Frothy and yellow and sweet, this dress reminds me of lemon meringue pie, which, incidentally, is on my Easter dinner menu. Laurel will look like dessert!
I know that too many pictures of this garment have already been posted. From gathering supplies, to slip construction, and even the complications, it has been posted and discussed endlessly. And yet, seeing it complete with the yellow underdress and the added rows of lace at the hemline, I feel compelled to show the overall effect.
From the planning stage, my vision of this frock presented a white dress with yellow shadowing through the sheer batiste. The yellow shadow beneath the lace was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.
Extending the dress length by adding lace to the underdress hemline gave a nice effect. First, entredeux was joined a hair above the point at which the skirt edging hung. Then three rows of insertion were added, finished with an edging. This is the same edging used at the neckline, sleeve ruffle and skirt hemline.
Rather than keeping the lace flat, I employed a technique that I first used on my pattern, Rebecca’s Bow Dress (published by Martha Pullen). On that dress, the first of several rows of lace was not gathered to the beading but each row was longer. The effect is much like the circular felt skirts I once wore, or like a floppy wide brimmed straw hat.
While the first and second pieces of insertion are zig zagged together, the first piece is stretched, rendering a lettuce leaf effect. It is like stretching a knit fabric and getting a ruffle. I simply place my index finger on the first piece and allow the joining lace to feed freely. Of course, the more rows that are added, the deeper the folds in the lettuce leaf ruffle.
It’s hard for me to articulate just why I thought the underdress lace trim should not lay flat. Perhaps it’s just that I wanted some architectural distinction between the two. Gathered lace would have been an option, but I am not a big fan of great lengths of it, due to the difficulty it poses when ironing. The circular structure of the lettuce leaf edge makes it nearly as easy to press as flat lace.
Initially, I planned to make a second underdress in green, but I have abandoned that idea. All the yellow hemstitching seems to lock this in to a yellow only “slip.”
I try to use the term “underdress” exclusively with Laurel so as not to disturb her budding sense of modesty. When it is identified as an underdress, she seems comfortable with the idea that it can be worn alone. A slip is clearly underwear. The white Swiss dress will be popped over the yellow Imperial broadcloth after her she gets out of the car.
This garment certainly meets none of the criteria for a “modern project for old fashioned Nanas.” Occasionally, this old fashioned Nana still likes to make old fashioned frocks.