My new dressmaking project: the birthday lace dress

One thing I’ve always wanted to do was make my own lace dress. I previously posted inspirations and ideas for my own lace tea dress, but with everything else going on (like finishing my etched silver cuff and starting on stone setting) the motivation for making a lace dress just seemed to fall by the wayside.

I recently found out that having taken apart the stitching for my mum’s Chinese wedding dress that it won’t fit me (I’m very disappointed by this discovery) and have been looking around for ways to personalise a chinese wedding dress I’d be making myself. One of the thoughts that immediately came to mind was to make a lace dress. Do you see where this is headed now?

Valentino red lace gown, S/S 2012 Ready To Wear. Source: The Dashing Diaries

Valentino red lace gown close up, S/S 2012 Ready To Wear. Source: Eva on Tumblr

For those who aren’t too familiar with the House of Valentino, or designer Valentino Garavani, most of the runway shows consist of garments and accessories (including leather goods) That bring to mind a romantic and elegant style. This is especially evident in his creative use of lace. The lace dresses shown above are from his S/S 2012 Ready To Wear collection, but one of my favourite pieces from his collection are these lace court shoes from 2010.

Valentino lace court shoes from 2010. Source: Sunrainey

Source: Sunrainey

Source: Sunrainey

While I’m still contemplating whether it would be possible to pull off a lace Chinese wedding dress, another photo caught my eye. The part of my mind that gets obsessed with an idea and gives me motivation to get involved in something has led me to a more immediate dressmaking project: a dress to make for the OH’s birthday later in July.

Valentino blue lace tea dress, S/S 2012 Ready To Wear. Source: Star Style

It’s a special birthday for the OH and I had it in mind to make a dress to suit the occasion. I simply fell in love with the pale blue colour and really feel it’d be a great dress to wear for the evening we’ve got planned (more of that to come later!) especially with the summer weather that’s been gracing the Scottish skies.

I’m a big fan of pastel colours and the simplicity of the lace and beauty of the intricate design without appearing to be mass produced floral pattern really calls to me. The same way other fabrics in the past have done, my brain screamed ‘This is the one’. I can already see this dress in my mind. With the simple cut of the dress, it can be worn with heels for formal occasions (like Claire Danes, it doesn’t even need to be the same colour) or if you feel like dressed up casual with flats.

Claire Danes wearing the lace dress by Valentino in red. Source: The Fashion Court

To make my own similar version, I came across a seller on Etsy, FashionLace, has imitation embroidered lace like that used on Valentino’s S/S 2012 Ready To Wear runway.

Sample imitation embroidered lace. £12.06 per half metre from Fashion Lace

Although the original Valentino dress only has a nude coloured corset and is see through for fashion reasons from the waist downwards, I will be using nude coloured lining throughout the dress. I’ve got 2 dress patterns that I am considering for this project:

New Look #6723 for the boat neck collar, and I can also use the cap sleeves as well to make an almost identical imitation of the original Valentino

New Look #6723 pattern. Source: New Look


Butterick #5731 for a different style, with a V-neck instead of a higher neckline and longer, flutter sleeves although it would still have the same fitted waist and flared A-line skirt

Butterick #5731 pattern. Source: VivianVanOwen

I’d like to be a bit adventurous and stylise the dress somewhat by using the Butterick 5731 pattern, however I quite like the original style as well and feel that New Look 6723 will be a safer choice and give me what I’m looking for. I think I tend to go for V-necks because I like the style, but a boat neckline wouldn’t be so bad either. I can wear any length of necklace and this neckline would compliment any neck adornments I choose.

What would you advise? Anyone have any suggestions or preference? Would you go for the Butterick 5731 or the New Look 6723?

4 thoughts on “My new dressmaking project: the birthday lace dress

  1. The red lace gown can be wearing as modern Chinese wedding dress. Just putting on a pair of gold bangle over one hand. Gorgeous & fancy !

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