Our retro queen Guest Blogger Laura Mae of Lilacs & Lace has a fabulous project in store for us. There are so many details to this gala outfit that we have decided to break down the process into many fabulous technique-rich posts. Be sure to check out Part 1, which offers tons of pattern handling tips & tricks,  Part 2, an exceptionally thorough bound buttonhole tutorial and Part 3, a reinforced gusset tutorial.

[Britex has generously provided the fabric and sewing supplies for a dress I will be wearing to a formal event in October. I will be sharing some of the steps and construction techniques with you as I work on this project over the next couple of months.]



Embellishments can really add to a garment.  I knew from the beginning that I wanted to add beads to this particular outfit, and I assumed that I would be happy with a straight border.  But that looked horribly boring to me after perusing Pinterest for inspiration.




The first step was coming up with a motif that would work with the fabric and overall garment design.  I am always drawn to florals, but they did not seem quite right for this.  Using the damask scrolls on the fabric as a starting point, I sketched out a few ideas.


The issue of how to transfer the sketch to fabric was my first challenge (on top of that, a mirror image was needed for the opposite side).




And that was when I remembered my tracing paper.




After finalizing the design with paper and pencil, it was transferred to tracing paper, and then to a scrap of sheer muslin with a fabric pen.  But then what?




Since I was going to add a layer of silk organza to stabilize the extra weight created by all those beads, I decided to place the design directly onto the silk with a fabric pen.  Because it is so sheer, the image was easy to see.




Curves are a bit of a bother to transfer onto woven fabric because the pen is dragging through the bias.  To keep things from sliding around, I used quite a few pins!




After pinning the organza into place, I hand basted through all the layers (organza, hair canvas, & fabric) which allowed me to see the design from the right side without worrying that chalk or pen marks might not permanently disappear after the beading was finished.




I chose a thread color for basting that was visible, but not so jarring that I would have to remove every last bit of it.




When the lighting was not so great, I could turn the piece over to check for the original basted design lines.




But before beading the actual peplum, I tested the design out on a scrap of material.  If it turned out to be a big mess, I did not want to have a ton of pin pricks marring my peplum pieces.




Here is how one side of the peplum turned out.




The majority of this piece will be hand stitched together – for the upper edge I will be using a zipper foot to keep from upsetting the bead work when it is machine sewn to the bodice.