Monday, April 16, 2012

Tracy Reese Inspired Red Lace Dress - B4443

Tracy Reese's red lace dress is the inspiration for my latest frock. I love the silhouette of it and wanted to make my own version.  It made it to the list last fall when I saw it in Essence magazine. PR later came up with a red dress contest.   I thought I would have it made by the deadline. NOT.., Then I thought I would have it done before Easter. Not again..,

Last weekend, I was finally able to finish it and include it in the upcoming Haute Couture Fashion Show.

So today's post is background information on how I started the process of making this dress.

I searched several stores for the right fabric. First at Hancock's. I even purchased some knit lace and tricot only to return it a week later.

Then while shopping for prom dress fabric, my sister (she wants my dress. wink, wink) spotted the red lace at Fishman's. At last, I found the perfect lace for my dress. So I bought all that they had on the roll (4 yards) plus a equal amount of polyester charmeuse for the lining.

Now for the pattern. No gathering at the waist for me, probably some variation of a circle skirt. So I decided on Butterick 4443, which has a slightly flared skirt and a princess seam bodice.   It's been in the collection for years and was an excellent choice for the dress.

Next, fitting the pattern. I made my usual adjustments:

- FBA - the princess seam bodice is the easiest to adjust. Special notes - First, I sew the center front seams with the 5/8 inch seam allowance from the armhole to the waist.  Then to fit the bodice, I basted the back and shoulder seams together.  Check to make sure it was leveled, seams are perpendicular to the floor.  The center front was too big from under the bust to the waist.  So I removed the center front stitches.  Then cut away the excess along the center front seam, from under the bust to the waist. Then restitched the front and side front.  Checked the fit.  When it was perfect, I clipped along the curve where necessary.

- Sway back - small tuck across the lower back.
- Prominent Shoulder Blade - very small 1/4 inch.
- Added a few inches to the length of the skirt

Other changes:

- Cut twice the number of pieces for each section of the bodice.

- I underlined the bodice so that the crepe side of the charmeuse shows through the lace.
- Then used the remaining bodice charmeuse for the lining.

Last progress photo taken on April 12, 2012. More this week.

Happy Sewing!


  1. I'm so thrilled that I'm coming to Chicago so that I'm going to be able to see these pieces up close and personal!

  2. Carolyn - I can't wait to see you.

  3. I can't wait to see the finished dress, love the fabrics you are using and the colour

  4. Beautiful work as usual! You truly are an amazing seamstress.

  5. This is lovely! Your work is so inspiring.

    Question for you: I am sewing again after a hiatus of 20+ years, and a big issue for me is fit. I picked a princess seam (New Look 6824) because I read that it was easier to fit. It hasn't been working out that way -- I'm on my 4th muslin! I'm using Nancy Z.'s pivot and slide method to add a 6" FBA and wondering -- what method did you use to make your FBA? TIA!

  6. I always have to adjust my patterns...and it helps to see what you do to make the dress pattern fit better. The dress looks great!

  7. This will be a stunner! GORGEOUS color.

  8. Really nice, can't wait to see it on you!

  9. Thanks everyone,

    Bbbi - I use the slash and spread method by Palmer/Pletsch. Their McCall patterns have instructions on how to adjust the pattern to fit. You can is the same method for other non Palmer/Pletsch patterns as well. I own a few of their fit books. You can purchase them on their website or on


  10. Can't wait to see photos on you--this is gorgeous! Just love that tomato color.



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