Blame it on Amal Clooney. I would not have attempted this dress if it wasn’t for her. Not only is she a brilliant attorney with a enviable last name, look how well she wears Dolce and Gabbana.
Here’s another great example. The lace detailing accentuates the shape of the dress and makes it pop. Yet, the dress doesn’t look too fussy or girly.
Inspired, I decided to attempt a knock off.
I used New Look 6209, a sculpted sheath with contrasting side panels and yoke. When I saw the photo on the front of the pattern envelope, I wondered if you could achieve the same sort of contrast with lace appliqué. I also liked the unusual sleeves, with the pleated sleeve caps.
Part of the charm of the Dolce and Gabbana dress for me, was that the lace was appliquéd over tweed. So, I used a stable Ponte knit of light gray for the dress, thinly striped with black. (purchased at Fabric Depot.)
I cut the dress out of the Ponte first, then sewed the front to the side panels and the yoke (also cut from lace). Once the front was assembled, I measured the length of each side panel seam to determine how much lace I’d need for the contrast.
That’s when I realized just how complex this task would be! The lace had to be placed just so along the side panel’s seams, or it would draw attention, (maybe even exaggerate!!!) the parts of my body that just didn’t need it.
To avoid that, I had to figure out exactly where to stick that lace, if you get my drift.
First, I tried to pin the lace on the front of the dress while I stood in front of a mirror. Let’s just say, that was a Very Bad Idea and leave it at that.
After a bit of trial and error, I decided to pin the dress front to my dress form (seems so obvious now!) and adjust the lace placement until it was right. Then, I hand basted the lace to the fabric.
Now for the crafty bit.
I used my trusty Bernina to appliqué the lace on, tracing each of the curvy edges with stitches. At first, the patience required for this was a bit out of my wheel house. Not only that, but I realized a wrong move would mean that I’d have to rip out a lot of stitches (not my favorite way to spend an afternoon.) Panic!
But as we all know, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
I forced myself to persevere. Not only was it a Growth Moment, but I had way too much money invested in lace and fabric to give up the ship.
The appliqué stitching took a long, long time. Two old movies later though, it was done! The day brightened! I went on to finish that dress.
Oh, one other thing. I added a bit of lace on the bottom of the sleeves too, a six inch swath of lace sewn on to the bottom of the sleeve as a cuff.
The pattern was easy to assemble with very little adjusting. But when it was completed, I wasn’t sure I liked this dress, wasn’t sure lace was my thing. But after spending SO much time on it, I had to take it out for a spin. At a dressy evening event, it was kept up with the best of the LBD’s, so I’ll probably wear it again.
Have you tried to recreate a designer look? I’d love to hear about your ‘knock off’ efforts.