I finished this latest creation just in time to enter it in The Monthly Stitch’s July challenge, “MonoSewn,” where everything had to be black, white, or both. You can read about it here.
I knew I wanted a completely white dress, but what I didn’t plan on back in November when I decided on this design was a) Venetian lace by the yard is lame and boring or else it’s $400/yard, and b) there must be fifty shades of white clearly discernible to my eye, and probably an additional hundred or so that are probably different but too close for me to care or worry about.
Rather than spend a fortune on a yard of Venetian lace that would then have to be cut and turned and altered so drastically that it made no sense to buy it in the first place, I opted for individual Venetian lace appliques…much cheaper, much more varied, and much, much more interesting. However, even within the same manufacturer there are incredible color variances not visible under the dull lighting of an old lace shop, but clearly obvious in every other sort of lighting this dress would encounter.
What to do? At first I didn’t care, but then when placing the appliques on the dress we were shocked to discover that the very yellow ones worked perfectly right in the middle of each boob…like a bright, shining beacon, screaming, “HEY! LOOK AT ME!” Not exactly a good thing, especially considering how much we built up the boobs in the first place to make her fit in better with the girls she would skate against, many of whom would be up to six years older than she is. Plus, the dress design screamed for boobage, and she was more than happy to comply.
Anyway, rather than freak out, I tried to figure out some way to lessen or eliminate the color variances. A mix of four parts water to one part cheap, white acrylic paint did the trick. I dipped each applique in the solution, wrung it out (all over myself and the garage floor, of course) and let it dry. Added bonus — it stiffened the lace slightly, making it easier to work with and forcing the tiny detailed edges to stop curling. Extra added bonus — it got rid of the cheap looking polyester-esque sheen that some pieces had (hey, for $3, what do you expect?), making it all appear matte, in a nice, expensive, silk/linen sort of way.
Each piece was pinned to the dress with her in it, I swear I didn’t stab her once, and I only bled on the thing in one tiny spot, easily hidden by strategic stoning later.
The finished piece was stunning…temporarily. However, on her 14th birthday, I swear her hips moved and grew overnight because all of a sudden the trunks were too small and there was an ungodly amount of butt cleavage showing. I know that dress fit her perfectly on Memorial Day; but less than a month later we were using Hollywood Tape to stick it to her rear end to avoid any Atomic Wedgie Action on the figure circles. It worked fine, until we started looking through the action shots taken of her at Nationals and we had to carefully weed out all the ones where her butt just screamed a successful “I’M FREE! I’M FREE!”
So here it is, in all its glory:
It definitely made a statement, and it was definitely memorable… certainly not another spandex creation in a sea of similar dresses. Will I do it again? No. Not because it was particularly difficult or time consuming (although each lace piece was hand sewn in place, and it probably took a total of 30 or more hours to finish just that aspect alone), but because I want to try something different for her next year and I won’t copy this dress for anyone else. One and done, and happily, I’m pleased with the result.