Monochrome Plus Bling

My contribution to the monthly challenge of “Monosewn” is something I’ve been tossing around in my head for nearly a year (but did I start it early enough to actually finish it at a leisurely pace?  No way.  It had to be finished no later than today…so of course I was madly sewing and stoning and cursing late last night).  It might be a bit of a stretch for this challenge since I did use nude skin-colored mesh, but the finished product is really all white, so here goes…

The dress is made of hand-dyed spandex/nylon mesh, over dyed-to-match opaque spandex over the parts that no 14-year old needs or wants to have showing.  I know designers like Zuhair Murad do lace over just mesh all the time, but strategically placed lace appliques over basically nothing but skin and brand new adolescent female body parts just wasn’t going to work here.  The skirt and trunks are white matte spandex.

The venetian lace was a bit of a challenge — mainly finding the stuff, and then realizing that there must be 200 shades of “white” and of course no lace manufacturer ever uses the same one. To help balance out the color differentiations and eliminate the cheap-looking sheen on some pieces, I soaked each piece in a mix of 4 parts water to 1 part acrylic white paint.  The paint dulled the sheen and stiffened the pieces ever so slightly, making them lay flat and not curl at the edges.

I ended up opting for lace appliques rather than yards of venetian lace for a) price, and b) variety.  I made the entire dress first, then put Emma into it and pinned each applique piece to the dress with her in it — and 92 pins later and absolutely no blood spilled, we were done!  All the lace was hand sewn in place, something I’ll never do again, but in the end it worked much better than trying to machine sew dozens of intricate pieces onto the stretch mesh and spandex anyway.

Back view

The challenge here was to walk the fine line between elegance and maturity (since she’s skating against women six years older than she is), and what’s “appropriate” for a 14-year old.  The boobs are fake and are built into the dress — which makes it stand up by itself, making for one slightly frightening night in the hotel room where I finished the thing when I woke up to see it propped on the little table like a headless person.

Close up, front

The stonework is all crystal, three sizes, hand set.  I figured since I didn’t use AB crystals this still counts as monochrome 🙂

Super close up


I’ve been sewing like a madwoman the past three months, and my blog has paid the price…hoping to get back to it soon and post photos of all the dresses made this season.  But old stuff is still available to read here.


11 thoughts on “Monochrome Plus Bling

  1. That is amazing and you are so clever with your paint-dipping and other techniques. This is really a work of art!


  2. Wow that is a very beautiful costume – how did your daughter do in the competition? Thanks for the information about using the paint to dull and stiffen the lace it has been filed for future reference!


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