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June 22

Macaron Redux Revisited

As I sat down over the weekend to list out all of the projects I have ‘outstanding’ on my chairs and various places in the apartment, this project is the one I’m currently most excited by: my Macaron Redux dress.  This has been a project that has been sitting for quite some time, and felt like this was the one I wanted to start with.

I drew my own mods based on Colette’s Macaron dress, which I was attempting to work on for her Spring Palette Challenge back in February.  I made the original Macaron dress a while ago, and didn’t find that it was particularly flattering on me.  I wanted something with a pencil skirt and I also envisioned this little number with a peplum.

I ended up redrafting the Macaron sweetheart/bust piece to incorporate the waistband piece.  (Essentially I made the bodice longer.)  Additionally I wasn’t getting a good fit with the sleeves no matter what I adjusted.  So I also ended up redrafting the sleeves to become cap sleeves.  I’m planning on making the skirt portion out of my Burda Jenny Skirt, and will be directly attaching that to the bodice.  Additionally I decided to make the peplum removable, so the peplum will also act as a belt.  I haven’t figured the peplum portion out yet, but will do so when I get the bodice all completed.

Based on all of the changes above, I made 4 muslins to perfect the fit then I went out and bought all of my fabric in March.

This is a black Chantilly lace laid on top of a nude silk charmeuse and a pink 2-ply silk crepe.  Initially I was planning on making this in a light pink lace with white underlay, but I didn’t find any that I liked, so I turned to this alternative.

I cut all of the silk pieces out back in March/April, but essentially froze up when it came to cutting out the lace, and it’s been sitting ever since.  What was freaking me out, was trying to figure out how to cut the lace to utilize the couture technique of a lace applique seam (pg. 45).

As an aside, I love the google preview feature for books!  This link that is called pg. 45 just above, is Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques book that I’m using as one of my main references for research this technique and is exactly what I’m aiming to do on my macaron dress.  Now you can all see it for yourselves without me taking photos and violating some copyright laws.  *yay*

I was doing research using Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques book along with her Fabric Sewing Guide.  My plan is to underline the lace yolk with the nude charmeuse and the bodice is to be underlined in the cranberry silk crepe.  This made it a bit tricky to follow Claire’s steps for lace on lace applique, so I ended up following her steps with the patterned fabric applique.

I’ll say this first, that my images aren’t quite in tutorial edition yet, since I’m only trying this technique out for the first time myself.  But once I get to the front I hope to write one up for you guys.

I’ve decided to start working on the back bodice piece first, just in case I have any slip-ups.  I figure, if it’s not 100% perfect, it wouldn’t be a huge deal since it’ll be on the back of the dress.  :)

So to start off, I redrew my pattern piece (which was on the fold) and made it one large bodice piece (non-fold version) and folded back the seam allowances.  From there I basted along all of the edges where I knew I was going to use the lace-applique seam treatment.

I started with the back yolk pattern piece and I basted the seam lines in white silk along the side seam, shoulder seam, and bottom seam (which is connected to the bodice).  And then I marked out the original cut lines using yellow chalk, just as a visual guide to help me cut out the lace.

On my pink tissue paper piece below, you can see that I have the seam lines marked in blue, dashed lines.  For me the more markings I have the better, it helps me stay on track with minimal cutting mishaps.  Again I have my seam lines basted at the bottom and on the left.  I didn’t baste the armhole seam (more on that later).

And from there you may be seeing that I have roughly cut my lace out.  But in all actuality, this is actually very precise cutting.  In order to sew a lace applique seam, you have to cut out your lace, keeping in tact your lace motifs, since they’ll be used to applique to the adjoining pattern piece.

So all around the pre-marked lace pattern piece, I’ve kept a bunch of motifs from the lace that extend both from the seam line as well as the cutting line.  You really don’t want this many motifs saved, since if you use too many your seam line will look really busy and would be more noticeable than a traditional seam.  But again, I’d rather be safe than sorry, so I kept a bunch knowing that I’ll end up cutting more off when I attach the bodice to the yolk.

After you cut out your lace motifs, you’ll want to go all around and trim up the little lace mesh bits that are hanging off of the motifs.  You really don’t need these.

And at the end of the evening, I basted the lace pattern piece to my nude silk charmeuse piece.

You can see that I cleaned up all of the lace motifs, and that there are a bunch (again, just in case.)

Here’s a detail shot that includes some basted seam lines:

You saw that I basted the seam lines in the lace already, but what I didn’t show was that when I basted the nude silk to the lace, I actually basted along the seam line, and removed the old basting that was only on the lace.  So I know have my seam lines basted through both fabric pieces.

The armhole seam here isn’t basted at the seam line.  It wasn’t necessary to do so since it won’t be receiving the applique seam treatment.  And lastly, you’ll also notice that the bottom seam allowance doesn’t seem consistent.  One of the benefits of sewing an applique lace seam is that it truly doesn’t matter if these allowances aren’t the same.  Since we’ll be lining up two pieces, right sides facing up, we only align them using the basting line instead of the seam edges.

I hope you’ve been able to follow along a bit.  Truthfully, I’m blogging way too late this evening and am running out of steam.

I’ll be writing much more about applique seams and my findings as I work on the bodice back piece and with joining the bodice back to the back yolk.  But please post up all of your questions and I’ll make sure to address them all either by replying in the comments or in my next post.

  1. Karen / Jun 22 2011

    This is going to be beautiful, I am excited to see the final results.

  2. Stephanie / Jun 22 2011

    Can’t wait to see the finished dress! Looks like it’s going to be AMAZING! And please do a tutorial after you are finished. I’d love to learn how to do this. :)

  3. Susan - Knitters Delight / Jun 22 2011

    I was just looking at the Flickr Me-Made-June pictures and commented on needing to make this dress. I have to dig out the pattern ASAP!

    Your modifications with lace look and sound like a winner!

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