DVF Lace Part II


16 Apr DVF Lace Part II

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What a difference a top makes!


Some people are born to sew couture. It relaxes them they say……

I get that, but before undertaking a couture garment, I always take a deep breath and try to prepare myself for the time commitment couture sewing requires. To date, I have underestimated the time commitment of every project.

But now it’s time to celebrate!

As mentioned in the previous DVF skirt post,  I ordered the lilac cotton lace from Mood Fabrics last Spring, envisioning a two-piece dress for my daughter’s Bridesmaids’ luncheon on August 22, 2014.  I even took the fabric to Susan Khalje’s class in Baltimore last April with the vintage McCalls pattern, but I could not pass up the opportunity to sew with Valentino satin face chiffon under Susan’s guidance.

All was not lost or wasted – just delayed 365 days 😉


Frankly, I wouldn’t have known how to go about sewing the top (or skirt) were it not for investing in two previous Susan Khalje classes. I needed both  for Susan’s instruction and the inspiration provided by my classmates.


Just like the skirt  blogged here, the top consists of four layers of fabric which include the heavy cotton lace, oxford cloth, silk organza and Bemberg rayon lining.  Some readers questioned the weight of oxford cloth as an underlining. It worked out great for the skirt, but I sought the advice from friends with lots of couture sewing experience before proceeding with the vintage McCall’s 8500 pattern.


Vintage patterns are an excellent for couture projects since the patterns have marked seam lines; the main ingredient in couture sewing. To no surprise I made several alterations marked in blue on the muslin


I considered sewing a princess seam pattern because I feared the pattern’s eight darts would be bulky with the layering. Splitting the two bust darts and catch-stitching the waist and back darts to the organza easily solved the problem.

In the photo below you can see:

  • the long vertical dart catch-stitched to the organza
  • the stitches used to secure the lace to the oxford cloth before the organza is applied
  • a pink vertical basting stitch to ensure no slipping
  • lastly, the edge of the organza and the oxford cloth and zigzagged together since the scallop edge of the lace serves as the hem


Eliminating the two top back darts and replacing them with dead darts  made for a smoother back.


The three horizontal lines in  photo below illustrates the three alterations I made to remove excess bulk.


The zipper is concealed in the side seam. The pattern provides a facing for the neck and arms, but I sewed a full lining. The DVF lace is no longer available at Mood, but I believe a heavy lace such as this guipure lace would sew similarly.


So there you have it….. eight months too late for the Bridesmaids’ luncheon but just in time for a new wedding season 🙂


Until Soon 🙂



  • L
    Posted at 07:12h, 16 April Reply


    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:50h, 17 April Reply

      Thank you, L!

  • Anne Szabo
    Posted at 07:40h, 16 April Reply

    Beautiful. First time I am introduced to the deleted darts on the top. Great project.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:54h, 17 April Reply

      Thank you, Anne! The darts were so short and small that I knew I could get away with deleting them by splitting just past the dart on the pattern and overlapping the paper.. By splitting past the dart I was able to keep the pattern flat.

  • Graca
    Posted at 07:46h, 16 April Reply

    This is beautiful work. It looks lovely on you too.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:54h, 17 April Reply

      Thank you so much, Graca!

  • Jenny
    Posted at 08:08h, 16 April Reply

    Very pretty! I’ve been considering a similar shape top and skirt for some Linton tweed I have had for years. I was afraid it might look dated, but yours looks current and fantastic!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:56h, 17 April Reply

      Many thanks, Jenny. I know what you mean about looking dated, but I thought the neckline of this top keeps it from having a dated look.

  • Sew, Jean Margaret
    Posted at 08:14h, 16 April Reply

    Beautiful outfit! The fit is absolutely perfect.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:57h, 17 April Reply

      Thank you, Jean! I’m very pleased with the fit 🙂

  • Beth Huntington
    Posted at 08:23h, 16 April Reply

    You are inspiring me to take a couture sewing class SOON! This is beautiful and I’m quite impressed by the matching seams. 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:58h, 17 April Reply

      Hi Beth! I think you would so enjoy a couture sewing class and hope you get to take one. I’d love to see some couture refashions 🙂

  • Eileen
    Posted at 08:29h, 16 April Reply

    Beautiful fit-no gaping armholes, perfect length; congratulations on a job WELL done.
    p.s. are those lilac buds (petals) all around you?!?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:00h, 17 April Reply

      LOL……… I’m standing underneath a wisteria vine and couldn’t resist being surrounded by lilac petals!
      Many thanks for your nice comment Eileen 🙂

  • Tia Dia
    Posted at 08:36h, 16 April Reply

    This is gorgeous! I wondered about the heft of the oxford cloth, too, but I guess the cotton lace would need the heft for support. I love all the construction details you shared for this vintage pattern. ‘Innards’ are so interesting, especially in such a lovely garment.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:02h, 17 April Reply

      Thank you, Tia Dia! I began with the oxford cloth from my stash because of its color, but in the end I think the weight of the fabric was very compatible with the lace.
      I agree…….. the inside of couture clothing is just as interesting as the outside 😉

  • Cindy Aymes
    Posted at 08:43h, 16 April Reply

    Wow, just stunning! I admire your fitting, and couture sewing, expertise!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:44h, 17 April Reply

      Thank you so much, Cindy! I wouldn’t say I have expertise, but I have learned the basics of couture sewing 🙂

  • Rhoda K
    Posted at 09:19h, 16 April Reply

    Stunning outfit and excellent fit.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:45h, 17 April Reply

      Thank you so much, Rhoda. I am very pleased 😉

  • Pat Brown
    Posted at 09:20h, 16 April Reply

    So beautiful, and perfect fit, style and colour/fabric for you. You are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:45h, 17 April Reply

      Many thanks for your lovely comment, Pat 🙂

  • Jackie Shepherd
    Posted at 09:20h, 16 April Reply

    So lovely and as always a perfect fit. I always enjoy reading your posts.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:47h, 17 April Reply

      Thank you, Jackie!

  • Marysia Paling
    Posted at 09:30h, 16 April Reply

    Perfection, what more can I say.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:48h, 17 April Reply

      LOL – I’ve yet to achieve perfection, Marysia! If you look long enough I’m sure you’ll find an imperfection or two… or three 😉

  • Gayle
    Posted at 09:34h, 16 April Reply

    It’s lovely! Wonderful job of sewing; I continue to learn from you. Thank you!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:48h, 17 April Reply

      Many thanks, Gayle!

  • Kim Hood
    Posted at 09:38h, 16 April Reply

    An outfit that pretty is never too late – it is always going to be useful. Well done!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:50h, 17 April Reply

      Thank you for your comment, Kim! I know I’ll wear it throughout the summer. I overestimated what I could do (time wise) last year. Since I had no deadline to finish this garment I was much more relaxed and the process was far more enjoyable 🙂

  • Carolyn
    Posted at 09:56h, 16 April Reply

    Working with lace is always time consuming, but so worth the time and effort as proved by your very beautiful outfit! I love everything about it, especially the color! Enjoy wearing it this wedding season!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:51h, 17 April Reply

      Thank you so much, Carolyn! You should know with all of the lace sewing you’ve done 🙂

  • Melissa
    Posted at 10:32h, 16 April Reply

    So stunning. The shoes are perfect too!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:52h, 17 April Reply

      Thank you Melissa……. and best of all is that the shoes are finally broken in! 🙂 🙂

  • Joan
    Posted at 10:36h, 16 April Reply

    Wonderful two-piece dress, Sarah!

    Thanks very much for chronicling your alteration and construx. process: the horizontal tucks you removed from your back bodice are very much like an alteration I have to do (but I add to the F bodice length + remove from the back bodice in two locations). I also liked knowing about your “dead dart.”

    These kinds of alterations make all the difference between elegance and frumpiness in a custom garment!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:54h, 17 April Reply

      Thank you Joan. I never know how a fitted pattern is going to fit me. Maybe this one fit better because it is vintage with superior shaping. I was pleased to be able to easily alter the top 🙂

  • Barbara Carlon
    Posted at 11:12h, 16 April Reply

    Perfection! What a lovely color too. Thanks for sharing the steps you used.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:56h, 17 April Reply

      Many thanks, Barbara, but like most of my sewing it’s not absolutely perfect! I might stop sewing if I ever achieve perfection 😉

  • TL Ruiter
    Posted at 11:13h, 16 April Reply

    I was confused by the skirt, but with the top it now makes perfect….and lovely……sense!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:57h, 17 April Reply

      LOL……. confused? I can see that. Why would I go to so much trouble to make a couture skirt just for the heck of it 😉 Many thanks for your comment TL!

  • Courtney
    Posted at 11:19h, 16 April Reply

    How beautiful, Sarah! The fit is superb!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:31h, 18 April Reply

      Thank you so much, Courtney!

  • Lori
    Posted at 12:06h, 16 April Reply

    Beautiful lace top and it makes a gorgeous outfit.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:32h, 18 April Reply

      Many thanks, Lori 🙂

  • Clarinda
    Posted at 12:27h, 16 April Reply

    Absolutely lovely – lilac is definitely THE colour this year!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:32h, 18 April Reply

      Thank you , Clarinda! I’m in a true lilac phase this spring 😉

  • BeckyMc
    Posted at 12:53h, 16 April Reply

    Beautiful, and inspiring! I am a little ignorant. Can you give details of how to eliminate darts with a dead dart?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:39h, 18 April Reply

      Many thanks, Becky! The darts were short at the top of the back between the shoulder blades. I slashed the paper dart slightly beyond the point and overlapped the slash creating a wedge. The purpose of extending the slash beyond the point is to keep the pattern piece flat. Hope this makes sense 😉

  • Denise
    Posted at 13:02h, 16 April Reply

    Beautiful! You are an inspiration!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:39h, 18 April Reply

      How kind of you Denise – many thanks 🙂

  • Kathy
    Posted at 13:43h, 16 April Reply

    Absolutely beautiful. Perfect fit. A goal that every home sewer wants to achieve. Congratulations on a job well done.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:40h, 18 April Reply

      Thank you, Kathy and you are so right. Sometimes the fit is more important than the garment 😉

  • Sue Bateman
    Posted at 16:37h, 16 April Reply

    Lovely Sarah. The whole outfit is beautiful ! 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:42h, 18 April Reply

      Many thanks, Sue!

  • Linda Galante
    Posted at 16:55h, 16 April Reply

    Absolutely love this! I’ve never tried a vintage pattern but find myself drawn to them for the style and details. You’ve inspired me to put it on my list of sewing goals for this year! I love the fabric and the dress looks great on you!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:44h, 18 April Reply

      Thank you, Linda! I hope you’ll give one a try. Though I’ve not sewn many, I’ve yet to sew a vintage pattern that was not beautifully shaped.

  • CarolinasCallin
    Posted at 17:01h, 16 April Reply

    LOVE this, Sarah! So pretty! I know it was a project and a half…but it turned out just beautifully. One thing that puzzles me…did you sew the lace fabric directly to the oxford cloth? Then where did the organza go? Very confused….which is of course why my projects tend to be very simple and take months…lol!

    Well done!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:47h, 18 April Reply

      Many thanks, Cheryl!
      The oxford cloth was hand stitched to the lace – note the irregular hand stitching in the photo of the long dart. Next the silk organza is laid over the oxford cloth and basted on the seam lines allowing all to be treated as one piece. It’s definitely a project and a half to say the least 😉

  • Nancy
    Posted at 17:19h, 16 April Reply

    Really lovely Sarah and I like the colour on you too! It was certainly worth all the work and now you have a beautiful new outfit for wedding season #2!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:49h, 18 April Reply

      Thank you, Nancy! My daughter’s upcoming wedding is in January so I doubt I’ll be wearing it to any of her wedding related events, but there are other weddings and activities coming up during the summer so I hope it will get plenty of wear. 😉

  • sharon jester
    Posted at 23:26h, 16 April Reply

    This is just beautiful on you, the color compliments you so well, I’m wanting to attend an couture class with Susan as well, but I think will practice first with the craftsy class she has for a couture dress.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:53h, 18 April Reply

      Thank you Sharon! I think your plan is spot on. A video class introduces you to Susan and all of the techniques. Susan expects her couture students to be somewhat familiar with the couture process but certainly not experts!

  • Barbara
    Posted at 05:47h, 17 April Reply

    Beautiful, so true, the right top makes all the difference. The lilac is a lovely colour on you.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:55h, 18 April Reply

      Thank you so much, Barbara! I’m glad I went with this instead of the princess seam.

  • Vicki Jenkins
    Posted at 11:00h, 17 April Reply

    Your shared project is inspiring! The explanation and photos are an “Oh! I get it.” moment for me. I hope you feel as beautiful (and pleased) while wearing it as you look to us.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:57h, 18 April Reply

      Ah…… thank you so much, Vicki for your nice comment! I’m very pleased to know my post brought about a moment of enlightenment for you.

  • robin denning
    Posted at 11:59h, 17 April Reply

    wow your top and skirt are so pretty! II bought a heavy cotton lace from Mood a few years ago and (from my iPhone) it looks like the same lace. I made mine into an unlined dress that I wear over a black silk slip. It was lovely to work with.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:59h, 18 April Reply

      What a great idea, Robin! Your dress sounds very chic and I would have never thought to make an unlined top.
      Many thanks for the comment 🙂

  • Alice Elliot
    Posted at 12:15h, 17 April Reply


  • Alice Elliot
    Posted at 12:16h, 17 April Reply

    Stunning. I’ made the middle one back in the 60’s in champagne brocade for my senior prom. I wish I still had it. I’d stuff it and hang it, since I couldn’t get it on.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:00h, 18 April Reply

      How funny! I’ve been imagining this pattern in brocade and bet yours was lovely 🙂 Many thanks for the comment, Alice!

  • Maggie edger
    Posted at 16:02h, 17 April Reply


    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:00h, 18 April Reply

      Thank you, Maggie!

  • Margo
    Posted at 16:33h, 17 April Reply

    It was well worth the wait Sarah and I commend you for your patience when sewing couture! This color is gorgeous on you!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:01h, 18 April Reply

      Thank you so much, Margo 🙂

  • Barbara Hewitt
    Posted at 19:47h, 17 April Reply

    How Excellent! It was interesting to see your couture process.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:02h, 18 April Reply

      Many thanks, Barbara! The couture process sometimes takes on a life of its own which is why I like to keep the pattern simple 😉

  • Angie
    Posted at 02:46h, 18 April Reply

    Just curious why you made a two-piece rather than a sheath … maybe to have the two scalloped hemlines? (I have some fabric that I’m trying to decide about, whether to make two-piece or one.) Very pretty on you, a beautiful fit, and interesting explanation of the process. Thanks for sharing, as always.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:03h, 18 April Reply

      No reason in particular, Angie other than I really liked the top. The dress would be pretty in a sheath too 🙂

  • Jet Set Sewing
    Posted at 17:58h, 19 April Reply

    Well, that’s just gorgeous, and worth the wait! I agree that if you go haute couture, it’s Susan’s way or the highway. And you do need to gear up for couture…it’s more like climbing a mountain in my book. If you’re not in the mood, it’s worth holding off until you’re ready.

    • Barbara Hewitt
      Posted at 19:52h, 19 April Reply

      I so agree, couture sewing takes a lot of extra time. For me that is my whole point in sewing, being able to “copy” couture is the creative fun. I would never be able pay for couture from the Paris and excellent American designers but I can copy their methods. I have lived in an area of the country where I wasn’t able to shop for wonderful fabrics but with shopping on the net I’m able to purchase some of the same beautiful fabrics. I feel blessed that I can use my skills to sew for my daughters and grand daughters.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:41h, 20 April Reply

      You and I think alike, Jet Set! I compared my first couture dress to climbing a mountain or composing a symphony. Some people keep a couture garment going on the side and work on it when they are in the mood which sounds like a good idea to me 🙂
      Many thanks for your comment!

  • Mary Funt
    Posted at 21:00h, 19 April Reply

    Beautiful job. I totally get it about saving fabrics for just the right time. Many of mine are “aging” and will appear as I try and work through my stash on the RTW fast. I also am in love with couture. Anything worth making is worth making “right.”

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:41h, 20 April Reply

      Thank you, Mary! You are one of the most gifted couture sewists I’ve ever “known” 🙂

  • Kathie Bennett
    Posted at 21:03h, 19 April Reply


    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:42h, 20 April Reply

      Thank you, Kathie!

  • Susan Zurenda
    Posted at 10:06h, 20 April Reply


    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:48h, 21 April Reply

      🙂 🙂

  • MaryEllen
    Posted at 22:28h, 20 April Reply

    Great job Sarah ! I love the color on you & you always have such great Info & tips . I love following your couture journey !

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:48h, 21 April Reply

      Thank you so much, Mary Ellen!

  • Andrea
    Posted at 22:58h, 20 April Reply

    So lovely on you, The color and fit are just perfect.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:48h, 21 April Reply

      Many thanks, Andrea 🙂

  • Marguerite
    Posted at 19:46h, 22 April Reply

    A really beautiful outfit! I love the fit of the armholes. I’ve used some patterns from the 60s myself and get a similar fit from them. In contrast, any pattern from the 80s to today seems to bag and sag for me around the armsyce. When you contrast one to the other you can see the difference in drafting.
    The color is lovely on you! I think I’ve said this before to you, but it bares repeating. You have really zeroed in on the styles that are perfect for you! It’s always a treat and an inspiration visiting your blog!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:11h, 27 April Reply

      Thank you so very much for this lovely comment! I so agree with you about the vintage patterns. I’ve yet to sew on that wasn’t beautifully drafted 🙂

  • Ardy Wolynec
    Posted at 17:57h, 23 April Reply

    The outfit and workmanship are beautiful!! Thank you for sharing the process with us.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:12h, 27 April Reply

      Many thanks to you, Ardy for your comment!

  • celeste
    Posted at 17:28h, 24 April Reply

    It is absolutely lovely; fit, construction, fabric and proportions could not be better. I have a question about finishing seams in such a garment. With 4 layers, how can you manage them at a side seam? I would think with all the handling of the fabric that is done that they would get frayed and shredded, so they would need a seam finish of some type, but I can’t imagine how you would do four layers of fabric comfortably, unless you did a Hong Kong finish? But then you would be sewing 6 layers! Please enlighten?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:17h, 27 April Reply

      Thank you, Celeste for your comment 🙂

      As for the layers, the lace, oxford and organza are basted together and treated as one layer. The organza is very thin but very strong. The large seams are pressed and slightly trimmed and then catch-stitched as shown in the photo on this post. That means the seam allowance is hand stitched to the organza which keeps it flat. Layer number 4 is the lining.which needs no special treatment, thank goodness 🙂 🙂

  • Dianna
    Posted at 12:54h, 02 May Reply

    Beautiful and the fit is fabulous. I especially admire the top back where there is no excess fabric. This is a challenge area for me so seeing your alterations is helpful.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:02h, 15 June Reply

      Thank you, Dianna! The top was tricky but the good ole’ muslin saved me from an unflattering fit. 🙂

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