Wedding dress progress: Godet lace

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

19 days left, and I actually have something to wear! After all my careful muslining and cutting and basting, the rest of the dress has come together in about three weeks. Partly this is because I obsessively planned out every step of it, and partly because I started to take shortcuts. In this post I'm going to talk about my godet lace shortcut, which is terribly non-couture but will probably look fine.

Also, I'll save you the googling:

  1. a triangular piece of material inserted in a dress, shirt, or glove to make it flared or for ornamentation.

I had no idea what this meant when I first started this project.

When I started blogging about sewing in January, I posted this picture of my mum's dress:

My mum's dress from 1976
My plan was always to take a piece of this silk and use it in my dress somehow. I decided that the godet on the side would be a good spot to showcase a slightly different fabric - it's a bit thinner and a shade darker than my silk, but otherwise a pretty good match.

Despite having apparently quite a lot of fabric, the construction of my mum's dress meant that I had to include a seam down the middle of the godet. In fact, to avoid extra seams there was only one part of the skirt that I could use, which unfortunately had a bit of staining on it. However, I'm covering it up with lace, and in the end you can't tell.

I took a deep breath and cut in to my mum's 40-year-old dress. This project has been a good experience in working with irreplacable/expensive fabrics.

About to commit to cutting!
I underlined the godet with organza to give it a similar body to the rest of the dress and then I overlaid this fine vintage silk with a piece of generic unknown fibre synthetic lace I bought off ebay. It's got a pretty little scalloped edge, but there's a problem! The lace edge is straight, while the godet edge is curved:

Hmm, now what?
Amazingly, I actually found someone else who wrote a blog about making this exact pattern, and in much greater detail. Her post on the godet lace talks about making a dart in the lace and sewing it invisibly to create a curved edge. I've seen other tutorials out there that involve cutting around individual lace motifs, shuffling them around, and then hand stitching to create the illusion of a seamless piece of curved fabric.

I decided that both of these techniques were too finicky, so I just pinned the lace edge where I wanted it to go, shook the whole thing out, and pinned pleats on both sides to take up the excess:

Cheat pleats in lace
Since my dress has a pleated bodice, I'm going to go ahead and say that the godet is just echoing the pleatiness of the dress. I hadn't yet cut my lace so I wrapped it around my dress form to simulate the look of sewing the godet in place, and I'm happy with how well the pleats behave. With all the other folds and drapiness going on, I doubt anyone will notice that I took a shortcut here.

An acceptable level of pleatiness
I love how the subtle contrast of the godet looks against the main fabric of the dress, but I'm not going to share a picture of it until after the wedding!

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