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.