The darned Dino lace skirt is finished (but..)

posted in: Finished projects | 23

Well that was a bit of a challenge!

I can’t say I have ever made a lace skirt before, but (now I know what I know) I will definitely try again. This one is not very well made. It is uneven and bodged together. I bought 3m of the lace, so I can have another go). I wasn’t at all sure how to make it, so asked for your advice. Thank you so much for taking the trouble to give me some.

Demented Fairy wrote

Sew the zip into the silk [stabilise first of course]. Fasten the lace over the top of the zip using those little ‘invisble’ press studs.
For the hem: finish the lining in your preferred way, and cut the lace carefully round the pattern to give a dinosaur-scalloped edge. Cool! In fact, it looks like you already have, apart from cutting away the little eyelash connector bits.

Mrs Mole wrote

Since the waist is slightly curved, I’d make a facing with the same curve and attach it and flip it to the wrong side, no waistband needed. Treat the lace on the center back seam like one unit with the lining. Stitch them together just like the waist top edge. You can hem the lining first and leave the hems separate as Demented said and trim the dinosaurs to be scalloped. Now for the zipper, that might be a problem with so much space between dinosaurs but with the center back seam treated as one unit, it may be OK with an invisible zip or regular. I was also thinking about binding those edges with the navy lining before insertion or just attaching a strip of the navy to use as a cheater strip to use to attach the invisible zipper and then it is hidden inside.

The fabric

This Sophie Hulme cotton lace remnant is adorable. (For those of you who have fallen in love with it I am sorry to report it is all gone). But it is created with the dinosaurs marching across the fabric (away from and towards the finished edge). Unless I had the Triceratops head or tail upwards I couldn’t rely on a finished edge for the hem (with the lace sleeved dress I was able to use the edge for the cuff). This was my first mistake.

The pattern

I made a mistake with my pattern too. My plan was to use a favourite RTW lace skirt as my pattern. This was a good plan, except I had not realised it was a skirt made with a single piece of fabric. While the skirt is nice and flat across the front of the body, and the lace carries around in a pleasing way, the shaping of the skirt means the CF seam is not on the straight grain. Therefore the dinosaurs sort of collide in a slightly chevron shape, creating no end of problems in joining the skirt together. Consequently the finished skirt does have an ugly kick-flare at the CB (not intended).

Dinosaur lace Fabrickated
Dinolace skirt (back view)


I considered using an invisible zip but didn’t have the right colour, so I hand picked a beige zip. This worked fine, but I would certainly recommend an invisible zip if the fabric was a bit less “holey” and the CB was on grain.

Darts and Seaming

I tried sewing the lining and lace together. This worked until it came to the hem. I unpicked it. Then I stitched the lining separately and narrow hemmed it. I joined the lace with a technique suggested in GBSB Fashion with Fabric by Claire-Louise Hardie for “hairline seams”. This involves stitching the seam, trimming the fabric away and finishing with a narrow zig-zag. This may have worked on lacey cloth, but it was impossible with my guipure lace. Finally I resorted to cutting the lace with a narrow seam, overlaying it and hand stitching (as did with the darts). It wasn’t perfect but it was the best technique I found.

Next time round I will try mounting the guipure lace on a backing fabric – can’t see any other way around it.

Waist band

I had intended to create waist facings, but my RTW skirt had a piece of gros grain ribbon, so I copied this technique. The lace and the lining were stitched to the ribbon, which was then pressed into place and secured at the darts. This approach – a variation of Mrs Mole’s advice – worked well.


In addition I didn’t know how to finish the hem. The original had a sort of bound hem, but then the pattern was much simpler than my dinosaur. In the end I just left it unfinished as Demented Fairy suggested. I am sure this is not ideal, but I tried quite a few techniques and all of them were just too bulky and spoiled the pattern.

Dinosaur lace Fabrickated
Dino lace skirt

So for my next version I will use

  • a less challenging lace – more of a fabric – with a finished edge
  • or a guipure mounted on organza or similar
  • a more traditional skirt pattern with three pieces
  • an invisible zip
  • a different approach to seaming


I wore the skirt to work today and something sad, and very serious, happened.

I had already had a little lace accident with a table clip. But then I walked past a drawer and the knob caught the skirt. And this happened. As a result I have decided that this beautiful, fun, modern lace is not really suitable for a whole garment. I won’t be mending it.  I may use the skirt for scraps. Sad. But unless I protect the dinosaur lace by stitching it to a backing fabric, or covering it with a sheer layer I don’t think fragile lace works with my lifestyle.

Lace skirt ripped
That has torn it!


23 Responses

  1. Alli

    Oh no! I was thinking that your skirt still turned out really fun before I saw the sad tear! I bet you’ll be able to make something even better with the scraps, though. 🙂

  2. Demented Fairy

    Oh what a shame! Poor dinos. Quick- turn it into a cushion so that it breathes again! Oh these learning curves, so many of them- they make our lives feel like roller coasters don’t they? Onward and upward me hearty…

  3. Stephanie

    Love the lace hem but what a surprise ending! Sorry to hear about the skirt, but intrepid you will no doubt find a good use for the lace. Interesting process, too. I have a feeling that a lace skirt made my me would meet a similar end as I am very very clumsy.

  4. Mary Funt

    Chalk this one up as an experiment. It wasn’t the easiest lace to work with but you had a chance to practice techniques. Every lace is a little different. One tip about hemming and seams: hem the underlay first and then sew the side seams. I’m sure your next try will have better results.

  5. mrsmole

    I’m with Mary and besides all the new techniques you used and learned…another lesson we have all learned from you is not all garments are workplace friendly! The dinos can rise from the ashes to become any sort of cute accent or throw pillow or even become dyed dinos for a new smaller project. Thank you for sharing the good, the bad and the ugly, Kate.

  6. Jay

    That’s a pity. A lace skirt seemed like just the right idea for this fabric. Enough over for a long lace skirt for non work activities? It looks as though the lace would slice up into pieces pretty well, so a couple of other thoughts – a deep collar on a dark top, lace used like colour blocking on a dress, mounted on a firmer fabric.

    • fabrickated

      A long lace skirt is such a nice idea Jay, and as you say less hazards at an evening do. I think, had I actually mounted it on some backing material rather than just lining it, I would have got away with it.

  7. indigotiger

    How sad that all your effort only was worn once time… (that is just the sort of thing that happens to me with my pockets getting caught on doorknobs and drawer handles) I am wondering if there is enough of the lace left to use it for a yoke on a top or dress? That is a look using a combination of sheer and solid that I find very appealing

  8. AnnIe

    What a disappointment and it was going so well too. I’ll wait to see if your dinosaurs are extinct, or if they live to fight another day.

  9. ceci

    Condolences, if there is any thing I can’t stand its this type of learning opportunity……and now that I think of it exactly what would happen if I wore a lace skirt. I can envision my terrible fury, too…..flashing back to ripping the pocket of a lovely silk jacket on a bathroom stall latch thing.


  10. Sheree

    Such a shame. Still, you have kept very calm about it – I would rant for days. Ultimately, as is the beauty of sewing, it all adds to our experience. Frustrating at the time though.

    • fabrickated

      Actually I didn’t because I wasn’t satisfied with the skirt. The accident gives me the excuse to try again. I am more and more convinced that all I really like about sewing is the process of learning – I have many more clothes than I will ever need.

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