In the Winter 21 magazine Claire Tyler provides lots of advice on working with lace. However, the corded chemical lace used for The Slip Dress featured, needed a little extra attention to achieve a good result.
Chemical lace is when the pattern to form the lace is embroidered onto a base fabric which is then chemically dissolved. The corded chemical lace I have used here is heavy and very open so it drops substantially when worn.
When you first get the lace hang it over a rail (stair bannister or similar) in the direction you are going to cut your pattern pieces, for a day or so to let the fabric ‘drop’. I decided to use the selvedge edge for the hem therefore I hung the fabric widthways rather than lengthways.
Following Claire’s tip, I underlined the dress rather than follow the instructions with The Slip Dress pattern. So I cut my lining fabric first – as with the lace fabric I turned the pattern pieces to use the weft or width as my grain line, placing the skirt hem against the selvedge (see above). Once I’d cut my lining pieces, I lay the lace fabric flat on a table, ensuring I didn’t pull the fabric out, so keeping the ‘dropped’ fabric effect. I then placed the lining fabric on top and tacked the two layers together, before cutting the lace slightly larger (0.5cm) than the lining pieces.
To construct the dress, I stitched the darts first, then attached the top front to one skirt piece and the top back to the other, then the two shoulder seams. Unlike the Slip Dress pattern instructions, the neckline and armholes now need finishing, for this I used a bias binding.
I have found that the skirt still drops slightly however once worn this is minimal as the dress takes the body shape.
The lace fabric is from Midland Textiles, it has a dry ‘cotton-like’ feel and comes in three colours Red, Royal and Black - see HERE