Cosmo Sewalong: Making and shaping your lace trim October 20 2015

Welcome to the first in this sewalong series for the Cosmopolitan dress.

Since this is a mini-sewalong, I'm only going through the more tricky parts of construction here on the blog. I'm going to assume you've had no trouble selecting your fabric, identifying your size, cutting your pieces out and assembling the fabric parts of the dress and the lining as far as the end of step 1 in the instructions.

To best explain the lace techniques I'll be using, I'll be tackling the next few steps out of order, specifically I'll be leaving step 2 until later, so go ahead and skip to step 3, which is to baste the lining to the dress along the top edge.

I'm going to focus on step 4 in this post which involves making the lace trim for the bodice. The instructions call for 4m of 6 to 9cm lace trim. If, like me, you can't find a lace trim to match your fabric, you can use lace fabric to make your trim instead, which is what I'm going to show below. If you've got lace trim (lucky you) it's the exact same process after cutting the strips.

First, study your lace fabric and work out how the pattern repeats. You'll have to decide where to cut based on cutting strips between roughly 6 and 9 cm wide. Here's what I did with mine:

Here's a close up. I'm using corded lace and the cords had to be cut in places, but the outline of the flowers makes a nice scalloped edge.

Repeat until you have around 4m to play with. Here's my pile!

Dig out your bodice pattern piece and take a look at the top corner. There are three lines printed which are the cutting guide for the lace.

Place your lace trim across the top edge (the straight edge intersecting the centre front), lining up the top of the scalloped edge with the top edge of the paper. The instructions show folding your trim in half (taking care to fold along a line of symmetry, if your lace has one) and cutting both pieces of this pair together, but I'm cutting mine singly to show you how to do it.

Pin your lace to the paper if it helps. Cut down the centre front along the pattern edge.

Next cut along line 1. There are different lines for different sizes, so make sure you get the right one.

Because I cut this pair singly, I was able to use the piece I'd just cut as a template for the other piece.

Make sure to place them right sides together so you get a pair. In my case, there was no symmetry to the lace, so I just placed it with a scallop roughly in the same place.

Sew your two pieces together down the centre front, press the seam open and trim the seam allowances.

Next, we'll make the trim for the front armhole section. It's the same idea - using the pattern piece to shape the lace.

Cut the top edge per line 3 on the pattern. Again, pin the lace to the paper if it helps.

In the instructions, you'll see I show using darts in the trim to shape the lace around the armhole, which is fine if you're using purchased trim. You can use two or three darts, or more if you want to make them really small, but it does get quite fiddly the smaller they get.

For my lace fabric, I cut around some of the flowers and overlapped that section to create a shape I liked. I also used the existing curve of the scalloped edge to make some of the shape.

Here's a close up of it pinned together. Preserving a whole flower like this helps to disguise the join.

Join your pieces (or sew your darts) using a small, narrow zig zag in a co-ordinating colour.

You can see below that it's almost invisible, even though my colour match with the thread was not 100%.

For the other armhole, repeat the process, but you need to make a mirror image of the first piece so that they are a pair. You can either turn your paper upside down, or you can place your lace on it upside down (wrong side up). I think placing the trim wrong side up is better because you can see the lines on the paper, but don't forget that your overlap will go UNDER the other piece to be on top.

Join your armhole trim to the piece you made earlier and trim the seam allowances. You should be left with a piece of trim which mimics the shape of the front bodice.

You should also cut a piece for the back bodice in the same way (don't forget, cut it on the fold) - it's a straight line so shouldn't be tricky like the front. Join it to the front trim on one edge, remembering to compare it with your dress shell so you leave the correct edge open for the zip.

Any questions at this point? Leave a comment below and I'll get back to you ASAP!