February 25, 2013

How to create your own lace dress: My manual cut lace project

I recently made this dress as an experiment. As evidenced below, I am happy to report that it was well worth the time and effort. PLUS a heap of people on Fickle Sense & Burdastyle appreciated it, so I thought that I would share my process with you! 

More photos of this dress by my man (Michael) before post

I was initially inspired by laser cut lace clothing. The laser cut technology has enabled many designers to create their own style of lace... so I thought I would give this a try minus the technology. 

 Some other inspirations here 

  • TEXTILE PATTERN DESIGN - You need an idea of the textile pattern that you want to create. I chose a jacquard style 
  • THIN & THICK TRACING PAPER OR CARBON TRANSFER PAPER - I use water proof tracing paper for all of my stencils. You don't need it to be water proof, but I use stencils for printing and this paper is thick enough to use it as a stencil. If you can find a large piece of carbon tracing paper or use a few smaller pieces, you could draw your design straight onto the fabric without needing to use a scalpel or cut out the thick piece of tracing paper. This is probably much easier, but I wanted to make a stencil. 
  • SCALPEL  - If you want to create a stencil make sure you have a SHARP scalpel
  •  A SLIP DRESS PATTERN - I chose this pattern as it is simple and has minimal shape & darts. I utilised the pattern from Burdastyle- Jamie Shift Dress. 
  • FABRIC - 2 x metres of course tulle; 2 x metres of a finely woven fabric which does not fray much. 
  • SCISSORS -Some sharp scissors which allow precision cutting. 

1.Design your lace pattern. Perhaps take inspiration from textile patterns. 


2. Sketch out your design. If you want a symmetrical design draw only half of the design lengthways. 

3. Cut out your Shift Dress pattern pieces and make sure that the front piece is traced onto tracing paper (put this tracing paper front piece aside). Now cut your Tulle. When cutting the back omit the zipper and cut the dress on the fold so that the back looks like the image below. Sew the darts for the front piece. 


4.When you are happy with your textile design, have a look at where the darts lie. (please refer to image number 8 below to see where I placed the darts, I have marked them in yellow). Make sure that when you draw out your design on the tracing paper, draw the textile pattern to work WITH your dress pattern. 

Now transfer the 'half' design onto thin tracing paper. Once the entire design is transferred, fold the paper and draw the other half. This ensures that it is all symmetrical.

5. If you are using a stencil, transfer the final design onto the thick tracing paper and scalpel away!


6. Now that you have cut out the stencil, draw the pattern onto your cut out fabric.
7. Lift away the stencil and get those scissors out! Now start CAREFULLY cutting. If you want the inverted version for the back.... you need all pieces to stay intact! So be careful

Now that you have your entire lace cut out. Pin and sew darts. Next you need to match up the tulle front pattern and the cut out lace darts. By matching these darts, you are able to align the garments together. Now pin, pin, pin!

9. Now carefully, starting from the middle top section, start sewing the black fabric onto the tulle. Sew close to the edge to prevent the fabric flapping away from the tulle. Sew from the middle out to the edges. Then move down the bottom section in the middle outwards. This hopefully ensures that your black fabric lies as 'bubble free' as possible.  This does take a while and feels a little tedious, BUT remember it is worth it in the end! You can hand sew some of the small pieces

Now for the back section. Place your textile design next to the back section of the tulle and place the cut out pieces correctly on the tulle.

11. Pin and sew the back section. 
Once the whole back and front textiles are complete, match and sew the front section to the back. 
Now roll the edges of the neckline and sew it down. Cut the back of the neckline tulle piece so that it matches the front section. Cut the many threads. And you are finished! FINALLY!

12. Don't forget to make a slip. I used the same shift dress pattern, just made it smaller along the sides so that it clung to me more.


February 19, 2013

my cut out lace challenge

I made this dress as an experiment. I was inspired by the laser cut lace dresses which have been around for the past year or so. So I designed the print, drew it to fit the pattern pieces. Transfered the print to black fabric. Carefully cut out the design. Sewed it to a tulle pattern piece, then .... well I will post a tutorial for the dress within the next few days! 
Oh and the dress was an experiment for my sisters (kaye of course) bridesmaids dress. Yes I am about to say the 'E' word. I am engaged so this will be a year of experimenting with semi formal/formal wear! Hopefully I will finish the year of 2013 with some labour intensive dresses... aka my ultimate (or ultimate for the time being) dresses.


These photos were taken on two separate mornings. Luckily on the second morning the snow looked wonderful on the trees.
And I entered the dress into the Burdastyle competetion as the pattern is from the new Burdastyle sewing vintage modern book. It got into the top 20 looks which is nice. People are voting for it here. Perhaps I will review the book on my blog.
Watch this space for the tutorial for the dress!

February 07, 2013

TUTORIAL! Snood. Bring on the snood-ilicous-ness!

It is no secret that I find it difficult to sit still. I get overly excited about all of my passions. It often gets to the point where I just need to sit and rest... but still I need something to do. Knitting & crocheting are my ultimate productively relaxing past times. My grandma taught me how to knit when I was a child and my Australian football DOCKERS scarf was my first project. Go the Dockers! Of late I have spent most of my knitting and crocheting time making toys for presents for friends and family. I also started making clothing the other year when I knitted shorts for my sis kaye(you can find them here.... and I am knitting the shorts again so that I can write out the exact pattern for a tutorial. I want to spread the knitted shorts cheer! ... but it is STILL on my to do list). 

So here is the pattern for a SNOOD! I think that everyone should knit a snood. It is relaxing and once you get started you don't need to think too much. PLUS it is an awesome piece of clothing!


* Size 10 mm circular knitting needles/or double pointed needles/or regular needles (where you sew the snood together after)
* 3 x 50 g yarn
* (optional) Knitting marker of some sort. (e.g. safety pin/bought knitting marker/different coloured yarn)

This is the yarn that I chose to use
  Austermann Merino Softy - 3 schwarz here
Zusammensetzung  98% Merino Schurwolle, 2% Polyamid
Lauflänge  ca. 53m / 50g
Nadelstärke  10.0 - 12,0mm
Verbrauch  Damen Langarmpulli Gr. 38/40 M ~ 550g
Maschenprobe  8 Maschen, 12 Reihen = 10x10cm

1. Cast on 66 stitches 

2. Now that you have cast your stitches on you need to join your round. If your cable is too long you just need to pinch the cable through the stitches. Find the half way mark between your stitches, then pinch and pull the cable, which brings the stitches to a close. If this sounds all a bit confusing there is a 'magic loop youtube link here' which kind of gets at what I am trying to explain.

3. When joining the round make sure that you do not twist your knitting, otherwise you will get a twisted snood. Not  a good look.... I have made this mistake before. Just undo it and start again.

4. Once you are certain that everything is going well, keep knitting in the round, up until you reach your starting point. If you want you can place a marker here so that you clearly know where your starting point is. Now knit a round of pearl stitch. This pattern continues,

Knit a round
Pearl  a round
Knit a round
Pearl  a round

.. .until you get the width that you want. I knitted until I finished the 3 balls of yarn, which was about 58 rows. You can see in this below image that I have to constantly pull the cable through as I am knitting around.

5. Make sure that you finish off at your marker point. Cast off.

And there you have it! A cosy snood for the winter and a relaxing 'I don't have to think' project!