A note from Linda before we get started: In this inspiration tutorial by EOS sewing expert Kathryn Brenne, she takes us through the steps to creating a simple and beautiful lace skirt that can be dressed up or down and adapted to any type of lace. In the midst of creating this article Kathryn’s computer crashed, and all of her photos were lost. (Oh no!) After much “ado” she managed to retrieved some of the photos but they are slightly distorted. We think that they are still clear enough for you to see, but there are not as many detail photos as usual, and the photos are not as clear as they would normally be.
A New Take on GUIPURE LACE
by Kathryn Brenne
Since lace has been such a huge trend this year, I chose this stunning Guipure lace to make a skirt to wear for a casual evening out with my husband. Teamed with a sporty collared Tee made from a lightweight rayon jersey and suede lace-up menswear inspired shoes, the outfit had just the right style for dinner at a trendy converted train station in Kingsville, Ontario.
No Pattern Required!
Taking inspiration from the ’70’s, when I would make up long gathered dirndl skirts without a pattern, I decided to update and shorten that silhouette and make pleats rather than the gathers I used to make. From 1 yard of lace, I turned the 46″-wide fabric sideways and cut it down the center length. This gave me two pieces that were 36″ wide x 23″ long. I allowed for a 1/2″ seam allowance on either side. The two scalloped selvedges of the lace became the hem.
Here are my calculations, which you can alter to suit your measurements and desired fullness: Total circumference of 70″ minus the waist measurement and seam allowances = the amount of fabric to be divided into your desired number of pleats (I made 10 pleats for my skirt).
Recording your calculations for later, plan for one pleat at center front and one at center back. Avoid putting pleats over the hip area, which creates extra fullness. Plan to distribute the pleats a few inches apart. I calculated approximately 2 3/4″ between each pleat for my skirt, but this will depend upon your measurements and the number of pleats desired.
This lace has large open areas, which need to be considered when seaming the pieces together. I found that the easiest method with the best results was to sew the seams on the sewing machine with white thread and then to do a narrow serge to finish the edges. There were many little bits that wanted to poke out if you were to do french seams. Serging tamed these little pieces. Serge off the end of the seam, leaving a tail, and used a large needle to thread the serging threads back into the seam to hide them.
On the left side of the garment, where the 8 1/2″ zipper opening is, press the serged seam allowances toward the back of the skirt. Make a small clip into the top of the seam at the point you’ve left open for the zipper. Press the seam allowances for the zipper area open.
To add a touch of luxury to the skirt I used a silk charmeuse lining in color #102 (natural white). When cutting out the lining use the width of the lace skirt front and back as a guide with these changes: Allow for a 5/8” seam allowance along the closed side seam and a 3/4” seam allowance along the zippered seam. IMPORTANT: When you cut out the silk lining, include the selvedges, which will become the seam allowance on the zippered side.
Keeping in mind that the satin side should face out so that it shows under the lace, seam the raw edges of the front and back lining together with a french seam on the closed side (the side with the 5/8″ seam allowance) and seam the finished selvedge edges together as a regular seam (3/4″ seam allowance) on the zipper side, leaving an 8 1/2” opening in the selvedge seam to insert the zipper, as done with the lace.
Once the lace and the lining are seamed, place the lining inside the lace skirt. On the side where the zipper will lay, place the silk selvedge opening under the pressed seam allowances of the lace.
Baste the two layers together along the fold of the seam allowance and then stitch the two layers together along the serged edge of the lace. The silk seam allowance, being wider, will extend out beyond the lace seam allowance.
Prepare your zipper length before installation: If your zipper is too long (as invisible zippers often only come in a few lengths) sew across the end, cut away the excess and then use a piece of the nylon zipper tape to cover the plastic coil on the cut end.
Apply double sided Wonder Tape to the edge of the invisible zipper.
Position the zipper into the opening and stitch in place using an invisible zipper foot.
When your zipper is fully installed, fold the excess selvedge over the edge of the zipper tape, baste to hold and then edge stitch to create a binding, which finishes the edges of the zipper nicely.
Hand-baste the lining to the lace along the top edge of the skirt. When pleating the waist, the two layers are treated as one. Using the calculation arrived at previously, begin forming the pleats at center front. Place a pin at center front. Divide the amount to be put into each pleat in half. Mark this amount with a pin on either side of center front. Bring the two outer pins together placing the folds over the center pin and pin in place. Continue pinning the pleats in place across the front and back of the skirt. Avoid placing pleats too close to the side seams, which will create extra fullness over the hips. Baste across the top of pleats to hold them in place.
After some experimentation, I found that the best choice to finish the top of the skirt was to use a piece of white Petersham, which created a smooth, flat waistband. The length should be double your waist measurement plus 4″. Petersham is stiffer than grosgrain ribbon, and can be shaped with the iron.
Use firm pressure and shape the petersham into a curve. After shaping fold the petersham in half so that one half becomes the waistband facing:
Pin the top edge of the skirt to the lower edge of the petersham with wrong sides facing each other. Machine baste. Press the petersham in half (back on itself) at the Front zipper opening:
Pin the second layer of Petersham to the outside of the skirt, aligning the top edges of the waistband:
Fold the ends of the Petersham in together leaving a 1 1/2″ extension on the skirt Back:
Edge stitch the lower edges of the Petersham through all layers:
Trim away the seam allowance between the layers of Petersham, leaving about 1/4″:
Use an awl to pull apart the loops of a corset hook:
Use the tip of the awl to make two holes in the petersham. Wiggle the loops of the corset hook through the Petersham:
Once the loops of the corset hook are through the Petersham, carefully hand sew them to the wrong side of the band with small stitches that will not show through to the right side.
Finish the top edge of the waistband with edge stitching.
Fold up the silk lining twice at 1 1/4″ to create a double fold hem which will give it more weight and keep it in place. I hemmed the lining a bit shorter than the skirt to allow the pretty edge of the lace to show. Use a hemstitch to hem the lining.
Note from Linda: To see more beautiful laces that would work for this beautiful skirt, click here!
I added a collar to a basic raglan Tee shirt by cutting a rectangle of fabric 20 1/2″ long by 6 1/2″ wide (you will have to adjust this length to your own Tee pattern neckline measurements). I used a lightweight fusible interfacing to give the collar some stability. Fuse the interfacing to half of the collar, which will become the top collar. Sew 1/4″ seams on the ends of the collar. Turn right sides out and press. Baste the open edges of the collar together. Aligning the center back of the collar to the center back of the Tee shirt, pin the collar to the seam allowance of the Tee shirt and its original neckband (the original neckband will add support and shape to the collar). The collar will roll out from the inside of the neckband. Stitch using a slight zig zag of .5mm. Serge the neck edge to finish.