Hey y’all! I have a project I really enjoyed to share with y’all today. I made this dress to wear to a friend’s afternoon winter wedding.

A navy lace dress with square neckline, sheer sleeves, circle skirt, and fitted bodice.
My inspiration was Shabby Apple’s I’m Late! I’m Late! dress and other navy lace dresses I saw on Pinterest:

I ordered my stretch lace from Fabrics World USA after getting a free sample. It was well worth ordering. I love how it looks, although it is really clingy to itself. I bought 3 yards and had barely enough.

For the bodice I used a princess seam pattern I’ve used in the past (McCall’s 3129) for the broadcloth underlayer, with a little fitting and changing of the neckline.
For the skirt, I used Butterick 3134 for the underlayer and a 3/4 circle pattern for the outer layer.

I put a zipper in the back, making sure to extend it past the waistline, but not too long to make the skirt lay funky. I still put it on over my head although I can just squeeze enough to step in. I also wear my circle skirt slip underneath to give it more volume and help the skirt lay better.

I didn’t hem the lace because it doesn’t fray. That was super nice on the sleeves because I didn’t hem those either.

For the sleeves, I used a sleeve pattern I drafted years ago (like 2009 ago) and adjusted the curve of the top of the sleeve pattern to fit my bodice. It went together like a dream, and I was so thankful.

To do the lace overlay for the bodice, I layed the front bodice (the princess seams were sewn) and back bodice onto the stretch lace and just kind of ignored the shaping of the pieces and cut out the outline so that when I put the dress on my dressform, the lace would stretch and conform to the underlayer. It was a bit more complicated than it sounds and took many tries of shaping, cutting, and pinning, but it came out and I love it.

To finish the neckline, I just serged the lace and broadcloth together. It was a little tricky to turn the corner on the square, but generally it was simple and easy. The neck does gape a little, so I roll up some scotch tape and just stick the neckline to my skin when I wear it. The professionals use fashion tape, right? πŸ˜‰

I was planning on doing a navy belt like the Shabby Apple dress, but with my lovely new taupe shoes I decided I needed a matching belt, and oddly found this one in the back of my closet- I had picked it up at a thrift store and forgotten about it. πŸ˜›

So, there ya go, my navy lace dress! It was worth the time and money (about $40 for fabric) to create something that I know will be a go-to for events and church for years to come. After I’m done a project like this that I’d been putting off for a while, I think, “Now, why didn’t I do this before? I have an awesome item now that makes life easier, and only had to suffer a little to get it!” ha. πŸ˜€

Advice if you want to make one: get a dress form, and double check everything. Lace is super hard to rip seams out of. πŸ˜› Also, don’t rush. I tried to and quickly realized that was not gonna fly. So, I slowed down and it was so worth it. πŸ™‚

69 thoughts on “|~ Navy Lace Dress”

  1. That is super cute!! You did a great job making it and it looks professional!! My friend has one like it that she bought only though it is black, and I really like it too!!

  2. Oh my goodness, that is GORGEOUS! I absolutely love it- do you want to make me one? πŸ˜‰ It is stunning- you are a great sewer. Seriously, you could sell dresses like that.

  3. Hi, Olivia–

    First time commenter here. I've been enjoying your Fresh Modesty blog, and your new ebook looks fantastic (it is on my wishlist)!!

    Your dress is beautiful, and you used some great creativity and originality in creating it. I just had to comment because I am currently using M3129 here at home for my daughters. I'm not too confident at fitting and changing, but I'm plugging away, and Lord willing, we'll have something.

    Thanks for taking the time to encourage and inspire us!


  4. love the dress, i like the Shabby Apple one but yours looks stunning on you, the colour matches your eyes and the shoes are cute. You definately finish off a garment wonderfully that you would think that it was bought. I know that takes lots of time and patience. Well Done.

  5. This dress is sooooo beautiful!!! I'm impressed…like, really impressed ! I only started sewing one year ago, but I consider myself as a not-so-bad seamstress, but I really admire your ability to sew complicated stuff like lace.
    I knew what to expect in terms of the shape of the dress since I started following you Pnterest during Christmas break, but I didn't expect your dress to be that amazing (I'm not trying to say that I think you're good at sewing, but simply that the dress is so well made that it really looks professional and store bought !)
    so definitly, congratulations on completing such a task, and inspiring us !
    And I'd love to hear what you think of the last dress I made : http://lescrapdemarie.blogspot.fr/2013/01/claudette.html
    Blessings from France

  6. That is just beautiful!! I think yours looks much nicer than the one at Shabby Apple! πŸ˜‰ That looks like such a fun dress to wear and to swish around in. I love circle skirts, but don't have one… thinking I should add that to my list! πŸ˜‰ I love the belt and shoes. It totally ties it all together. πŸ™‚
    Congrats to your friend, as well, on getting married!

  7. It is perfect & must be a dream to wear! πŸ™‚
    Question on sewing…
    Is there a neck line that is easiest to do a princess line on? I would guess a boat neck but before I plunge in do you think that is correct?

  8. I concur with LilacBudGirl–your dress has much more charm and style than Shabby Apple's. The square neckline frames your face and pretty pearl strand nicely, and the circle skirt gives it a lovely '50s charm. Bravo!

    God bless, and happy sewing!
    ~"Wild Rose"~

  9. Yes I saw another commenter said stunning as I was scrolling down. I agree.
    I like yours better than the others. I imagine ripping out is a challenge and I do a lot of ripping out sometime. I would never get back into sewing adults garments but God is placing this little idea in my heart about sewing for little girls again. It's a developing little idea and this is the first time I have spoken about it. My little girl is 30 so it's been a few years! I think I'll spend a little while and devour your sewing blog maybe you'll teach me something new. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I've been sewing for quite a few years myself, but I have never been able to figure out how to make my own patterns….. what do you draw yours on? and any tips for those who would like to try πŸ™‚

  11. Beautiful dress, beautiful girl! When I worked on wedding dresses and had a gapping issue at the neckline, I sewed a piece of clear elastic, lightly stretched, to the place where I needed the piece to gently snug in. I stitched the ends securely and then hand-stitched a "casing" by sewing a zig zag over the elastic. It was unnoticeable.

    Aunt Mary

  12. What an economical and perfect product accomplishment! You are so beautiful in this dress dripping with grace and lady like charm. I love the shots you got in it too, so sweet and pretty. I think a little baby navy tee would go very nicely underneath if it were very thin, for a little more coverage on the arms if I were to make such a dress…as a mother you know, thats how I would wear it! Truly a lovely accomplishment, I bet you will be enjoying this one for years to come. As Mary Poppins would say, Practically Perfect in Every Way…which seems to sum you up in a nutshell, anyway! πŸ™‚ Good job.

  13. I own the Shabby Apple version and I must say that your dress is a lot more flattering. I love the length and the belt. I was looking to sell my dress because I didn't really like it. But now you have inspired me to perhaps use a belt with it instead of the sash that came with the dress. I really, really, really love your version a lot better. You look gorgeous!

  14. So envious! I wish I could sew like you…. I love your dress. Super fashionable and modest at the same time!

  15. First of all, LOVE the dress! SO. MUCH. πŸ˜€ Each year at my church for the Christmas program all of us girls usually like to dress up a bit more than usual. I like to make my own outfit each year and this type of dress is exactly what I had in mind for this year. I recently purchased some navy knit fabric. Would the dress still turn out ok if I use the knit fabric instead of broadcloth or will it be too clingy? Thank you! πŸ™‚

    1. Sounds fun! Hmmm… I would kind of think the knit might be too clingy/not have enough volume to work with the lace and this style of skirt. The broadcloth is a little static- y even. πŸ™‚

    2. What if there was a full length slip underneath… would that take away some of the clinginess? Thank you for answering my questions! =)

    3. Maaaaybe. I just know that the lace itself was really staticy and then with the broadcloth and wearing pantyhose underneath in the wintertime I was forever shocking myself or other people. πŸ˜› It might work!

  16. This dress is absolutely amazing! I was gunna buy the Shabby Apple one for my Bridal Shower but now I'm planning on copying yours! I love how its fuller and longer. Please let me know if you ever make another and feel like selling it, I will be first in line to buy!

  17. Beautiful dress! One question… I am going to do a 3/4 circle skirt pattern for both the lace and the broadcloth. I know in a another post you mentioned something about tweaking a skirt so that the back and front would be the same length as oppose to the back being shorter than the front. Is this something that will need to be done with the 3/4 length skirt, and if so, how should I go about doing that? Hope that makes sense! Thanks!

    1. Thanks! Yup, makes sense! When I cut out the back skirt, I just gradually add about 1" to the bottom of it for something that doesn't have a lot of stretch/give. But, with this dress, the lace was so stretchy I'm not sure I bothered to do that. However, you can always take fabric off but you can't put it on. πŸ˜‰ Just cut your back hem a little longer (depending on how "flat" you are). πŸ™‚ Hope that answers your question!

  18. I found your blog through pinterest and Love your style. When i found your sewing blog I was hooked I live sewing ans seeing others sewing. And This is a dream dress! You did a great job!!!

  19. I just can't believe you MADE this dress! It is absolutely gorgeous and sooo flattering. You are obviously very gifted in the "sewing" area. Seeing people like you encourages me that it's actually possible to sew your own clothes, haha! Not to mention I've been obsessed with this kind of dress lately (navy + lace). I will definitely have to make something like this one day. I can't imagine how thrilling/accomplished it must feel to make something like that!

  20. Wow, thank you ever so much for your little 'tutorial' πŸ™‚ I was on Pinterest looking for some ideas for a dress I'm making, and wanted lace sleeves, but wasn't sure how on earth I would do that…then, I saw this picture and went "that's PERFECT!" πŸ˜€

    Love your dress!

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