Inspiration and design: I was inspired by lace dresses and skirts by Dolce & Gabbana, Zimmerman and Tory Burch. I love a raglan sleeve and in the Zimmerman dress worn by Kate Middleton I liked the lace dot detail along the raglan seam. I also like flounces, which make a lovely fluted shape. Flounces sit much more nicely than a ruffle because the top seam is shorter than the hem, because flounces are cut out as two concentric circles, or a doughnut! Dolce & Gabbana often uses flounces.
Pattern: I used one of my favourite vintage 1960s patterns, Simplicity 4608. It’s described as “Slenderette one-piece dress with two skirts. Dress has round neckline, raglan sleeves, left side zipper, bodice front button closing and self or purchased belt”. I used view 3 but made quite a few changes. I changed the zipper closing to the centre back seam, made the front piece non-closing, lowered the neckline and made the sleeves much wider by slashing and spreading the sleeve pattern pieces.
Using the lace pattern: In the pattern of the cut out lace panel I could see a doughnut shape for which I used to cut out the flounce. I used two panels to get enough flounce.
For the sleeves I wanted to use the dot pattern of the lace that’s along the edge of the panel as a feature along the raglan seam. I wanted an effect as seen on the raglan sleeve seams of the Zimmerman dress.
To do this, I cut out the front bodice, back bodice and sleeves as normal. I sewed strips of the lace dots along the edges of the pieces. Where the seam curved I had to gather the strips a little.
I then cut away strips from the original pattern pieces. Then I sewed the bodice pieces to the sleeves along the lace dots strips. This made two rows of dots along the raglan sleeve seams. I also used two rows of lace dots in the waistband.
Another consideration of pattern placement was ensuring there was a nice patch of black along the hem where the flounce attaches to the skirt. I did this to make the subtle lace pattern of the flounce stand out. If there was lace along the hem the flounce pattern would not be noticeable.
Finishing: I am quite pleased with my finishing of the dress. I used the narrow hem setting on my overlocker to finish most of the seams. I overlocked right up against the seam. I trimmed all the darts using the overlocker narrow hem.
I used purchased bias binding to finish the seams of the invisible zipper and also for the neckline. I used a hook and eye at the top of the zipper on the inside of the dress, but a little black button and thread loop on the outside of the dress to make it look nicer.