Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lace Skirt is Finished


All Lace Skirt Photos in Greater Detail Here

I finished the Prada-inspired lace skirt last night. I feel like I did enough work to make 3 skirts because I kept having to redo things that weren't working the way I originally did them. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, since sewing this kind of lace was a new experience for me. I really like the final result, but I did take the long way around.

As you may remember, I originally planned to underline with silk organza, then decided to attach it only at the waist and CB seam because I was afraid of trying to control the drapiness of the lace against the not-going-anywhere organza. As it turned out, I was right to be wary of this, as the lace was heavy enough to gain a lot in length as I went along, and I finally ended up cutting the organza completely out of the skirt, leaving it only in the zipper area. I left enough extra there to be able to turn it twice and stitch it to the inside of the zipper tape. This gave a nice finished look to the zipper and as I think about it, I think it would have been almost impossible to securely sew the lace to the zipper alone.

I knew I needed to cover the zipper with lace. I stitched a piece of lace to the left side of the zipper area, and used 3 clear snaps to attach the edges of the lace to the right side. I was afraid this would make the skirt difficult to get into, but it seems to be no problem at all. The photos show the slip inside the skirt so you can see a single layer of the lace. You can see the organza-wrapped zipper-tape here too.


Covered Zipper - Open


Covered Zipper- Closed

This skirt is fitted at the waist and hip, with darts in the front, the zipper, and a plain fabric waistband. I used the appliqué technique for the CB seam, and it did give a fairly invisible join. The arrows point to the seam. There are applied lace motifs at the top and bottom of the photo.



Here is the way I did this seam. I basted it in as a plain seam with wide allowances, pressed it to mark the seam line, then took the basting out, laid one pressed line over the other and basted along the line I planned to use as the overlap edge. It can be obvious which side should go on top at any one point, and you can switch back and forth if you like. I then went back and stitched the top layer invisibly to the lower layer, trimming as I went. You won't get a straight stitching line this way since you are following the lace design as you go along, but as long as the pressed line is straight, you will have the same result as if you had stitched a plain, straight seam, but you will have an almost invisible join, and no obvious break in the lace itself.

The hem is simply turned up, pressed and hand stitched. As I went along, when I got to a place where I didn't have a smooth turnup because of excess fullness in the hem allowance, instead of shrinking out the fullness as you might normally do, I clipped through enough of the allowance to be able to move the cut edges over until I had a smooth allowance again. This was easiest to do in the "holier" parts of the lace, as I could just take out some of the design and stitch what was left back together. I took photos of this, but honestly, you can't tell there's anything going on. The non-ravelling properties of lace makes it easy to do lots of things that you might not otherwise think of.

I love Prada's applied lace motifs that give texture to what is essentially a flat fabric, and I wanted to use this idea. I found that I needed to tack the motifs on so they had a little volume and would flutter a bit, rather than stitching them flat. I began to worry that I was doing too much, or getting too dramatic, but I really love the results. I ended up using 19 motifs, plus the zipper-top appliqué. You can see the way there's room for the motif to move.


The slip I'm wearing under the skirt is not the first one I made. I wanted it a little longer, and I put 3 rows of the decorative stitching on the hem of this one.


One last note. I had places where the bars between motifs were deteriorating. I think this was because I washed the piece so many times after dyeing it to get out the excess dye. I should have waited until I got the Synthrapol before dyeing, and I think this wouldn't have been a problem. It was easy, if somewhat time-consuming to fix. I simply did buttonhole stitch over the bars that needed reinforcement or replacement.

We all discussed on Stitcher's Guild Lace Sew-Along topic why the Prada skirts might be selling for $2000, but after finishing this, I can see why. I'm sure they didn't use my learn-as-you-go "technique", but it seems that there would have to be a lot of handwork to this kind of skirt even if you did it all correctly the first time. My skirt has machine stitching only to reinforce the basting that attaches the waistband. Everything else was done by hand. I'm not sure it all had to be done this way, but it seemed easier at the time.

If you look at the photos on Pbase from the link between the first 2 photos, you'll see that I took photos of it with several different tops/jackets. I'm not sure what I really like best, and if you have an opinion, please let me know. If you have an idea of something else that would look even better, tell me that too.

32 comments:

BeeBee said...

Wow! That's drop dead gorgeous! I'll have to come back and read all the gory details, this was a fantastic review. Beautiful work, I know you'll enjoy wearing it.

Lisa said...

Stunning!

Birgitte said...

Perfection. What an amazing job you did with concealing the zipper too! I like it with both jackets, but my favorite look is with the Asian one.

Marji said...

The skirt looks fabulous!! Great job.
I love it with those shoes too.
As far as what's on top- take a look at the Prada runway - they've shown the lace skirt with a long jacket very reminiscent of your longer jacket, and all the other views are either with more lace on top, or less bulky silk jersey tops. I'm thinking something like a merino wool jersey or silk jersey pullover top will work best.
While I love your cable knit sweater, I don't think it's the best look for this skirt.

Rhoto said...

The applied lace motifs look very much like Yves Saint Laurent, too. (We had his exhibit her in Montreal, eh.)
GORGEOUS!! You set the bar to "Couture", don't you think??
Congratulations for a great accomplishment!!
Rhonda in Montreal

Janene said...

Great work on this masterpiece. It is indeed beautiful.

MaryPat R said...

The skirt looks great. Your camoflaged zipper is hard to make out at all. The skirt seems to be a paradox- it is classic, yet modern, refined, but sexy.
I like it with the lines of the Asian jacket. The bobbles compete too much with the teture to my eye.

Claudine said...

Wonderful! I LOVE the applique seam in the back. I am still planning on a lace dress or something, and I will go back and re-read your post before I start on that. You'll have such fun wearing it.

Alexzandra said...

This is so great, indeed very Prada. I love how you seamed the back too!

LauraLo said...

This is one of the most gorgeous things I've ever seen! Absolutely beautiful.

Gigi said...

A stunner! I'm awaiting some lace from Kashi for a Prada-inspired jacket so your post is very timely and helpful. I love your skirt so much that I think I need to make one for the holidays.

Els said...

Fantastic job you did to accomplish the lace into this beautiful skirt.
I prefer a longer length for the slip ending 1 inch above the skirt hemline.
Also agree with Marji’s comment on the top, a smooth silk or silk jersey fabric would be better to wear with this lace skirt.
You could try it with the olive rayon knit Jalie tee you already have.

Vicki W said...

Your new skirt is beautiful and ver flattering. thanks for sharing so many of the details!

Anonymous said...

Pure fabulousness! I like it best with Marfy.

Miriam said...

I agree with Rhonda in Montreal - you set the bar very high. Thanks so much for sharing your work processes so well. You do wonderful work and have an interesting, beautiful wardrobe to show for it. All of the accolades are well deserved!

cidell said...

I'm dying a little over here because I think this is so phenomenal!

Adriana B. said...

You did a stunning job! There is really not much else to say - it is simply gorgeous. YOu know, sewers avoid lace because it cam be tricky, yet, you tackled it and quite innovatively. I am thinking that this experience is worth writing an article about for a sewing magazine. I am serious, when was the last time you remember Threads or Sew Stylish publishing anything about lace?
As far as outfits - the lace skirt is a stand-out piece and is textured, therefore, you would want to have a neutral, not textured back-drop for it, such as the Marfy jacket. The Bobble sweater is beautiful on its own and BTW, textured sweaters are going to be very IN this winter.

Ms. Fine Fabrics said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! Now we'll have to say that Lianna inspired our lace projects this year, instead of Prada.

Summerset said...

Simply stunning! It turned out beautifully, of course with all that meticulous hand work, how could it not have? I love the way it coordinates with the jacket, too. The applied motifs add such another texture and dimension. Wonderful job.

Christina said...

What a beautiful skirt! Miuccia would approve. I hope you wear it often this season.

Daisy said...

The skirt is spectacular!

Ann's Fashion Studio said...

What a beautiful skirt. You did a fantastic job.

Mary Beth said...

Beautiful skirt. What a wonderful process and documentation and a very sexy outcome. The look on your face is exactly why I sew. Love that look, it's one every woman should have regularly. Does this mean that you're a lace lady?

Silky jersey for a top, if the question is still open.

Congrats Liana

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Well I knew it was going to be amazing from its inception but it is so breathtakingly beyond what I thought. I love how you thought everything out and made it work...amazing and beautiful work! You have inspired me to get my butt in gear and work on mine!

Lindsay T said...

Wow! This is so lovely... I love the dimensional quality to it. Now just be sure to stay away from anything with rough edges!

Vicki said...

Wow, what a treat! Love the foating motifs - gives the skirt an extra dimension. I like either jacket with the skirt but I think a thinner top underneath would be more flattering. Great work.

kbenco said...

I have really enjoyed reading about your progress with this skirt, and I love the beautiful finished garment. Thank you for all the wonderful details.

Mardel said...

I have been waiting to comment here until I read up on your details, rather than after my first peek, where I just looked at the photos and drooled. That is really very lovely and the workmanship is superb. I knew, when you decided to make a lace skirt, that it would be lovely, but you have really outdone yourself. This is fabulously beautiful! And it goes beautifully with the shoes too.

You are inspiring me as well.

Miss Linda said...

Your skirt is exquisite (of course)!! Congratulations! You are such an inspiration to me!

fabricluver (Susan) said...

I'm echoing everything above - it is just marvelous!
Susan

Barbara at Cat Fur Studio said...

I. Love. That. Skirt.

Just simply gorgeous!!

paco peralta said...

Liana .- a wonderful result for this skirt. the use of lace in this color results in a suit for everyday use. Congratulations, the set is splendid. greetings, Paco