Organza and Lace - An Esplanade Bra and a Just Patterns Skirt



Last year,  I spent the day in the city fabric shopping with Tracey from Featherstitch Avenue ......and while in B&J we both fell in love with a stunning embroidered lace.

Tracey is one of those people that is born effortlessly cool and wears everything with such ease.  It's a vibe that just can't be bought.......and while we have a wonderful treasured friendship and much in common generally, we have a very different aesthetic and so we thought it could be fun to have a mini competition and see what each of us could create with three yards of the same fabric.

I was excited to see what she made (and go take a look it's beyond stunning of course) because while we both love Marfy and use them often, she looks at the catalogs upside down and always sees potential in a pattern I dismiss - it's fascinating how it changes the lines!

The lace we picked has such contrasts.   For while it's heavy and thickly embroidered with a base of delicate gold and cream alecon, it's also double scalloped and directional,  which definitely created some logistics with pattern choices.

I spent an age going back and forth about what to make, knowing I wanted to harden the lace up somehow but unsure about how to do it.   I thought about adding leather in the form of buckles, or yokes or.......

and then I saw Norma of Orange Lingerie's new Esplanade Bra and it all clicked.  It has been an age since I attempted any lingerie, and I've never made it without stretch but I could not shake the thought that this pattern had the potential to be a delicate but slightly edgy black organza bodice with boning and lace applique.

And while I won't say it was easy or quick to make the bodice in organza, the pattern itself was excellent to use, and the instructions flawless.....

I decided to make a wearable muslin, and so started by sizing up a cup and a band width to compensate for the lack of stretch, and adding two inches to the length so a skirt could be attached to the hem.

And as the lace was potentially going to be heavy, I cut one organza layer on grain and one on cross grain to stabilize and strengthen the bodice.

and from there it was trial and error.......once I got the basic bra fitted and the boning in the right place, I reduced the top of the cups about half an inch in width while leaving the shape in the underbust intact (does that make sense?!)

Then folded and hand sewed the hem allowances over themselves to make channels for the boning...

Before tacking some lovely scalloped lingerie lace to the inside of the bodice to cover the boning channels for wearing comfort and some visual interest.

And while originally I had it in my mind that the whole top would be covered in applique with just a little peek of organza here and there, when I cut out the lace it had more color in it than I expected.

And when I started to pin it on the bodice, It had such a goth feel about it that I panicked.  It was absolutely not what I wanted at all.....

So I pared it all down by adding foam inserts to the cups so I could keep the front simple.

as well as sewing a two inch strip of non stretch elastic to both sides of the center back to add stability for the zipper (which was then covered with organza and applique)

Before adding a hand picked 20" zipper...




I recently used this pattern for a cotton sateen skirt and thought it would be interesting to use it again with a completely different fabric.

I'm always fascinated by how a fabric can completely change the look of a pattern, and this was no exception.

The panels of the skirt are quite wide, so I underlned the skirt with black organza so that I could sew in extra pieces after cutting to keep with the original sizing...

To keep the weight down,  I added organza pockets..... (two layers/one grain/one cross)

and a grosgain waist stay.

And I did decide to omit a lining which seemed a really unnecessary extra part I suspect because the pleating folds inside are wide enough to create opaqueness. 

Overall, I'm really happy with this.    Both patterns were easy and well drafted, and the dress looks as good with a leather jacket and converse as it does with high heels.  It's also far less transparent in real life.... but was technical enough to make me happy to have pulled it off!