how to create a lace dress

Creating a Wedding Look on a Budget

I’m all about finding or creating looks for less – I have been known for finding items in department stores, and trying to figure out how I can reproduce it on a dime. This project is no different. If you’ve read my “about me” page, you’ll quickly learn that I’d been planning to start a blog for some time before actually launching here. This is a blog post that I wrote in 2013, but haven’t published it until now. Since the post is so old, I’ve updated the inspirational links to newer dress designs.

diy lace dress

boat neck lace dress

custom lace dress diy

How to Find Inspiration for Your DIY Dress Project

Two of my good friends were getting married, and I wanted to try to wear something a little bit different for the wedding. Lace dresses are timeless, elegant and classy. And because fashion icons like Kate Middleton continue to wear lace, this trend endures.

Embed from Getty Images
Since this was a fall wedding, I wanted to make a lace dress with long sleeves. After I decided on the type of dress I wanted, I began my research. I noticed that there were many lace dresses on the market this fall in a wide range of prices, starting at around $100 and going up from there.

Here are some of the dresses I found on ModCloth for around $100.

Optimal Enchantment Lace Dress in Pink

Lithe Laughter Lace Dress

Chi Chi London Gilded Grace Lace Dress in Blush

While all these dresses are reasonably priced for a dress to wear to a wedding, I wanted to see if I could make mine for under $20. So my challenge began …

How to Choose a Dress Pattern to Sew

Something that helped me stay on my shoestring budget, was using the following pattern, which I had previously purchased but hadn’t yet put to use.

Cynthia Steffe Vogue Pattern V1174


As you can see from the picture above, the pattern does not have long sleeves, but that is a relatively simple addition to a pattern. The creativity comes by figuring out how to lay out the material, deciding on which parts of the pattern you’ll need to cut and determining which pieces must be excluded.

Cutting Fabric from Your Dress Pattern

First, I cut out pattern and laid it out onto the floor.


Since I modified the pattern, I did not have to use all of the included numbers. The ones I used for the lining/main part of my dress are shown in the picture below:


From there, I followed the basic instructions for the bodice of the dress. I omitted the additional bodice pattern cutouts because I did not think the extra support was necessary since this dress was going to have long sleeves.


Once the lining was completely sewn, I laid out the lace to start cutting! This was one of my favorite parts since I love the material and was really excited about adding it to this dress.

Lace Fabric for a Dress

How to Modify a Dress Pattern

There are a number of tricks you can use to help you modify your dress pattern.

  • Use Previous Patterns: If you sew a lot or have sewn in the past, it’s always helpful to look at your current sewing patterns to see if they have templates you can use to cut material
  • Trace Your Clothing: Tracing your clothing to create a sewing pattern is simple and you can use something that you know will fit you!

For this project, I did both. I used a piece of a pattern from a dress I previously made to make the sleeves. (BurdaStyle Gathered Dress). I also used a dress I owned to help me cut out the rest of the lace section.


Using a Dress Form to Help Simplify Sewing

Over the years, I have learned that my projects take a lot less time and seam ripping when I measure and pin using my dress form. It is also helpful to look up how to sew special parts of your projects before you try and sew them. (i.e. learning how to sew an invisible zipper)

After many hours of cutting, pinning and sewing, here is the final project – from start to finish! I am really happy with how this dress turned out and ended up receiving a lot of compliments on it. Mission accomplished! I guess my hard work paid off in the end, and I stayed pretty close to my $20ish budget (I believe the grand total was around $22 after all was said and done). Not too bad!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *