I like lace, but I don’t have much experience with it.
The only lace item I have ever made was in about 1984 when i attended a dressmaking class in Moss Side Manchester.
I think I used a Vogue pattern and I chose a soft, lightweight black cotton. The dress is a very simple style with pockets (Very Easy, Very Vogue?) and is a classic rather than a typically 80s style. I remember the tutor showing me how to make the lace yoke. I had completely forgotten about this dress. So when I Kondoed all my clothes I came across it. It hasn’t been worn or seen the light of day for about 32 years! I can’t believe the tutor allowed me to do a handmade button hole with grey thread. Perhaps I didn’t finish the dress in the term time and I had to make do at home (without a sewing machine). But the lace yoke was done well, and I am proud of that.
Fresh from my success with the H&M dress, I thought I would have a go at reproducing a RTW item that I liked and didn’t want to rip up.
So I chose a favourite (but inexpensive) lace skirt from Zara’s sale.
I wear this skirt quite a lot for work, matching it with a white shirt, and more recently with my red silk shirt. I like it because it is not boring, but it is knee length and classic. It has an exposed brassy zip at the CB. Also the blue is just a little bit greenish so it works well with a bottle green jacket to look like a suit, but not too matchy-matchy. And lace has such lovely texture. But this is not a quality item. The lining has a raw edge and is a funny cottony knit fused to a shiny, slippery back. It shrunk and twisted in the wash. Nevertheless I enjoy wearing it and thought I would try to copy it.
I examined how it was made, and was quite surprised that it was just one piece of lace, and one piece of lining, no side seams. This is clever – it avoids all unnecessary joins (a bit of a nuisance with lace), and of course it is super economical. I measured the width of my lace and found it was a touch too narrow to make this exact design, but with a little alteration I made up a pattern that would use the full width of my lace to create a one-piece skirt.
I chose a fairly firm navy silk to line it with. I think this will be ideal as it would just about work as a skirt in its own right, so it will give some body to the skirt. Also as my lace is beige I thought the navy background would bring it more into line with my wardrobe. I do have enough lace left to do a second skirt, and I am thinking of dying the lace to a more beautiful colour. It is not that I dislike beige (beige, grey and white are such great wardrobe staples for me), but I wouldn’t really enjoy wearing a beige skirt.
Obviously the CF is on the left, and you can see how the side seam is now a deep dart, and there is smaller dart at the back waist. I have come across this style of pattern fairly often during the 1960s and it works fine, although of course one must sacrifice a nice straight CB grain line. As the CB is now a bias cut it will require thought about the zip insertion.
I stitched the darts by hand, lapping them. They are not very obvious, which is great. I pinned it on to Camilla and realised the lace and the backing fabric need to be basted carefully together before I proceed. Had you spotted the dinosaurs? Ted tells me it is a Triceratops – I think he may be right.
I also need to think about the zip, hem, and waist finishes. I have tried a few ideas, but they aren’t great.
Any suggestions on how to construct this skirt please?