One of my friends was looking for a baptism gown for her baby and was having trouble finding one. This is the same friend who lives in Paris and I was surprised she couldn't find one she liked there so I offered to make her one and send it to her by Express mail. She wanted the dress to look like the Empress Josephine's dress at her coronation but without the gold. That was a tall order but here is what my finished dress looks like above. It is Alencon lace with a silk charmeuse underdress which is underlined with light pink cotton flannel. The pink underlining gives a slight pinkish hue which I like. It was the first time I worked with lace and I would like to share some tips I learned from working with lace.
This was the pattern drawing for McCalls 6221, the pattern I adapted. I had to ignore the directions since I was making a lace overskirt that requires a totally different technique which I will now try to explain. I also had to shorten the dress since my friends' baby is one and walking and would trip on a long gown.
This is the Alencon lace I chose. You have to lay the pattern crosswise on the fabric when you cut. I wanted the border to be at the waist and and at the hem . The measurements of the babies length has to be perfect because you can't hem it if it's too long or you will ruin the border. I hope it fits her!
You have to use an applique seam method when working with thick lace. If you make a normal side or shoulder seam it will be too bulky. Applique seams are overlapped and fell stitched by hand. The motifs are matched up and then the overlapped part is folded over to the other pattern piece, on top of the matching design and hand stitched over it. The overlapping lace excess is then cut away from underneath. Above is the overlap on the front bodice I am explaining. When it is folded over the back bodice and sewn down and trimmed from underneath, the seam will be invisible.
Lining up the two blue thread seem lines. You can pin it so it doesn't shift when you sew it.
|Sewing the motif down with a fell stitch.|
|I also sewed the lace down from behind to make the seam stronger. This is after I trimmed away the excess from behind on the wrong side of the lace.|
|This is the finished bodice shoulder seams .The seams are not noticeable|
|Pinning the lace bodice to the silk charmeuse dress underneath. The neckline will have a silk bias binding and it will have a flannel hand stitched lining inside to make it warmer for the Paris winter.|
Above is how you cut the skirt. Insted of one front and two backs like the pattern says I sewed one continuous piece to avoid seams.