replacing’ the fabric by sewing in a piece of lace.
The Bodice was easy to whip up. The insert technique I used was to overlock the raw edge, fold it under, then literally sew the lace edge on top of that on the outside. Sometimes it was fiddly, sometimes i had to go back and patch holes, but it just worked. I was lucky that my chosen lace had a black edge which i used as my visual guide in sewing.
The Sleeve was made on the go, measuring where i wanted the insert to sit on the arm, then flare out into the bell sleeve. I did a rolled hem on the base of the bell sleeve as It would also be seen as I wear it. It was a bit of a faff, but worth the extra time and headache it took
attaching the skirt to the finished bodice posed its own issues… one being the lace not being adequate support at the waist, especially with a zip involved. What i found best was adding some binding to the inside of the skirt. It meant there was no movement and everything stayed in place as I fiddled with the lace, and then the zip. Unfortunately I only had Grey binding…. but no worries you cant see it on the inside.
I debated leaving it plain, but then I have endless amounts of black dresses, so I took the plunge and had sewed the appliques on and I am not disappointed. I am glad I waited to the end to decide to add them, even though it would have been easier to sew them onto the sections, I got the placing right when I tried it up against myself (and avoided and misplaced nipple looking roses!)
I didn’t want it to be symmetrical, and it wasn’t; mainly because when I ordered a pair, they sent two the same. So they could never have sat symmetrical. So I separated the so called ‘pair’ and put one on the skirt and one on the bust at different angles.
overall i am really happy with this more experimental pieces. I love how I have ended up with a Free-People-esque boho dress. The bra needs a bit of a second thought when wearing this (not the grungy white one i was wearing in the pictures!) But its revealing without being to sexy, mainly due to the bodice neck height.