This month I was in such a colorful mood. When challenged by the Mood Sewing Network to sew with lace, I found myself gravitating towards this bright, textural orange lace with its organic pattern of swirling leaves and flowers (from Mood Fabrics but no longer available online; the store itself has other similar lace though – you can call the NYC store at 212-730-5003, ask for the lace department, and tell them you are interested in guipure lace). I really wanted to have some fun with color by pairing the orange with an equally vibrant hue. After a very circuitous path, I ended up choosing this blue double-faced wool (also from Mood but also no longer available online; similar wools can be found here) to partner with the lace. Since this experience marks my first time to truly work with lace, I chose a pattern I had successfully made in the past: BurdaStyle’s Jenny basic skirt. It’s a classic, and I wanted to be able to focus on the fabric without any pattern hiccups!
Since lace can run on the expensive side, I’d bought just enough to work as an overlay with the scallops running along the hem of the skirt. I wanted to be ever so careful with it, so I read up on how to prep it for use and settled on the method of hand soaking, then laying it flat to dry. I spent all of the next day at work mustering up the courage to cut it that evening. When I got home, you wouldn’t believe my surprise when I realized it had shrunk too much to use as a simple overlay! Instead of cutting, I spent that whole night draping the lace this way and that way to see how I could keep a semblance of my original design while maximizing the scallops somewhere other than the hem. After some encouragement from my husband, I finally settled on a wrap effect by using the scallops vertically. I then created pseudo scallops along the hem by cutting along the lace’s natural design. Since the lace wouldn’t reach the true hem, I aimed for it to cover roughly 2/3rds of the skirt’s length in the hopes that the rule of thirds would look favorably on my new design. The little bit of the length I cut off meant I had a couple extra scallops. I appliqued them on at the bottom corners to help the vertical scallops merge with the natural hem scallops. Surprisingly, after all of my fear of working with lace, sewing with this lace was really easy! It’s texture meant my hand stitches sunk right in and disappeared.
To add to the lace challenge, I also did my best to make invisible darts and seams. I really like how the subtle break in pattern is almost imperceptible. There are side seams in the lace in the photo below, I promise!
I made a few modifications to the pattern to keep the focus on the lace. First, I eliminated the back center seam on the lace overlay so that I wouldn’t have a break in the motif. I also narrowed Jenny’s high waistband to a more typical height, eliminating the back center seam there as well. Finally, I switched out the split for a kick pleat so that there wouldn’t be an obvious break in fabric right under the lace hem at center back. But, I didn’t mess with the classic pencil shape. Jenny’s just naturally got the right curves!
I lined the entire skirt in a purple silk crepe de chine (again, from Mood but no longer available online – these fabrics move quickly! – similar crepe de chines here). For some reason purple seemed the obvious choice. Since the double-faced wool was so thick, I used the lining to face the waistband. I hope it holds up! Also, I always convert darts to tucks in the lining. It keeps the shape of the skirt while also providing a bit of extra wiggle room. I will admit to some laziness in not switching out my thread for something that matched a little more closely when understitching the waistband facing and hemming the lining. But, I figure it helps tie the lining in with the rest of the skirt. A bit of teal for everyone!
All and all, I am very happy with this skirt. I love the colors. I love the shape and the feel of the wool. I love how much I learned about working with lace. MSN lace challenge completed!
P.S. The winner of the free pair of Firmoo.com glasses was Julie hales. Congratulations! I hope the glasses you choose will usher in a bit of Spring weather for you!