party-shift-blueWe’re on the countdown to party season! And what is more fun than a PARTY DRESS! The Lace Back Shift Dress (a variation on my Bubble Sleeve Dress – FREE SEWING PATTERN ) is a glam but understated party dress with 3/4 length sleeves and a lace panel at the back.

The original Bubble Sleeve Dress, shown left in shades of blue, is a simpler version – there is no detailing on the back and the emphasis is all on the bubble sleeves. Have a look at my other post for more details on this one.

orange-party-shift-frontThe Lace Back version here is essentially the same shape as the original but with some modifications made to the back. The patterned fabric makes the bubble sleeves look less significant and the lace section and miniature button detailing on the back gives it a new level of glamour.

Despite appearances, there are no fastenings on this shift dress. The buttons are not needed –  you can just pull the dress on over your head. You could just as easily make the lace panel without the fake opening if you prefer a cleaner look. There is a dashed line on the pattern to show where to cut and replace the top section of the back panel.

Here you can just see that I have cut the lace panel in half and hemmed it with a tiny roll hem to give it the illusion of being an opening. If you plan on doing this then I would give yourself an extra half inch on the width when you are cutting panel just to allow for the 2 extra hems. I sewed the panels together at the top, middle and bottom leaving little openings in between. I have then used little self-cover buttons in the same fabric as the dress body. They are such a lovely couture touch that gives your dress a really special look.

back-lace-panelFor anyone who hasn’t used self cover buttons before, they are plain metal or plastic buttons that you can cover with a fabric of your choice. You cut out a circle of fabric, wrap it round and the back clips on to hold the fabric in place. I just LOVE them. They are really fiddly to do. You can’t rush them. But it’s worth it for the overall effect.


This is a particularly beautiful fabric that I have been saving for something special. The deep dark aubergine combined with the vibrant orange fills me with delight – it is still in stock at Fabworks should you be tempted (Feb 16). I have also had lurking at the bottom of my stash, this lovely and heavy weight burnt orange lace. Not the kind of thing you come across every day, but I lace-dressfound it in a clearance sale years ago. The body fabric also has a very slight stretch to it. I didn’t really notice when I started the dress but in now it is finished, that little bit of give across the shoulders adds an extra level of comfort that the original blue dress doesn’t quite have.

Coloured lace is everywhere at the moment (see Kate Middleton) and there are so many great examples that I hardly know where to start. Prada are probably the best known for their heavy lace creations – there are a couple here to inspire you. The safer and more classical choice is to pair your lace with a similar tone plain fabric such as this yellow dress, but don’t be afraid to try it with patterned material too by picking up one of the colours in the fabric.prada-laceyellow-lacePrada-Lace-sewing-pattern

Here is a great article from sergerpepper about tips for sewing with lace which might be useful too.

If you haven’t already seen it, have a look at my other post on the original blue dress. It always helps to see more than one version of a pattern. Happy sewing!