Lacy Layers to Upgrade Cotton Prints

You know what makes me happy? All of the fun licensed cotton prints that are coming out these days. (I remember a time when the thought of a Star Wars or Disney print was practically unheard of.) But you know what else makes me happy? Girly, slightly froufy clothes. (I'm pretty sure I made that word up, but it makes me happy as all get-out, so it stays.) As I was thinking of creating an ensemble to celebrate the opening of "The Force Awakens" and also to wear to events like New Year's Eve soirees, I started to consider how I might upgrade those cotton prints to make them a little more appropriate for special occasions.

Then, it finally hit me that it might be fun to layer sheer or semi-sheer fabrics over some of the cotton prints I've acquired to see what I like. Here's one stage of my experimentation:

After consulting with my BFF (thanks, Dawn!), I settled on the lace over the BB-8 fabric. This also solved a problem I was having with that print. It has a typo, so this treatment obscured it just enough. Can you spot the problem?

One trick I use when layering fabrics, flatlining-style: When I have a dart or a pleat, I machine baste the layers together in the center of what will be the folded bit. When I skip this, the topmost fabric almost always wiggles out of the pleat or dart just a little, and then I end up with bubbles.

Here's my finished BB-8 dress. For the bodice, I used Butterick Retro pattern 5707. I didn't want a pencil skirt, though, so I just cut a circle skirt. I also moved the zipper from the side to the center back. I didn't hem the lower edge of the lace layer of the skirt -- in testing, it just looked too clunky for my taste.

I also found I needed to add a small pleat at the center front to make the bodice sit properly on me. Without the pleat, it bowed out in a weird and unflattering way.

Of course, I paired my dress with a quickie T-shirt cardigan! I love that this look is a little prim, but also nerdy and fun.

I also wanted a skirt, and an excuse to use some pink, rhinestone-dotted nylon net I've had on hand forever. I got it for a song years ago, and hadn't found quite the right project for it. Naturally, it seemed like it should team up with some classic trilogy Stormtroopers. ;) I also decided to make an underlayer out of organza to give the skirt some body and prevent it from clinging to tights and leggings.

This went together lickety-split. In lieu of a more traditional waistband, I used pink foldover elastic to finish the waist edge (though it also has a center back zipper). This makes the skirt SO comfy.

I can dress my girly trooper skirt up or down, depending on the top I pair it with.

I foresee many wearings of my new layered looks, and I'll almost certainly make more. I will always love the casual versatility of a good cotton-print dress, but this is a fun way to shift gears when working with cotton prints and create party clothes that are truly unique.