In between unpicking the skirt from the halter sundress and procrastinating, I did actually (almost) finish one rather small piece. You may (or may not) recall a large piece (several metres) of starched white cotton I found at the thrift store back in June. It was the kind of lovely, plain, basic fabric you rarely find at the thrift store, so I would’ve picked it up just for that, but one end had also been worked with the most amazing panel of handmade lace I’ve ever seen.
Now, admittedly I don’t know much about lace-making. I have no idea what techniques are employed, except that it looks to have been done by hand, with gorgeous patience and precision. I assume this is some kind of heirloom stitching taken to an astounding extreme. It’s one of those pieces that makes you wonder about the person who had the fabric before you, though. What kind of piece was this worked for? Was it meant to be the yoke of a shirt? Part of a Christening gown or something? Why would someone put all that work into making the lace, and then never make the final garment? (The shape and positioning on the fabric suggests garment to me, but I suppose I don’t really know even that).
Anyway, obviously it needed to become something that would showcase the beautiful lace. After some hemming and hawing, I made my decision, and cut out a second version of my sundress bodice, with the lace in the centre front panel. I toyed with the idea of putting a coloured fabric behind, to show through at the lace, but the white cotton was too sheer to hide it, so I just lined with another layer of the same fabric.
It still needs straps. I had some cut out and pressed and ready to go, but somewhere between bringing it upstairs to do the handstitching I mislaid them. It actually stays up remarkably well, with that large shirred back, but I’ll feel much happier with straps anyway. I used the facing piece to make the little “collar” top, which I really love, although since I forgot to add a seam-allowance to the CF, it wound up not reaching quite to the side-seams. I hand-stitched the bottom of the bodice front together for a nice finish that doesn’t show on the front. I maybe should’ve put some interfacing strips along the V-point in the front, as it’s a bit wavy and floppy, but it’s not awful.
It looks good with shorts, but wouldn’t it be perfect with a full, puffy skirt?