If you've been keeping track of this series of posts, you'll probably have noticed that the two things we found most difficult to customise were stretchy fabrics (tricky to sew on, except at the seams) and lace (clashes horribly with every other lace). We knew that... and we decided to customise the Lace Vargas Dress anyway, even though it's made entirely of stretchy powermesh and lace!
With remarkable determination, Joe did attempt to add the bright purple lace to the Vargas Dress. But then he realised that it was both vaguely tasteful and vaguely familiar...
The Sirena corselette: what happens when you let somebody with Joe's taste in colour modify a Vargas Dress!
Now, the whole point of the Vargas Dress is that it's stretchy. You can get around that fact in two ways:
1: by making sure that if you sew or glue embelishments on to the fabric, they're fastened only at one point. If you fasten something at two points when the fabric is unstretched, then the moment it stretches, either the original fabric, the embelishement or the fastening is going to fail. On the other hand, if you stretch the fabric first, then add your embelishment, then when the fabric is less stretched, it's going to pucker and look distinctly odd.
2: by only adding embelishments at the seams. More specifically, look for seams in which the stitches are worked in straight lines, like this: - - - - -
These seams are not designed to stretch, and you'll generally find that the vertical seams are sewn in this way. Around the hem and some of the more horizontal seams, you'll see zig-zag stitching. Avoid this - it's designed to be stretchy, which is great for fit but not great for customisation!
We chose option 2, and worked only along the non-stretchy seams. This was mainly because we'd found a fantastically bright and offensive blue velvet ribbon. On any of the more colourful outfits, that ribbon would either have clashed or been lost, but on a black background, it popped. It may also have reminded us of the outfits worn in Tron.
We had just enough velvet ribbon to pick out every vertical seam. If we'd had more, we might have also picked out the seams on the lace cups, or even the bra straps.
Catherine's note: factories actually hate sewing velvet ribbon; its slippy and because its essentially a series of tufts it can mean a factory with a fluff problem. You also have to watch out when you wash it, treat it carefully. But when it's just you sewing slowly it's much easier! In person, the velvet didn't always looks quite this blue; velvet photographs differenty to other fabrics, so that for example, black velvet tends to absorb light and draw the eye in a picture, while the brighter shades look extra-vibrant in the stage light or flash.
Want a corselette to customse? The last of the lace Vargas are here, the Sirena is here, and the Blue Divine is here. For velvet ribbon? Ebay is best! This colour is sold as blue, turquoise, or peacock.