The Regis Dress

Sometimes I make embarrassing mistakes, and for a while I thought ordering this white cotton/nylon lace from Mood Fabrics was one of those times.

white lace

The flat lace reminded me of a tablecloth upon pulling it out of the box, revealing my inexperience in selecting lace. What can I say – I felt stupid for placing such an order when so many beautiful laces were available.

B u t   w h a t ’ s   a   g i r l   t o   d o  ?

After three worrisome weeks, I bought my first bottle of Rit Dye.


Thirty minutes later….. I had a new attitude,


and two days later, I had a new dress!

IMG_1296Still energized by sewing with lace and the Sew the Perfect Fit Craftsy course led me to make one more dress with Vogue 8766 for an annual event my husband and I attend – this year with Regis Philbin.

This pattern is designed to be cut on the crossgrain. Since I wanted to take advantage of the fabric’s pretty scalloped border I cut the skirt’s lower edge along the border and included the long, darted sleeve (my first).  What beautiful shaping darts add to a sleeve – so much better than easestitching !


I followed the exact method and instructions as I did for the navy lace dress.  Since I was working from a carefully constructed muslin, there were no fitting issues, though early on I melted the nylon netting in four spots on one of the back pieces. Recutting the pattern piece and using a press cloth got me back on track. After toying with several waist embellishments I opted for none.


The dress is lined with  Mandarin china silk from Mood which was designated for another project. I found that the silk’s beautiful depth of color and sheen nicely complimented the matte quality of the lace.

After exploring the lace scene this spring I get the feeling no two laces are alike in appearance or handling. However, sewing with lace need not be scary and I plan to learn more about a fabric that I once considered mysterious.

……….and the Rit dye? Oh my goodness! Did you know the Rit Dye’s website provides formulas for 500 different colors? I am a changed woman!



So how did my dress go over last night? I’m still a little self-conscious circulating my homemade frocks amongst hundreds of $$$$$$$$ garments, but I recognize a driving force behind putting forth my best efforts is wearing my projects – i n  p u b l i c .

When I walked in the venue with a very wealthy woman who repeatedly told me she wanted my dress I didn’t dare go into my tablecoth, Rit dye and sewing saga. Instead I relaxed  and remembered Diane Von Furstenburg’s motto that always rings true – Attitude is Everything!


Speaking of attitudes……….. my next project up is the Oonaballoona dress!

Until soon :)


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203 Responses to The Regis Dress

  1. Art Attack says:

    Oh, this is spectacular! You should be so proud. What a yummy color! We truly are kindred spirits. I was dyeing yesterday, too, different bra components to see how each took the dye. Very interesting. This dress is one of my favorites of all you have made! Hugs…;D

  2. Lauren says:

    Inspired idea. I usually hate lace fabric, especially the dark blues. blacks. All look like funeral dresses to me. This orange is totally fantiastic! The cut, sleeves and scalloped hem line using the edge of the fabric all great! Now this is a lace dress! Best one I have seen out there bar none.

  3. Teri says:

    Oh my, you dress took my breath away! Great color, fit, style….:) You look fabulous!

  4. Deb Fox says:

    STUNNING! I am quite sure you turned heads…your look gorgeous and the dress is pure glamour.

  5. madrod1 says:

    Beautiful creation! You look marvelous!

  6. Tine says:

    I bet that your dress is in comparison to the $$$ dresses much better crafted and with much better material made than the shop-bought designer pieces. I love it and would totally wear it myself, and it looks very DvF to me as well.

    • Many thanks, Tine. I do love the dress and it did stand up well to lots of the dresses but there are always a few that knock my socks off! I look forward to wearing it again. :)

  7. OK, this was nothing short of brilliant, Sarah! SO impressed that you thought to dye your lace and actually had the courage to do it! It’s wonderful – love the dress on you. I think it’s hard to really tell what you’re ordering sometimes since you can’t hold that big piece in your hands, but you’ve turned a “shelf-sitter” into a beautifully colored fabric and a wonderful garment! Positively inspiring!

    Hats off to you! Can’t wait for your next project :)

  8. Sarah, I am quite sure your dress was much better than all the high dollar designer frocks at the event! Afterall, yours was fitted exactly to your body and one of a kind :)

    Great job — you have inspired me to buy some Rit dye and transform some “tablecloth lace” that came in a mystery bundle from Fabric Mart a while back.

  9. Anna Hinkle says:

    That dress is amazing, and it looks fabulous on you. What a great project!!!

  10. ClaireE says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! Everything about this works on every level. I love that you made the jump to dyeing fabric – it can make such a difference!

  11. kathi giumentaro says:

    I love, love, love your dress. I was on the fence about signing up for the Craftsy class but did after I saw your first dress. I can’t wait to get started on it.

  12. Mary says:

    Wow. Again, wow! I love what you created out of what first appeared to be a problem. The dress looks wonderful and so do you. I’ve never dyed anything but now I am going to give it a try. How do you care for the dress going forward? Hand wash?

  13. I think I’m in need of some new superlatives. I am consistently blown away by your garments and always inspired to push myself just that bit harder.
    I have some lovely lace that just isn’t my colour. I’ve dyed before but it never entered my head to do so with this lace. Thank you for resolving this quandary for me.

  14. Claudia says:

    I am no more interested in cloth one can buy – your creations are so beautiful- they reflect your sense of style and your perfect way to play with colour – I love that dress!

  15. caroline lazzara says:

    Breathtaking… are so talented!

  16. Jeyco says:

    What a beautiful dress! You look absolutely gorgeous in it! Love your pedicure too.

  17. Judi says:

    Beautiful!!! I love the color and the lining shows off the lace. I’ll bet your dress was the prettiest one there!

  18. Sam says:

    Wow! This dress is fabulous. I love the orange, it makes the lace look really modern, and the scallop detail on the hem and sleeves is gorgeous.

  19. Angela says:

    Beautiful, and unexpected with that orange! I’m so glad you wear your creations in “public”. It inspires me to wear my stuff with “attitude” too:)

  20. Fantastic, you look so good in the bright colors (which I love!) Hmmmm dyeing fabric, now you have started me thinking…drat another project. Anyway, super cute and I think the Craftsy classes are really great.

  21. Becky says:

    Well we all make stupid mistakes, and gaining wisdom means we don’t feel stupid when we make them, we persevere! This is beautiful and very flattering. I don’t think you ever need to apologize for making your own masterpieces. I know this is sewn better than anything RTW, seriously. And, it’s an ORIGINAL, a one of a kind. It doesn’t get any better than that. Congrats!

    • Hi Becky and thank you for the comment! It’s true – one should never apologize for making clothes…… but there are some fantastic RTW available…… far better (and far more expensive) than what I sew which is what I aspire too. :) :)

  22. Joanie Molnar says:

    What a great dress — it turned out beautifully. I especially love the way you hemmed it with scallops. I’m not an “orange” person, but this dress is fantastic. Of course, with your figure, it really is a stunning dress. Am I correct in assuming you have degrees in Home Ec or Fashion Design? You certainly aren’t the “average” sewer. I just recently started following you after always clicking on your photos in PR, and thoroughly enjoy everything from you. Thanks, Joanie

    • What a compliment, Joanie! No, I was a music major in college :) I have bought so many clothes through the years that I can often envision a garment before I sew it as well as how it will look on me. I believe that’s where many home sewers fall short. Many thanks for writing!

  23. Steph F. says:

    What a great idea! It looks fabulous! Impeccable job!

  24. Many people can sew beautifully but may not have style and good taste. You have both.

  25. Kacie says:

    This is absolutely stunning and that color is phenomenal on you! I’m a long-time fan of lace, but I haven’t tackled sewing with it yet. Your beautiful lace creations are giving me the itch to try it though :)

  26. Mollie says:

    Just say “Thank you!” Attitude is indeed everything.
    The dress is stunning! The fit is wonderful,

  27. jstarr4250 says:

    Oh YUMMY! This is positively your best color – you seem to glow in it. I didn’t think it possible but this one flatters you even more than your navy one. The juxtaposition of a traditional lace in your fun color is such a dynamite combination. I’ve started the Craftsy course and just bought some muslin. As always, thanks for the inspiration.

    • That’s the word I was looking for – YUMMY! I was so excited about the color transformation and I too, love the traditional lace in a YUMMY color. I can’t wait to see what you do with the Craftsy course and my sure it will be dynamite! Many thanks, Julie!

  28. Pauline Droy says:

    you have totally transformed the tablecloth, I mean lace, into something spectacular – what a fantastic colour – glad it settled into your event comfortably.

  29. Leigh says:

    Don’t doubt yourself! Wear your lovely things. :) The only thing your dress is missing is a teeny little scrap of fabric with a designer name sewn into it. Perhaps you should order some labels? Then you’d have the most exclusive label at any party. :)

  30. Carolanne Washburn says:

    Wow, wow, WOW!! I positively love this dress and the events leading up to its creation! I understand your hesitation with sharing how this beautiful dress came to be; I frequently find myself in similar situations and have found time and time again that we who create and have vision are a unique breed and there are those who couldn’t fathom such things! :) Love your attitude!

  31. Coco Savage says:

    Brilliant! Just goes to show you, it’s not what you wear but how you wear it! And you ALWAYS wear it well indeed!

  32. Carolyn Wynn says:

    How absolutely gorgeous you are in your orange lace dress! You are so talented and make such beautiful garments. I can’t wait to see what you are going to do next.

  33. Philippa says:

    What a superb dress! Of course it held it’s own with the designer numbers – it fits perfectly and what a great colour. Totally agree on darted shoulders. I have seen some sewers mention that they don’t like them but I have never understood why. Smooth is always best in my book!

  34. Michelle says:

    This is absolutely stunning on you. Love the matching toenails!

  35. Oh my goodness!! This is a fabulous dress!!!

  36. Your dress is amazing – the color and model suits you perfectly!
    So smart to dye a fabric that does not feel quite right.

  37. Kathy T says:

    Color, fit, construction all fabulous. Toe nail coordination so much fun. You really did a fantastic job.

  38. Vivian says:

    I have to add my accolades to the rest! Stunning dress. I used to dye fabrics when I had my old top load washer. Now with my ultra high efficiency front loader I am not sure. I tried it in a kettle on the stove a few years ago, and that didn’t work at all. So how did you do it??
    This dress is just lovely.

    • Thank you, Vivian! As I said I had never dyed fabric before and I have a high efficiency front loader too…. I had no choice but the kitchen sink. It’s large and stainless and worked out fine :)

  39. Sandra W says:

    I love your dress and that color looks fantastic on you. Who knew you could have such a delicious color from a bottle of dye. One again you have another fantastic creation.

  40. Alethia says:

    What a magnificent looking dress! The idea to dye the fabric was a win-win!! And, you look fantastic as usual… the color is amazing… I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!!

  41. Elise Lin says:

    You look stunning in that dress! I so admire how you took a fabric that you regretted and turned it into a fabulous garment. The lace looks perfect for it.

  42. Donatella says:

    I got married in that color! it’s my favorite! this dress came out so pretty: has nothing less to pricey store bough, fits you like a glove! well done! xox, d.

  43. Deb says:

    That dress is Fabulous!

  44. Jacqui says:

    Magnificent and my favourite color as well! I love the dress and it sounds like it kept some posh company!!!

  45. Aileen says:

    Sent from my iPad

  46. Mrs. K says:

    I’ll just have to agree with all the above! Smashing!

  47. Clio says:

    Oh this is hands down my favorite thing that you have sewn to date (and there have been many I’ve loved and admired). Orange is a spectacular color on you!

  48. Vicki says:

    Wow, fabulous. Great fit, fabulous style to you and stunning colour.

  49. lisa g says:

    stunning dress! really, that color is just amazing on you! i have no doubt there were many jealous eyes on you. great job!

  50. Elaine says:

    I love the bright colors on you. The navy was very pretty too and perfect for so many other occasions. Do you remember the days of color analysis or are you too young? I’m thinking you must have been a “bright spring.” Want the shoes too!

    • Hi Elaine! Would you believe I still have my color chart from……….the 80s? You nailed it – I’m a bright spring :) …….. and I’m soooooo glad Spring has sprung in the South :)

  51. Barbara says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your dress! I absolutely love the color, love that you decided to dye it and it is fantabulous!! Now I want one too! Beautiful!

  52. Laura says:

    Absolutely love the dress! love it! You are fearless! And the Rit dye…..who would have thought?! The china silk color gives it such depth. Tell me more about sleeve darts could not tell anything in the pic, is it close to the wrist…or in the shoulder area?

    • Thank you, Laura. I’m sorry the pic was not more helpful. The three darts are in the shoulder and the center dart lines up with the center seam. The shaping is beautiful and so much easier than adjusting an ease stitch. :)

  53. Mary Lynn says:

    Your ingenuity never ceases to amaze me! And………….. your dresses,etc. always turn out so beautifully! None of that “loving hands at home” ever!

  54. I echo all the other accolades! Just fantastic!

  55. Lawyerbilly says:

    Though I am quite biased, I have set that aside …. the model and her time consuming and rewarding work are both beautiful!

  56. Robyn Kirk says:

    You look wonderful and the dress looks very ‘haute’.
    New Zealand

  57. Valerie says:

    Yowza! Great save of tablecloth lace. If you told the woman you’d made it she probably wouldn’t believe you. That happened to my mother once!

  58. Oh wow that is one wonderful dress. The colour. Gorgeous. Hoorah to owning your dress ‘in public’.

  59. LindaB. says:

    Don’t know what I can say that hasn’t been said. This dress is exquisite and it looks fabulous on you! I so admire your sewing talent and apparent social ease! You have inspired me once again and I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

    • Thank you, Linda! Sewing is a learned skill which I am striving to perfect….. . Funny, there were huge screens showing scenes from last year’s event and up popped one of me in my “Ice Cream Social” dress which looked nice on the big screen! :)

  60. JoanneM says:

    Please help me out.
    The lining is attached to the dress?
    The lining is a separate dress?
    Any pattern will suffice? Recommendations?
    I have a lovely black lace that I have been wanting to make…..INTO EXACTLY WHAT YOU HAVE POSTED TONIGHT! I squealed when I opened up your post.
    Any advice is welcome.
    Thank you so much.
    Your dress is truly lovely. Be very proud!

    • Many thanks, Joanne!
      The lining is attached to the dress at the neck (by machine) right sides together. Once flipped it is attached (by hand) to the zipper, and after the sleeves are attached it is stitched(by hand) to the shoulder seams.
      I recommend a Craftsy class or another online class because you will always have access to the lessons. Good luck!

  61. Victoria says:

    Simply stunning!!!! I loved how you transformed the original fabric. You deserve to show ALL the attitude you want in this dress!!!! Beautiful job!!!!

  62. Pam says:

    The dress is beautiful! I can’t believe what the dye did for that lace! Thank you for the tip about Craftsy classes. I have been hearing about them on different blogs, but, after reading your post about the fit class, I went straight to the website and signed up for the class. I am waiting for the pattern to arrive and then will start – maybe closer to summer time…I’m a teacher! :-)
    Thank you for inspiring with you wonderful posts!

  63. Natalie says:

    This dress is stunning and the color is very “of the moment”. It looks fabulous on you.

  64. bikinggrandma says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter :)

    You Rocked that dress! Comparing the initial color to what you created? Amazing.

  65. Meredith P says:

    I’m with them. :-) WOW! The dress and construction are fantastic, but would expect nothing less. But I can’t get over the color! An amazing result!

  66. coco says:

    Love love love the color! Stunning dress. Well done!

  67. Joyce Love says:

    Ok, I think I said the navy lace was my favorite of all you’ve done… but I think this one surpasses it!

  68. katy says:

    What a color! No one ever wore orange so well. So much more stunning than white would have been.

    • Thanks, Katy! I was going to make a white dress with either nude or black lining…… until this lace arrived…….I knew it would look nothing like the dresses I had seen on the Saks website. We sewers must be flexible you know!

  69. Shams says:

    It looks lovely on you! What a great color!

  70. jillybe says:

    “WOW!” could suffice….jaw-droppingly beautiful on you! Great color on you, perfection in fit…just, just, just “WOW!”

  71. Linda Craig says:


  72. Mary. Matteucci says:

    You are truly an inspiration! I have high hopes of again getting out the scissors and creating. My spring/summer wardrobe,still skirts of yore that I sewed in confidence and fun, are showing signs of too long wear. Reading your blog and seeing the beautiful results are getting me closer to the sewing machine and the wardrobe I so love to design. Thank you for your infectious enthusiasm and talent.

  73. danvillegirl says:

    This is a beautiful dress. Orange is one of my favorite colors and this looks drop dead gorgeous on you!. After reading your post about your blue dress and the Craftsy class on fitting, I took advantage of their sale and signed up for this class. It is very informative and helpful.. I am sure you had the right attitude at your event.

  74. Val Batty says:

    What a fabulous dress and the colour is wonderful. I would never have thought of resorting to a bottle, What a rescue.

  75. Karen says:

    I honestly think this is my favorite of all the dresses you’ve made. I can’t get over how stunning it is. Your sewing and “attitude” are an inspiration to me, for sure!

  76. ZoSews says:

    Beautiful! And GREAT idea – you rock orange :)

  77. yyyz girl says:

    I’m new to your blog, so I began at the beginning and have followed your progress. I was ready to compliment you on your beautiful navy lace dress when the tangerine lace appeared. The fit, style and workmanship are both perfect. You have inspired me to get back into sewing and to sign up for the Craftsy class “Sew the Perfect Fit”.

    After retiring (4 years ago) from the corporate world, sewing and living in suits, I need to find my new style. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  78. Cindy says:

    Utterly fantastic! The beautifully fitted sleeves definitely take this dress to couture level. And I love, love, love that your silk lining is a smidge darker — it really pops the flowers and leaves of the lace and creates such a stunning visual effect. And talk about courageous! Your picture of the fabric in the sink full of dye doesn’t even show tarping around the edges to protect the counters! I would have tarped the entire room and still managed to smear dye on something that wouldn’t come clean! Congratulations on yet another smashing success.

  79. Joen says:

    The color looks great! Totally changed the look of the lace, maybe someday I will venture into fabric dying. I’ve only used dye on shoes back when I was in my girlfriends weddings and we dyed our shoes to match the dress!! that was about 26-30 years ago!!!

  80. Joy says:

    Love your dress! Fabulous colour! It looks really summery and suits you!

  81. AddisonDeWitt says:

    This word is sooooo overused but here I go: AMAZING!

    • Hi Addison! It is amazing that some dull white lace was transformed into an orange cocktail dress. I’m all about Rit Dye now – hoping for some more amazing results :) Thanks for writing!

  82. Myra says:

    This is GORGEOUS! That color looks stunning on you! I have never tried dying fabric, but love the results you got!

  83. sewingaddict says:

    This is my favorite item you have made to date – and that is saying something, as I love everything you’ve made! Of course it helps that you’ve made it in my favorite color! Well done, as always.

    • Many thanks, Sewingaddict for the nice comment! I too think orange is a great color. I really didn’t know how vivid the color would be from the dye, but WOW, when RIT says tangerine it means tangerine!

  84. Cindy says:

    I just wanted to add that now that you’ve got this dress body down pat, it is the perfect shell with which to whip out dress after dress. I could see you swapping out necklines for a square neckline, that slightly curved v neckline of your favorite t-shirt that you took a pattern of and made out of striped material, a turtleneck for a winter sweater dress, etc., and perhaps trying the below-elbow sleeve from the pattern for some versions. This could even be made up in a richly beaded fabric for some uber formal event, or in a breezy printed stretch cotton for summer. You’ve got the skirt, the pants, several tops, and now this dress in master patterns for your figure. What a wonderful accomplishment! Especially since you can now whip out these gorgeous pieces quickly, now that the hard fitting work is done.

  85. Sharon says:

    Oh I love this dress, the fit, the colour you did a beautiful job in saving this lace.

  86. sewbusylizzy says:

    Stroke of genius. It looks divine!

  87. Kathie says:


  88. Heather says:

    You wear orange well! What a gorgeous dress.

  89. Jean C. says:

    I’m really not at all surprised that people were looking your way. WOW! What else can I say… you did a great job.
    Years ago I made a wedding dress for my niece; the lace was originally $80 a yard. But, since the fabric store was going out of business it was dropped down wayyyyyy low…. we got it for $18 a yard and only needed 1 1/2 yards bodice/sleeves. It had beautiful overlapping tulip petals on the lace (in white). The woman at the store told me that I would “have to” do it all by hand…. ahem, she didn’t know what she was talking about!!! I did it by machine and was able to adjust things so that the petals near the seams were still adjusted to look normal. Now here it is over 20 years land over 30 wedding dresses later and I’ve learned a few things with each one. We are the ones who need to adjust once in a while. Follow thru with your plan… if that doesn’t work…. adjust!
    Again, great dress! And you make it even lovelier…

  90. sheila says:

    Totally Beautiful… love the color.

  91. Michelle Orr says:

    I was in Nordstrom’s today trying on lace dresses, and not a single one compared to your dress. I’m afraid you’ve ruined all your readers. That dress is my favorite thing I’ve seen you do. I expect because the color and style compliments you so well.

  92. Ernestine says:

    Ok, I have no words for how freakin beautiful this is! You are incredibly skilled!

    • Many thanks Ernestine! I must say some luck was involved as I had no idea of the result from dying fabric. It was also helpful that I just happened to have some orange lining too :)

  93. Carolyn says:

    WOW! Your dress is an absolute knockout! I’m not surprised you received so many compliments!

  94. Almond Rock says:

    Ooooh what was the elastine content of your lace please? I am eager to dye some lace mustard but have heard elastine doesn’t take dye evenly. Your fabulous dress gives me hope

  95. sbzurenda says:

    That is a cute, sassy dress and looks wonderful on you. Susanne had on a maxi dress the other day, and I thought how cute it was. A style worth the come back.

  96. Rita Lucido says:


    How did you finish the hem on your dress. I see it is done differently than on the navy lace dress, and it seems that you added some edging or tape to the scalloped edge? If you’ve explained this, I must have missed it. If so, sorry to be redundant.

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  99. carolyn boland says:

    Fabulous! And it does not hurt that the dress is sporting
    a beautiful “model-type” lady! Love everything you

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  101. Carol says:

    I have more dodgy online material purchases than I care to admit, and whilst I’ve toyed with the idea of dying them, until now haven’t taken the plunge. Congratulations for having the courage to choose this colour, it is wonderful on you and transforms the dress.

  102. Liza R says:

    I know this is an older post, but when i found out my son’s girlfriend LOVES orange, i searched your posts until I found it! Do you happen to remember the color or mix of colors that you used? It is such a perfect shade of orange. I love it and it looks amazing on YOU!

    • Hi Lisa!
      I believe I used two bottles of tangerine with 6 gallons of water in the sink. It was easy and should be for you too. Good luck!

      • Liza says:

        Hi Sarah! I just ordered all of the fabric from Mood and the RIT dye from Amazon! YAY! She is only 23, so I am going to make a strapless shift to wear under it rather than attaching a lining. She is getting ready to graduate with her BSN in Nursing – this will be her gift. Can’t wait to get started!! Thanks for being such a huge inspiration!

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