The Lily Chin Lace Dress Revisited

When uncountable hours have been spent on making something, it needs to be worn.  It really does.  When the pattern is as lovely and intricate as the Lily Chin Lace Dress, it REALLY needs to be worn, and not as a house dress/beach throw.

Sadly, I never wore my Lily Chin.  The colour, although it photographed well, was not me at all – it is firmly in the Autumn colour range and I am over in the Spring/Summer camp.

The main problem however, was the fit.  It was perfect when I first made it.  Then I lost 15 kg of baby weight and the stitches dropped and stretched from the weight of the yarn and I ended up with armholes past my bra straps.  You can kinda see it in these photos here (click on photo to get taken through to full view in Flickr):

   

Before you say “Its not that bad” these pictures were taken after it was freshly washed and dried in the drier, which has the temporary effect of shrinking the dress, before it stretches out again once it is worn.

So, I just never wore this dress without a cardigan. I am not a “jumper dress” kinda girl, the top under a dress look is just not for me.

So the few times I wore the dress, I wore it like this:

 

Which hid half the bodice and it felt bulky, uncomfortable and well, I just felt frumpy.

Anyhow, when I dug it out to wear in during Me Made May this year I got a particular comment from lulumiss that really impacted on me:

“You should make it a priority to fix whatever is bugging you (not that it’s obvious to anyone else) but then you could wear it more because this suits you very well”

OK then.  So I did.

Firstly, I fixed the “can’t wear this without a cardigan” by adding sleeves.

The Lily Chin Lace Dress with Sleeves

Click on the small images to see the larger ones in Flickr:

  

  

I went for elbow length mainly because I love that look. I wanted a more dressy, formal look rather than a “beach cover up” look.  I also wear this dress more in cooler weather like Spring or Autumn as it really is too hot for summer once a slip is added and longer sleeves are more appropriate – my whole plan is to reduce the need to wear this with anything else so the intricate bodice details get a chance to shine.

I used the same stitch as the top part of the yoke, which is a simple lace shell and then finished off with cuffs of 4 rows of the same shell as the solid part of the bodice.  It took a couple of tries till I was happy with the shaping and the fit but essentially I used the same principle as the Drops Design Cardigan. This is how much yarn I had left when I was finished:

Next up, I pondered long and hard on the dye or not question.  I even asked for help from the Me Made May group, and got several votes either way but this is what helped me decide in favour of the dye job: basically it needs to be whatever colour will make me wear it. So here is my first ever dye job, and I couldn’t be happier (click on photo to get taken through to full view in Flickr):

 

 

It now feels like “me”. I think the darker colour gives it a more dressy look, which is what I was after. Its actually a lovely rich purpley navy so the colour is not as dark as it looks in some photos. The third photo in the set above probably is the most accurate.

I personally feel more comfortable with the black underlayer (its more subtle, which I like) but I also like it with a cream base, especially as that does make the stitches stand out more (click on photo to get taken through to full view in Flickr):

 

 

Im happy to hear opinions as to which underlayer looks best, light (cream, ivory) or dark (black or I am pondering making a navy silk slip).

I now have a dress that I love and feels totally me.  I really want to thank all the Me Made May ladies who commented and gave me the encouragement and motivation I needed to turn this dress from a “back of the wardrobe never wear” disappointment (soooooo many hours, so many hours) into a “wear all the time” success.

  • I’m so happy to hear that you now love this dress. It is such a beautiful dress it was sad to think of it languishing in the back of the cupboard. Personally I love it with the black slip under it – the photo where you are in the light and the pattern really shows up is stunnung.

  • I'm so happy to hear that you now love this dress. It is such a beautiful dress it was sad to think of it languishing in the back of the cupboard. Personally I love it with the black slip under it – the photo where you are in the light and the pattern really shows up is stunnung.

  • Sharon

    So glad you are happy with your gorgeous dress and that it will be out about. I like it with both slips, it is very different looks, and the cream slip out on a dinner date with those shoes, perfect.

  • So glad you are happy with your gorgeous dress and that it will be out about. I like it with both slips, it is very different looks, and the cream slip out on a dinner date with those shoes, perfect.

  • lulumiss

    Yay, what a great save. So glad you have something you love to wear now. The sleeves are a great addition and I do prefer this colour, you were absolutely right! The cream slip makes this a really cool day look but I think the black slip is my favourite.

  • Yay, what a great save. So glad you have something you love to wear now. The sleeves are a great addition and I do prefer this colour, you were absolutely right! The cream slip makes this a really cool day look but I think the black slip is my favourite.

  • MarrieB

    It looks so pretty! Glad you went for it and dyed it navy, it turned out perfect. I think both slips look good, but I think the black gets a slight edge over cream.

  • It looks so pretty! Glad you went for it and dyed it navy, it turned out perfect. I think both slips look good, but I think the black gets a slight edge over cream.

  • Oh my gosh you look stunning! Inspired choices – I love the sleeves and the new colour is just "Wow" on you! Hate to be a fence sitter, but seriously I like it with both colour underlayers, That said, the light underlayer shows the absolutely stunning lace work. My vote would go slightly that way – when you've worked that hard, show it off!

  • Oh my gosh you look stunning! Inspired choices – I love the sleeves and the new colour is just “Wow” on you! Hate to be a fence sitter, but seriously I like it with both colour underlayers, That said, the light underlayer shows the absolutely stunning lace work. My vote would go slightly that way – when you’ve worked that hard, show it off!

  • Linda T

    It’s beautiful!

  • It's beautiful!

  • Oh I love it in navy, it looks so pretty! I like the black slip the best. This is a stunning dress, I am in awe of all that work!!

  • Oh I love it in navy, it looks so pretty! I like the black slip the best. This is a stunning dress, I am in awe of all that work!!

  • Taracat

    What a great rescue – I love the colour now, but definitely with the black slip. You look gorgeous.

  • What a great rescue – I love the colour now, but definitely with the black slip. You look gorgeous.

  • Kirsten Yarra

    It looks gorgeous, I love what you have done with this. I have just finished this pattern myself. I found it years ago and it was my “one day I’ll be good enough to make this” pattern. I bought a colour not unlike what you dyed yours to become, and am very pleased with how the colour looks. I finished it last week just in time for a relatives wedding on the w/end. It was cold so I wore a long sleeve black top with lace edging underneath… not ideal, but… I noticed that the length was gradually growing over the day and thought at first that it was the skirt, but concluded it was in the shoulders. I consided attaching and weaving ribbon through the shoulders to reduce the stretch, but hadn’t considered the tumble dryer (too scary). But you seem to have had success. I have some balls left over as I also lost weight between yarn purchase and starting the project – so perhaps I will try some sleeves too! Thanks for the inspiration πŸ™‚ Oh and I wore black under mine too πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much. Your dress sounds lovely. The dryer thing didn’t work as well as I hoped – it shrinks it when it first comes out and I first put it on but as I wear, like yours, it stretches down and goes back to the original size. However, adding the sleeves helped massively as I made sure I took up all the extra ease around the shoulder and armholes as I did them (it took a couple of goes to get it right) so now it does feel like it fits much better.

  • It looks gorgeous, I love what you have done with this. I have just finished this pattern myself. I found it years ago and it was my "one day I'll be good enough to make this" pattern. I bought a colour not unlike what you dyed yours to become, and am very pleased with how the colour looks. I finished it last week just in time for a relatives wedding on the w/end. It was cold so I wore a long sleeve black top with lace edging underneath… not ideal, but… I noticed that the length was gradually growing over the day and thought at first that it was the skirt, but concluded it was in the shoulders. I consided attaching and weaving ribbon through the shoulders to reduce the stretch, but hadn't considered the tumble dryer (too scary). But you seem to have had success. I have some balls left over as I also lost weight between yarn purchase and starting the project – so perhaps I will try some sleeves too! Thanks for the inspiration πŸ™‚

  • Thanks so much. Your dress sounds lovely. The dryer thing didn't work as well as I hoped – it shrinks it when it first comes out and I first put it on but as I wear, like yours, it stretches down and goes back to the original size. However, adding the sleeves helped massively as I made sure I took up all the extra ease around the shoulder and armholes as I did them (it took a couple of goes to get it right) so now it does feel like it fits much better.