Did you catch the Great British Sewing Bee final? Well done to Matt – I think he was my favourite from the start! However, did you see all those lovely lace skirts they made last week? Last year for GBSB Series 2 I took part in my very own ‘Sewing Bee Sleeveless Top’ challenge (you can see how that make went here). Not one to break with tradition, this year for GBSB Series 3, White Tree Fabrics were very kind to set me another challenge! This time it was a lace challenge – though ‘challenge’ is perhaps an understatement.
The pattern I used for my GBSB lace challenge was the Vogue V8949 dress, an ‘Easy Options’ sewing pattern that features both long sleeve and sleeveless dresses with a lace overlay. I chose to make view C for the a-line skirt but then added the lace sleeves from view B to make it a bit more ‘demure’ and more like an evening dress.
The fabric I used is the black large flower lace from White Tree Fabrics – the same black lace that Neil used in the Sewing Bee episode – with a simple, ivory-coloured lining underneath. The lace has a lovely scalloped edge which I think looks just lovely around my dress hem. If you’ve never sewn with shiny lining and silky, stretchy lace before (like me) then my goodness you’re in for a bumpy ride. These fabrics are gosh-darn slippery! Basting and pinning are your friends for this project, believe me. I got quite frustrated with this dress at one point and put it away for a few weeks whilst I calmed down – I really don’t know how those Sewing Bee contestants managed to cope in such a small time-frame! No walking away from the challenge for a breather in that room…
The pattern itself is made up of lots of separate panels for the skirt, a front bodice, a back bodice, a waistband and two decorative peplums over the hips. I quite like the added peplum feature, it’s not something I’d ever have thought to try but the end result is quite effective. Definitely one I’ll be keeping in mind for future projects! I also rather like the addition of lace sleeves, although I did make them a little too big for my liking. You live and learn – and I certainly did learn a lot whilst making this dress.
Overall this GBSB lace challenge was exactly that – a challenge! I’ve learnt such a lot about delicate fabrics and sewing techniques through making it. Practice makes perfect! Who knows, this time next year you might be watching me on the TV as I battle with these fabrics in public rather than in them privacy of my living room 😉
What do you think? Have you ever sewn with lace before? Has the episode inspired you to try? Here are a few of the other White Tree Fabrics bloggers makes (which are all so much better than mine!) – check them out!