Made of Black

To me, black is the absence of colour rather than a colour, funny how when it is bound with other words the outcome is rather colourful.

How to sew guipure lace

Here are some symbolisms,

Black Widow: The air was thick with rumours, they whispered that she’d poisoned her five husbands and cut out their hearts to cook pepper-soup with. It didn’t help that the aromatic scent of spicy uziza seeds and utazi leaves always filled the air around her compound moments after they all died.

Black Market:  She bought scarce petrol at the high black market price and then shed hot, black tears while wasting said petrol drive-crawling through traffic at Apapa.  Her mascara wasn’t waterproof after all.

Black Mood:  She was in a black mood, he’d kissed her right after chomping on some garlic. She plotted her revenge over a cup of black tea.

Black Cat:  They made the sign of the cross when they spotted the black cat on the road, it may have been sent with bad luck by Agadi the village witch.  At dinnertime, they sipped holy water from elegant crystal glasses for extra protection. Over the sound of cutlery clinking against the dishes, a low pitched “Meow” was heard repeatedly.

Black Friday:  He was seduced by the flashing red SALE signs, now his bank account is in the red.

Blackmail: He threatened to expose her nudes if she didn’t pay him but she didn’t mind the scandal at all, there was no such thing as bad publicity. She only wished she’d highlighted and contoured the angles on her face just before those naughty selfies were taken. It was important to make a good impression always.

(Little) Black Dress: A wardrobe staple rocked to death by most women, grabbed and worn, most times, without much thought or even ironing to dinner dates, wedding parties and painting-the-town-red nights.

How to sew guipure lace

Anyway, I was determined to sew myself a “Christmas dress” and decided to make an elegant LBD.  I like shift dresses as it’s a comfortable yet chic silhouette.

How to sew guipure lace

Mesh, Duchesse satin and Guipure

Lace is my favourite fabric as it is so romantic. Guipure is a type of lace that connects the motifs with bars or plaits rather than netting.

How to sew tulle

Front and Back patterns| Transferred to fabric

In drafting the dress pattern, I modified my basic bodice pattern by transferring the bust dart from the shoulder to the underarm, ignored the waist darts, added 1.5 inches extra ease at the hip line point and connected the underarm point to the extended hem line point. The underarm point was used in measuring the depth of the yoke.

duchesse satin inner

Before the lace layer

The architecture of this garment is to first sew a dress using the duchesse in the main body of the dress and the mesh for the yoke and sleeves, the lace is then attached as an overlay.

How to sew tulle

Stitch-tracing the yoke pattern on the mesh

Traced

I discovered a brilliant way of tracing patterns on delicate fabrics by sewing the pattern paper onto the fabric. The paper is then ripped off, leaving the thread as a sewing guide.

Lapped seam

After attaching the mesh yoke to the duchesse portion of the dress, the edges were finished using flat-felled seams. The top-stitching is visible on the satin from the outside.

wrapped zip

All the seams were finished by wrapping with bias tape, I trimmed the sewing allowance at the CB seam to the width of the zipper and wrapped both zipper and fabric with the bias tape. Neat insides make me so happy.

hem black tape

The satin dress hem was finished by machine stitching a simple double fold half an inch deep. The hemline is shorter by 2.5 inches than the outer lace layer.

fitting lace

WIP- Fitting the lace layer

I wanted the guipure to hang freely away from the inner duchesse dress at the sides but in achieving that there was the little issue of how to finish the lace seams.  Lace is see-through, it would have looked unsightly to have the sewing allowance visible from outside.

Thankfully, the internet is a bottomless pit of sewing solutions and my PhD in Searchelogy (Google Uni) isn’t for nothing, ha! From Lisa’sLeisa’s and Jean’s explanations, I learned about appliqué seams.  One golden tip is to cut around the motifs rather than through it.

Applique seams

Overlapped applique seams

Another golden tip is to sew lace seams by overlapping the appliqué edges so that the joined edges appear seamless.  After tracing the sewing guide lines by hand basting with white thread, I sewed the adjoining pieces one over the other rather than side by side, stitching around the pretty motifs.

snaps open

Snaps open

I also learned a couture technique of flapping the lace motifs over the zipper to conceal it.  The lower layer is machine stitched to the satin fabric up till the zip length, I then attached press buttons to ensure that the top layer stayed flat, which made the centre back seam appear seamless.

snaps closed

Snaps closed- Zip concealed

back view

I’d considered sewing the bust darts by cutting the bars connecting the lace motifs on one dart leg and overlapping accordingly but decided to skip the darts altogether. I knew the holes on the lace would provide some ease, and it worked out fine because the dress isn’t fitted.

yoke close

The guipure fabric selvage had a nice floral border which I positioned at the top of the lace portion.  I hand-sewed this border to the top of the satin portion using firm discrete stitches.

sleeve

The sleeve seams were finished by binding with bias tape. I thought the mesh would be too fragile to support the weight of the rest of the dress but it was surprisingly sturdy and has a width-wise stretch which made the semi-fitted sleeves comfortable. The neckline was bound with bias tape.

Lace frontal

Clearly, meticulous planning and deliberate lay out are crucial when working with guipure but it was well worth it!

Black Hole:  Last year, whether we watched our steps or not, we still fell into the black hole of grief that terrorism left in its wake and pain from failing economies.  Regardless, we pressed on and found reasons to smile.

I wish you happiness in the New Year. Everything good will come. 🙂

Sign

 

 

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133 comments

  1. Happy new year nne😍,had to call u that cos u r so good at what u do and i i love it…Finishing is a great plus,the way u explain and write s outta d 🌎..Would love to c u sew..
    God bless the works of your hand dear
    Am ur number one fan😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello my dear ‘Nifemi,

      Lol @ “Nne” Thank you so much for your your kind words. Ah! I sew far too slowly, you’d probably fall asleep watching me. XD

      God bless the works of your hands!

      Have a lovely week.

      Like

  2. I love the way you write, Nedoux!
    There’s just something about your writing. It is so deep and almost like…spiritual. See how well you’ve analysed the symbolism of “black”. gradually drawing us into your outfit.
    Beautiful dress! I’ll like to sew like you when I grow up.
    Hope you are doing good. Has your workshop taken place?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lady P,

      I sincerely appreciate your wonderful compliments and support, you are the real deal! 😀

      Ah, sewing is a fun skill. The workshop has come and gone, I’m having another one in a few days.

      Have a lovely week.

      PS: I’m sincerely sorry for not responding sooner.

      Like

    1. Hi Tikore,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I purchase fabric and sewing accessories from either Tejuosho market in Yaba or the Tom Jones area of Lagos market.

      PS: I’m sincerely sorry for not responding sooner.

      Like

    1. Hi Fola,

      I know what you mean, pattern drafting takes so much effort. XD

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Truthfully, practice has really helped me improve my skills.

      PS: I’m sincerely sorry for not responding sooner.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Beauty,

      Thank you so much for the lovely compliment, I’m glad you saw the dry-ish humour within this piece.

      I’m glad the dress turned out nice. 🙂

      Like

  3. T’he lace overlay sealed the deal here. And the lace hat is so Great Gatsby and then there’s the lippy. You look gorge hon, like a real Madame. Great church outfit btw. Now, how was that sewing masterclass??
    I want to see piiiictures.
    Have a lovely wkend ( :

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Babe,

      Lol @ “real Madame”. I know right, hahaha! Thank you so much.

      This is actually an old post I decided to resurrect by making it feature at the top, since I haven’t put up a new post in a bit.

      Ah you are right, it’s very church appropriate and also wedding guest appropriate, thank God it’s no longer considered a faux pas to wear black to a wedding.

      The sewing workshop is holding next Saturday- July 23, I’ll be sure to share snippets of the event here.

      Have a super happy weekend. 🙂

      Like

    1. Hi Jane,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment, I am always glad to meet another sewing enthusiast.

      As with all things, practice makes perfect even with regards to sewing techniques.

      I must admit that I didn’t sew this carefully when I first started sewing. Back then, I was always in a hurry to see the outcome, the insides were “out of sight, out of mind”. 😀

      Warm regards.

      Like

  4. This is a beautiful, meticulous sewing. I love your clearly written step-by-step tutorial(just like the oyinbo… Lol). Keep using the tape rule and scissors. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tinuade,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. I can tell that you are enthusiastic about sewing. 🙂

      Lol @ “just like the oyinbo” I want to show people that sewing is fun and doable with practice.

      Like

  5. The first song that came to my mind was “The lady in black”

    Okay it’s meant to be ‘the lady in red’ but you get the point..wink**

    Wow, just look at all the black relationships. It’s ‘I don’t have a word for it’ 🙂

    P.S: I really don’t know why I found it hard to comment on your blog. I just had to persevere cos its worth it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol @ lady in black.

      Black has a way of adding a comic twist when it’s tied with other words.

      Thank you so much for all your kind comments. 🙂

      Like

  6. I was admiring your dress and was just thinkign why we don’t get such stuff here in India. And , then I see you made it yourself. No wonder we don’t get it in shops. 😀
    It’s beautiful, indeed.

    Thanks for the follow. So glad i got to meet you at Jacqui’s party. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi WS,

      Thank you so much. XD

      I am so glad that I got to meet you too. You have a pleasant bubbly personality, you really cheered up the mood at Jacqui’s party very nicely. Lol

      I’ll come by and stalk your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your dress is gorgeous, your sewing skills wonderful and I liked the thoughts about black. I am not sure why color is still an issue with people but do think we must move forward and try harder to love one another. It is a shame how many years that some fears and stereotypes exist in uncaring or ignorant people. Hugs, Robin

    Like

    1. Hi Robin,

      Your comment put a big smile on my face. I love your words of wisdom. 🙂

      Yes, we should try to get past the colour of people’s skin and focus on getting to know the person underneath that skin. Love should be in our hearts.

      Indeed, racial stereotypes cause misunderstandings that are so sad. I look forward to a colour-blind world.

      Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

      Like

  8. Wow. The symbolisms are epic. I love your writing style!

    The dress is so pretty. Pretty enough to to tempt me to say I would try it but nah! I would be lying- I don’t have the skills to be honest.

    I love the styling too. The red lips? Perfection.

    http://www.miralabelle.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ijenna,

      Lol… Black magic. Thank you so much for reading.

      I am glad the dress turned out nice. Ah! You are being modest, your DIY craft skills are very impressive. 🙂

      Honestly, matte red lipstick is a wonderful thing.

      Enjoy the rest of the week.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. THIS GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I don’t know how you do it! Our writing styles are different but I still feel a little envious when I read any of your posts – your way with words… they’re like floating flower petals on a crisp day that make you hug yourself a little tighter.

    And the dress! So pretty. I like the way you styled it – very old Hollywood.

    You’re amazing!

    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merry Berry,

      I sincerely appreciate your generous compliment, you really made my day. I love the positive vibe of your blog.

      Words are like best friends, they like to hold each other’s hands.

      Thank you! I am glad that I purchased the birdcage fascinator in a neutral colour, it’s a good accessory to have.

      But you already know that you are SUPER amazing, right? 😀

      Best wishes and lots of blessings!

      Like

  10. Nedoux. So, this is THE dress!

    It’s beautiful. Black is one of my favourite colours. You look elegant. Ready for a blacktie event : )

    Lol @ black widow and spicy scent of uziza leaves..

    Another reference to black widow:

    Black widow spider: kills and eats her mate after conjugal bliss. Hehe.. toxins said to be harmful to humans as well.

    These lovely creatures are crawling somewhere in the outbacks.

    Well done Nedoux!! As usual, your fluency with sewinese is laudable.

    Happy 2016!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rosemary,

      Lol… It is o! The Christmas dress that ended up being a New Year dress.

      Clearly, they were never told “Don’t play with your food “. XD

      Yes, the bizarre antics of the black widow spider intrigued me, it inspired the idea about husband-flavoured pepper-soup.

      Yikes! Some of the wildlife that live in the land down under have extra creepiness.

      Thank you so much for your kind words.

      Best wishes and blessings!

      Like

    1. Hi Tamie,

      I suppose black is easy to style because it’s like an empty surface that other items can be placed on, yet the outcome manages to avoid visual noise.

      Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

      Enjoy the rest of the week.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Happy, Happy New Year, Nedoux! May 2016 be your best year yet! 😀

    I read: “Black is the absence of color,” and thought, “She’s BACK!”

    I loved each of those flash fiction pieces you were just tantalizing us with. Who dreams of contouring their face when nudes are on display? What a story! And the woman cooking pepper soup?

    *in a whiny voice* “Nedoux now, please give us some more.” 🙂

    If this was your Christmas dress, I wonder what Easter’s will look like. Oh well, April will soon be here. Tick, tock! 😉

    Lace is romantic, and that PhD in Searchology, no be small thing o. Hehe!

    Everything good must come. We wait with bated breath.

    Have a great week!

    P.S. Those heels sha … Chai!

    Double Chai!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi dear,

      Thank you so much for your kind wishes. I wish you the same and more. 🙂

      Lol…I know, right?! I guess she’s a make-lemonade-with-life’s-lemons type of person. I bet that woman ate smooth pounded yam with her controversial pepper-soup. 😀

      It’s amusing how black just adds sweet gist once it lands on another word.

      Ah! Considering when I finally finished sewing, the dress ended up being more like a New Year dress. Who knows, the Easter dress might end up being a Sallah dress.

      Have a lovely week!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. The dress oh my…. I want to grab my own copy now.

    My favourite line…… She only wished she’d highlighted and contoured the angles on her face just before those selfies were taken. It was important to make a good impression always…. I agree with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi dear,

      “grab your copy now” reminds me of nollywood movie advertisements. XD

      I agree with her too, one might as well make the most of every situation and look on the bright side. Lol

      Have a lovely rest-of-the-week.

      Like

    1. Hi Keidi,

      Thank you so much for stopping by today. 🙂

      Mesh is a non-fraying fabric so I simply cut the sleeve edge neatly with scissors and left it raw. I did this because the lower section of the sleeve is fitted and thus needed the ease provided by the width-wise stretch of the mesh, to allow passage of the wrist.

      Have a lovely rest-of-the-week.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve missed reading your post. So glad to see a new one up. You didn’t disappoint…😀😄
    I love your sense of humor that reflects in your writing…
    And that dress…you’re one of the people making me want to take sewing lessons…it’s so lovely!
    Happy new year to you too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mizraph,

      Ah! I sincerely appreciate your support. 😀

      I love how words can be molded like clay, thank you so much for your kind comment.

      You should consider it, sewing skills are very useful.

      Have a lovely rest-of-the-week.

      Like

  14. …Oshey! baDDest! inshort Nedoux for Minister of SewinOLOGY Biko! yess boss! She Frosh like that oh! jo oh! Hiya Nedoux of Laiifffeee.. See you looking like a Million Bucks! Omo i be Tripping for Days **Wears Mr. Nigeria Smile.. I particularly love how you were able to conceal the Zipper ba, and that cutting around the “flower Flower kini” on the lace as against through it was definitely not for the shallow thinkers.. Oshey! GOOGLE be saving Lives since 19 kokoro! heheh

    Okay this line had me in Sewing machine Stitches Nne.. heheheh The one about “Black mail”.. You know nah Nedoux toh Sure.. The part where you went

    “She only wished she’d highlighted and contoured the angles on her face just before those selfies were taken”

    heheheheheheh Oshey! baDDest bae ever liveth! Nudes fear her not 🙂 lmao.

    mehn nawa oh! Nedu.. Ya Either a Genius or a Genius.. as this post was Frosh to Frosh from Line to Line! yess Boss! Cheers and Happy New Year Bubba.. BLESSINGS!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Duru,

      Ah! Your comments always make me happy. I sincerely appreciate your kind words.

      Yes! Almighty Google, the knower of all that is and all that is yet to come. I was so impressed that you took time to read about the sewing process and the flower kini. 😀

      Lol @ “Nudes fear her not”. I suppose she believes that when life shows you pepper, make delicious pepper-soup.

      Best wishes for the New Year!

      Like

  15. To think I ever wanted to become a designer.. How would I have coped? It seems like magic.. Your dress is really lovely and I like how you styled it too.. But lets talk about your skin… It’s flawless! Black cat was my absolute favorite lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ella,

      Lol, I felt that way when I first started sewing, I couldn’t sew a straight stitch to save my life. The process becomes magical with patient practise .

      “Flawless” made me smile happily. Ah! I wish. Thank you so much, so sweet of you. I recently started deep-cleansing my face twice a day with a mild-astringent, it’s made a bit of difference.

      Black cat felt like a horror movie, the meowing must have been so creepy. 😀

      Enjoy the rest of the week.

      Like

  16. From a dressmaker, your finishing is superb! I wanna hold that dress and look at every inch of it – every tiny detail. And yes. I did learn some new techniques.
    I love love the way you play with words. Your words dance, connect and carry the emotions through when I read them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Gudy,

      Meeting a fellow sewing enthusiast always makes me happy.

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. I am so glad that you found this post helpful. 🙂

      Enjoy the rest of the week.

      Like

  17. Nedo Nedo, beautifully written post, lovely dress. I love black color, only because it gives me a trimmer look. The way u write about ur sewing, makes me feel like learning the act. Maybe I should include it as part of my newyear resolution. happy new year dear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lady!

      Thank you so much. Yes, black has both a glam factor and a slimming effect.

      You should consider learning, DIY sewing is a very thrifty skill to have. 😉

      Best wishes for the New Year.

      Like

  18. Well dont you look Retro Fabulous! The veiled headwear and red lippy punctuate the look to perfection! Also loving these short black stories, I want to read more of what happened to the characters, Like Ms Black Mood: how exactly did she get her revenge on Mr Garlic Breadth, haha! HAPPY NEW YEAR! ( :

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Biki,

      Retro Fabulous totally made my day! Thank you so much. I was away from blogging for too long, so glad that I’m back. 🙂

      Ah! Red lippy is a girl’s best friend, after diamonds of course.

      I also wonder how she got her revenge, I bet she poured pepper into his roll-on, or “accidentally” stepped on his PlayStation controller. Lol

      Best wishes for the New Year.

      Like

    1. Hi Isy,

      Thank you so much.

      I know what you mean, delicate fabrics require a bit more patience. There will be fewer mistakes when one sews at a deliberate pace.

      You are most welcome, I am glad that you found this post helpful. 🙂

      Have a super week.

      Like

    1. Hi Timeka,

      Thank you so much. 🙂

      Google is awesome! All the sewing tips that I found gave me the confidence to cut the guipure, I am glad that it turned out fine.

      Have a beautiful week.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. What do I call my situation now? Speechless? Too subtle. Writer’s block? Hmmm…
    Ohhhh…Nne! Perhaps “commenter’s” block!

    Where do I start from bikonu? You look amazing! Your writing skills…to the moon & back!
    That dress… The professional finishing… Your shoes… Yep! Imma raid your wardrobe, then come learn at thy feet. :*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi dear,

      I have started my day on a happy note, thanks to your kind words. I sincerely appreciate your support. 🙂

      Lol @ “commenter’s block”.

      To be honest, I was a little scared about cutting the guipure and making a mistake, but after doing a bit of research I felt confident. Thank God for Google!

      Have a fabulous week.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Venita,

      Thank you so much for reading. I am so glad that you found this post helpful. 🙂

      Lace is fun to work with, it just requires careful planning and positioning

      Have a lovely week.

      Like

    1. Hi Chioma,

      Lol… Ah! My appreciation for tailors grew after I learned how to sew, it is such a labour-intensive process but the outcome makes it worthwhile in the end.

      Thank you so much!

      Have a great week.

      Like

    1. Hi Kunmi,

      That is my aim, I want to make sewing look doable. 🙂

      I’ve learned that practise makes perfect. The reward of a pretty garment makes a back-breaking, finger-numbing sewing project worthwhile in the end.

      Ah! Thank you so much for your kind words.

      Have a great week.

      Like

  20. Dear Ms. N,

    Black Mood: She was in a black mood, he’d kissed her right after chomping on some garlic. She plotted her revenge over a cup of black tea.

    I won’t question why this is my favorite symbolism. We shall leave it at that. Another awesome post. Love the dress, and that red lippy! Très jolie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ms. MM,

      XD Black mood is my favourite too. I wonder what her revenge would be, perhaps, pouring pepper into his roll-on.

      Thank you so much. Ah! Ruby Woo never fails.

      Have a lovely week.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Nedu is on fire this 2016!
    i love the comfy look of the dress, you can wear it almost anywhere and fit in.
    Ok, I glazed over the making of the dress part but it did seem detailed,
    Ehen, the fascinator (shebi na wetin dem dey call the hat) and the red lipstick gave a touch of glamour that seemed to come straight from Vogue or Harper and I spy those beautiful legs 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍
      Adaeze!!! You stole my comment….back to back! Hian!
      Nedoux, I won’t say much, I will only state that in this 2016, there shall be a violent wardrobe raid and outfits shall change ownership.
      Chikena.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Lizzie dear,

        Ah! And I only just renewed my Wardrobe Insurance policy last week, phew! XD

        Your comment made my day, thank you so much for reading.

        Have a beautiful week.

        Like

    2. Hi Adaeze,

      Yes o, #BabyOku2016 is in full swing. 😀

      Ah! Your comment put a big smile on my face, thank you so much for your kind words.

      I love shift dresses because the shape never goes out of style, plus there’s adequate “feeding allowance” so no need to suck in belle.

      Have a super week.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Grace,

      Yaaay! Back to blogging. Thank you dear. 😀

      I know you love black, I remember the lovely Black series you did last year.

      Lol, yes, black adds spice.

      Have a great week.

      Like

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