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.
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.