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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’s, Leisa’s and Jean’s explanations, I learned about appliqué seams. One golden tip is to cut around the motifs rather than through it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂