Okay, Now What?

by Erin on April 6, 2011

Cotton_lace

So I bought some of this cotton lace (58 inches wide, $6/yard!) and now I'm at a loss as to what to do with it. It seems summery … in a Sophia Loren kind of way. I've never been much good at Sophia-Lorening, so any alternate suggestions of What To Do With Black Cotton Lace would be much appreciated.

Other things I'm not good at, sartorially, in case you need a list:

  • the long boho dress with flat sandals and flat hair
  • any look that requires a David-Bowie/Grace-Jones slash of colored makeup across the face (it gets all over my glasses)
  • shiny satin cocktail dresses with diamante clips
  • and, of course, pants

I can see a kind of kicky 60s-shift swimsuit coverup (with patch pockets!), but considering I'd probably get more use out of a hazmat suit, I'm looking for other ideas … 

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

monkeysocks April 6, 2011 at 5:19 am

how much of it do you have? it would make a nice kinda over-vest, to be worn over a different solid vest (as I’m British, by vest I mean top with no sleeves, not a waistcoat, though actually that could be cute too..)

or you could make a sweet two layer (two layers of lace and also prob one of cotton so you dont flash!) above knee length gathered skirt out of it, perfect for sitting on grass and relaxing. (a bit like this http://assets.burdastyle.com/project_images/assets/000/165/911/skirt_large.jpg?1294685222 or this really cute one http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_1NTjVbXtZZo/S6KHtGHuwMI/AAAAAAAADyw/Szm9zEnALT8/s400/gathered+skirt+via+janey.jpg)

I guess you could even wear them together like a dress if you wanted too.

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Mary Fran Archer April 6, 2011 at 5:26 am

I see a summer “shift”, where the bell sleeves are lace and the bottom 6-9 inches of the dress are lace and the rest is cotton.

I’m planning on black cotton embroidered with cherries in red and green, black lace 3/4 length bell sleeves, 6 inches of lace on bottom of the dress. In my mind it is already finished.

There is a somewhat similar dress in the new Vogue magazine made in white with white lace. I would find the reference for you but I am moving and everything is in boxes.

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Megan April 6, 2011 at 6:05 am

I would do a great summery dress with a weskit (I just made one from a mail in Marian Martin pattern from the 40s and its really quite cool!) and do the entire back of the dress bodice in the lace with lace trim at the bottom of the skirt. I would do the dress in a buttery color cotton (something very breezy and sheerish) but not too yellow so as not to look like a lacy bumble bee. Then finish it off with great shiny black vintage buttons to close the weskit with. Then the weskit would cover up the lace if you were feeling sheepish or drafty.

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edgertor April 6, 2011 at 6:42 am

i would go for a simple boatneck cap sleeve (i.e. not an extra sleeve, but the same fabric piece as the bodice) overdress with a wide midriff band and gathered skirt and pockets. then you could wear it over any colored slip you already have (if you already have colored slips)

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YYZ April 6, 2011 at 6:43 am

How about a mod, 60s shift dress in a bright colour (melon? peacock blue?) with the black lace as the top layer. Sure, it means you have to cut out each pattern piece TWICE, once in each fabric, and you have to baste the lace layer to the other fabric before you sew it together, but I think it would be worth it! Added bonus? It will look great with heels OR flats!

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Vicky April 6, 2011 at 7:05 am

I would make some type of jacket for summer. I always need something for when the office AC is set at sub-arctic.

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Michelle April 6, 2011 at 9:16 am

Nthing the layer with colored fabric for a dress. Sort of like this: http://jessicapeck.blogspot.com/2011/04/modcloth-in-yo-lace-inspired-dress.html

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Stephani April 6, 2011 at 9:59 am

A breezy wrap or mock-wrap dress, with the black lace as the top layer and underlined in a bright summery color–like fuschia, or lemon–would look amazing, and a little less Sophia Loren!

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Fiona April 6, 2011 at 11:29 am

Mmmm, a lovely sundress with a square neckline, wide straps, in at the waist, bit fuller in the skirt, pockets in the inseam (naturally!)….

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Lee K April 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Last year I bought some (light-ish) navy cotton lace and made a flared, 4-gore skirt, lined with navy. I plan to wear it with a blue-green silk blouse or shirt which I have yet to make. Your black would also make a fine skirt, or what about a shirt-dress, either sleeveless or cap-sleeved, to be worn over a tank or square-neck slip in black or a subtle contrasting colour? A white organdy or linen collar would be nice, too.

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saphir April 6, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I’m in the skirt camp. That lace over a nice bright color of something satiny would be beautiful.

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Juliet April 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Shift dress with either black cotton underlayer and lace overlay (for when you want that “chic in summer in black” feeling.) or in a lighter colour under the black.
You’ll get tons of wear from it. I have a black eyelet one and wear it a lot in summer.

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Jo April 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm

This would be a sweet summer cardigan.

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SEB April 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I vote for a cardigan or cardigan-like unlined jacket. I had a black eyelet cardigan that I absolutely wore to death. SO useful and attractive.

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Lynn April 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm

just saw a Sophia-esque pattern in McCalls here: http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m6320-products-13861.php?page_id=108 and it has pockets

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Elisabeth April 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm

1950s dress. Half high strapless lining. Flared skirt, set smoothly in at the waist, but not too big. Black lining underneath it, play with the textures. Maybe sleeveless, or just cap sleeves. Or 3/4 length, though that’d give a WEIRD sunburn.

Or, if not, maybe a 60s sheath in the same concept – half high strapless lining, but a bit boxier and a straight skirt.

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Jennifer April 6, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I’m with edgertor – or the cardigan idea – but over a colored wide-strap dress. Solid color. It is lovely. Good buy.

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Jennifer April 6, 2011 at 5:01 pm

and I love the pants post

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Kathy April 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm

When I saw it I instantly thought back to your black eyelet dress post. Yup, lace is different. But you could make a mind-blowing dress similar to that gorgeous piece you featured in your March post, with a black lining under the lace.
Oh! Oh! Oh! New idea, do a wrap/apron style overskirt! So cute!
Excuse me, I have to go shop for black cotton lace.

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chppie April 6, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Twinkle has a pattern for a short sleeved top/jacket that would be cute in this lace. It’s in the Twinkle sews book and it’s to the waist with a button front. It has a retro feel to it and would be nice over a sundress. I was thinking of doing it in a large eyelet.

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chris wackett April 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm

if its drapey enough how about a waterfall style cardi . easy to make and goes with anything especially dresses . and lace is so s/s at the moment

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Jamie April 8, 2011 at 7:02 am

Actually, you all got it wrong, except for maybe monkey socks up there. The cotton black lace would make fabulous curtains!

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Colleen April 8, 2011 at 9:51 am

I’d use it, underline, with a thin or light cotton, rayon, or polycotton (no ironing)!

A white, pale blue, magenta, or whatever else turns your crank would look great under the black lace.

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Beth April 9, 2011 at 7:10 am

I’m with Kathy–I thought of your black lace dress post too (I’ve been wanting a sleeveless semi-full skirt black lace dress since then…), this would be perfect, especially if you made two (very simple) underdresses: one in black, to play up the texture of the lace and be a bit more refined, and then something in a bright turquoise (turq & black- perhaps a bit too Madonna’s-early-years…)or pale pink or deep green or…. Congrats on the great find!
http://southernbluestocking.com/

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Helen April 9, 2011 at 10:46 am

A gored skirt or dress, with this as the inset?

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sil April 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm

It would be a cute overdress if you’ve got enough fabric – and at $6 I’d have bought enough ;-)

You could make the lining/underdress a fun color (lime green, lavender…) and it would be fab.

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Jane Parker April 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I saw a black lace dress with purple lining. Lace shift dresses are really big these days. Also saw a nude lining.

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Lisa Simeone April 16, 2011 at 9:13 am

Erin, I’m wondering if you’ll have to update your 2008 Why Skirts Are Better Than Pants post now that the TSA is singling out dress/skirt-wearers for even more abuse.

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Colleen P. April 17, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I just bought Simplicity 2223. They call it “Misses Jacket in two lengths with trim variations”, but I have in fact considered making one out of a fabric almost identical to yours. The “jackets” are really just cute little cardigan style toppers meant to be worn over other things-it would be so cute made from your fabric.

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