Applying Gathered Lace to a Bodice Edge

White House Princess

White House Princess

This precious organdy heirloom dress was inspired by a design worn by a young Caroline Kennedy for a photo shoot with her dad, the late President John F. Kennedy. Reproduced by former Sew Beautiful editor Kathy Barnard, the dress is simple in style with its button-shoulder bodice and gathered skirt, yet still ornate-looking with rows of lace and organdy embroidered insertion, trimmed with embroidered edging and detailed with gathered lace.

Below, follow Kathy’s general instructions for applying gathered lace to a bodice edge, and be sure to check out the April/May 2014 edition of Sew Beautiful for the complete guide to making the “White House Princess” dress. The full-size pattern is on the pullout centerfold in sizes 3-6!


1. Place bodice on pinning board. Pin gathered lace with scalloped edge facing in toward bodice. Stab pin header edge to stay-stitching along bodice neck and straps leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance extending along edges. Gather less around concave curves (neck and armholes) and more around convex curves (straps). TIP: Use clear tape to hold down and control gathers temporarily. Pin lace flat. Zigzag around header edge.

2. Clip neck and arm curve seam allowance to stitching and notch around strap curves. Remove tape and flip lace upward and finger press seam allowance back toward bodice on wrong side. Press with an iron to flatten well.

3. From right side, zigzag along lace join, catching fold edge of seam allowance (fig. 1).

4. Using embroidery scissors, carefully trim away seam allowance next to stitching on wrong side.

The April/May 2014 edition of Sew Beautiful is one of our Top 25 MVP products! From now through Tuesday, Oct. 14, save an additional 25 percent on this issue using coupon code MVP25. In addition to the “White House Princess” pattern, this issue features delicate items for baby’s layette and nursery and much more.


Shop all of Martha Pullen Company’s MVP products here!