This is what always happens: I find a piece of vintage fabric that I cannot resist using right now. The latest case involved a piece of white floral lace I scored at a thrift shop on my mini-break in late June.
It's not the most showy fabric, and it's not one of those crazy, psychedelic prints I'm so fond of. What this bit of sixties' goodness did have was major potential. I knew straight away I could create a new, layered textile with it. And so, in between creating sets for my massive collection of separates (yes, it's still coming), I whipped up a few summery frocks. Here's how it went.
The lace is dense, which when sewing miniature things, is good. Lace with lots of big gaps and a loose weave simply won't work for something like this.
The style had to be simple, sleeveless, I thought, with a full skirt – classic.
I dug into my stash of cotton solids, ending up with three favourite brights: pink, orange and yellow. When I laid the white lace over each fabric, the colours softened, and my thoughts wandered to ice cream, sorbet, gelato in all the best flavours.
Next, it was on to the practical bits. I sprayed the back of the lace with 505 temporary fabric adhesive, which is brilliant stuff, and carefully smoothed the solid coloured cottons right side to the lace's now-sticky side. And just like that I had a brand-new fabric.
I cut the bodices by hand, but used my Cricut Maker cutting machine for the skirts and tricot lining for the bodice.
I made a sample and was happy, but not happy enough. There's always that nagging whisper niggling in my brain when something is not quite right.
I thought, I slept, I made other things. I dug through my trims thinking maybe a flash of gold at the waist and neck would do the trick. But no. It had to be better — special.
The velvet flowers would be perfect. I had purchased a large lot a few years back. They're off-white, very vintage and made in Japan. The off-white, I'd discovered using them in a different design, could be easily dyed into any shade I desired by colouring them with Copic markers. The colours are vivid and soak all the way through the velvet, but don't stain or rub off once dry.
It all came together quickly after that. I sewed the dresses by machine, and velvet flowers to the middle of each lace flower by hand. I affixed tiny gold nail art studs with crystal glue to create the centre of each velvet flower.
A white satin ribbon belt and two snaps at the back, and the dresses were done. I was pleased, my dolls were pleased, especially once I paired the dresses with white tights and bright boots.
All I need now is some actual ice cream. A Creamsicle, I think.