The Lace Conundrum

The lace in question

A while back, I posted a teaser comment on Carolyn’s blog saying I had a question for her about lace. And then I got distracted. But finally, here it is, and I’d love to hear opinions from all of you—I singled Carolyn out merely because, as we all know, she’s the queen of using lace without it looking frilly or juvenile.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with lace. I am not (certain evidence to the contrary) the frilliest person in the world. And while I like the idea of lace (I am, after all, a sucker for texture and lace is pretty much texture distilled), I often am underwhelmed by the actual trims and fabrics available.

That being said, when I found this 4-way stretch (or is it 2-way stretch? Can someone with an industry background school me in the correct usage?) lace in the bargain bin at the Fabricland in my hometown at new years, I had to snaffle it up. (I think it was $1.50/m). The colours are perfect, it’s got the depth of texture I love—I love everything about it. I scooped up everything that was left on the bolt, just under 3m, although it’s only about 90cm (41″) wide. And now that spring is edging around the corner (it’s supposed to actually rain!), I’m itching to use it.

I just don’t know for what.

It’s got that great scalloped edge along both sides, which clamours to be worked into the hem of a skirt, but I don’t do dirndls particularly well. I’ve thought of a form-skimming t-shirt dress, sort of like this one Carolyn made her daughter. But is this really the best use of the lovely drape this has?

Help me out, people! What would you do with this?

UPDATE: WTF, it’s snowing again?!?



Filed under Sewing

29 responses to “The Lace Conundrum

  1. what would i do with it? HACK INTO IT GRINNING ALL THE WAY!!! it was a buck fifty a yard, girl!

    stretch lace is soooo much fun to work with. i’m going to attempt a link: my was made from yards of the stuff. i think doing something unexpected with it is best– the tshirt dress sounds fabulous– especially if you can incorporate that edging. lace is so often used as a trim, i think it takes all frilliness away when you use it as the main fabric of an everyday garment. totally your rocker style.

    i think 4 way stretch means it can stretch lengthwise & widthwise?

  2. oh i’m so sad… i left a lengthy reply with links and all, and it got ET.

    the jist of it was, cut into that gorgeousness & make that tshirt dress!

  3. My first thought was some sort of steampunkish skirt contraption, mixed in with a twill-like material. I’m off for photos – I think I saw just the thing recently. It’ll come back to me soon – but structure from the heavier material and texture from the lace. TOTALLY wearable every day, right?

  4. I’m inclined to go with “t-shirt dress” too… not quite as fitted as a sheath dress, so the drape shows, but still pretty form-fitting. Using the scallops for the hems of course (which works out great since it has, uh, multiple stretch… I’m pretty sure “2-way stretch” and “4-way stretch” are actually the same thing, which I think is totally confusing).

    • Yeah, I know… I’ve run into it both ways, people who say “one way or two way stretch” vs. people who say “two way vs. four way stretch” depending on whether it stretches only in the crossgrain or lengthwise as well. Confusing!

  5. OK! I found the picture I was thinking of – from a style blog, of course, now I remember that I don’t know how to do links on WordPress comments!

    The photo that came to mind immediately was this picture – I’m a sucker for those bondage-slash-cargo style skirts – and I was thinking the lace for the flippy part underneath. Of course you have WAY more than you’d need for this skirt, and it wouldn’t take advantage of the stretchy, stretch (Link from Inside out Style –

    But, while I was searching for that photo I found this skirt, which I thought was also a cool design and would use the stretch a bit more –

    Sorry I’m acting like my mom, unable to do links 🙂 Since I can’t preview I can’t test. Also, I haven’t finished my morning coffee yet…

  6. I vote the T-Shirt dress. I love fabric that can stand on it’s own, via texture or color. I have to say, if I was picking out lace for you, this has your name written all over it.

  7. It’s gorgeous! I’ve never actually used lace (except for trims and even that is limited). A lovely top would be just the ticket for Spring, and where it has stretch it could even be fitted. I’ve seen many laces used as overlays over a different colored fabric that I’ve always found attractive as well. You could do that here with maybe like a dark champagne color. Maybe even just an entire dress! Oh what fun!

  8. I really like the second link that Patty left!

    I also think that you would completely rock:

  9. Methinks tunic/t-shirt dress but the draped skirts look really lovely, too…

  10. Since you can totally rock that high-waisted 70’s dress, that’s what i envisioned first. Scallop edging on the bottom of a flared 4-gore or more skirt, and on the edge of a deep crossover V-neck that might have some pleats from underbust to outside. Long tight sleeves. You could draft that right?

    Then I looked at Oonabaloona’s dress and that was pretty inspiring too.

  11. Lucy

    Interesting fabric = simple style to show it off.

    So I’m another advocate for the t-shirt dress. Hell, you’ve got the figure to show it off!

  12. Oooo! I’m not good on helping here. I recently bought about 10 yards of red stretch lace for 1$ a yard (clearance!) and made one rather dismal attempt at a skirt and that was that.

    And my secret plan for designing a dress involves some 100 year old chemical lace and 6 yards of peach colored vintage silk my Mom gave me.

  13. Does this fabric work at all with your blue spring skirt? Could you do some type of drapey skirt, (whatever style you choose), and a t-shirt top that would give the effect of a dress, but the pieces could be mix-n-matched with other items in your wardrobe? (use the finished edge for skirt, t-shirt & sleeve hems.
    I like the idea of juxtaposition of lace w/ denim, including your cropped jean jacket. (But this does make me realize that my personal bias is that I am probably more of a ‘separates’ person, than a dress person. I think I have only 2 dresses at the moment, both black, one for winter, with long sleeves, and one for summer, sleeveless, for those rare events where one needs to look seriously grown-up.)

  14. Joy

    I was thinking sheath dress at first – I’m remembering a Burda magazine lace sheath from a past issue. But a skirt would be more versatile – fun to pair with different tops.

    Hmmm… I don’t think I’ve even used lace as a trim.

  15. oooooh! Super pretty! I think that would make a lovely spring-y type dress. Something soft and flowy…. 🙂 I also think it would make the cutest top, with cap sleeves and a kind of square neckline? If I wanted to make it really complicated (I usually don’t ;)) I would make it a lace-up the front with a modesty piece behind it in a cream or matching pale blue….

    Yeah, I’m pretty much jealous of your lace. 😉

  16. I concur– t shirt dress. Though I like the idea of making it in two pieces so you could mix and match also.

  17. frifris

    Same opinion here – very simple, as in the t-shirt dress. And, as lizajane mentioned – I would make it a two- piece set (looking like a dress). The t-shirt top would look good together with jeans, I think.

  18. tshirt dress with maybe an unexpected detail or two thrown in like a square neckline &/ a hood…
    also like Sigrid’s suggestion 🙂

  19. oooh, such a lovely lace. I’d go with a top or tunic. I’m thinking something like Jalie 2910 would allow you to maximize all that lovely scalloped edging.


  20. I have no real suggestions myself as I’m always drawn to – but stymied by – lace. I found this lovely brown lace fabric with a bit of stretch once at Fabricland, and while I loved it (to death), I just couldn’t imagine what I’d do with it. Of course, now I’d probably want to make some basic t-shirt with it, but I don’t think that would do your fabric justice. It’s very pretty though, and I can’t wait to see what you come up with. 🙂

  21. Put it back in the discount bin.

  22. Amy

    Oh lordy, both Oona’s and Carolyn’s dresses are gorgeous… now rethinking lace too. I like either a low neckline with some kind of toothy necklace or perhaps a bustier underneath suspenders. I’ve been hunting for strapless-type tops a lot lately as I’m sick of tank tops and spaghetti straps, which is like the live-in uniform here 6 months of the year. Bustiers look fun with everything ordinary.

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