Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Creating the new Autumn Collection Part 5: The Olive Silk and Antique Lace Mermaids Dress

Once upon a time, a young TAFE fashion student (me!) stumbled across a vintage and retro store. Inside that store were many pieces of beautiful lace and fabrics, although none were as beautiful as one piece of lace.

This lace was so delicate, so fine; the label read: Antique 1930's lace. She bought it knowing that one day, when the time is right, this lace will become something beautiful!

Fast forward more than 10 years later, and I have finally used this lace!

Each time I thought about using this lace, I chickened out of it- I didn't want to create something from it that I wasn't going to be happy with. I am very proud to show you my Olive Silk and Antique Lace Mermaids Dress- and here is the step by step creation of this dress...

Above, starting to sew the olive green silk together to make the outer layer. I added interfacing to the bust and shoulder area, to make the pieces sit well around the body.

Below, I have added a tape around the neckline and sleeves to prevent stretching. In this design I cut the selvedge of the fabric off, and use this as tape- doing this will make the seam thickness less.

Above and below, where needed, the seams are trimmed and clipped to help the seam sit flat.

Sewing the lining together. The lining is 100% silk too.

The centre back has an invisible zip. I always like to make sure the seams match at each junction- sometimes very tricky when using a zip, but worth the fuss!

Above and below, the dress before the lace has been attached.

Above and below, I had to position the brown antique lace carefully around the bodice, using lots of pins, and clipping the lace away gradually. I am not an expert on deciding how old fabrics and laces are, so I can only guess how old this lace is judging from the label it had on it (when I bought the piece over 10 years ago), but I can tell you that it is very delicate, very fine, and they don't make lace like this these days!

Just pinning the lace around the bodice takes a lot of time; making sure that the lace is flat and not puckering the olive silk. I decide to follow the design lines of the dress, and have less lace at the back.

I have enough lace to create about 4 of these dresses. Perhaps I may run out of olive green silk (as it is a vintage fabric as well), but a beautiful cream or ivory would look perfect with this lace too!

I can't wait to show you all the professional photos of this dress! Stay tuned for more.


  1. I love seeing great craftsmanship and beauty all in the same place!

  2. Wow! thanks for the lovely comments margihealing!