Lace is pretty, but scary. I think I've only sewn with it once before, and it was a cheap piece I found at the local Salvos, only costing $5 for 4 metres of it. It also seems less versatile, so while I could find something to do with a printed cotton, finding something for lace is harder. But when I saw this remnant piece at a local fabric store, My Hung Fabrics, I couldn't go past it. It was $15 for the 40cm piece, so that was an amazing bargain I had to get.
I knew pretty much immediately I was going to make a top with it. The lace is 90cm wide, so it's about the same as the circumference around my shoulders. All I needed to do was stitch the sides together to make a tube, stitch it on either side of the cut edge of the tube so that it left enough room to put it over my head, and clip out around some of the flowers on either side to form the armscye/cap sleeves. So easy on paper. And it was actually surprisingly easy to do, although a bit terrifying to cut in to.
The shape of the top is very basic and simple, given it is just a tube with arm holes, but the simplicity means it drapes really well. It's comfortable and unfussy, but looks really nice. The bottom edge of the top, which would have been the bolt end of the fabric, is uneven as the flowers fall to different places. I did remove one flower from the bottom which was much lower than the others, but left all the others as they were.
One thing I like about hand sewing is that it lets you be so exact. It takes longer, and you have to force yourself to be patient, but you can stitch everything completely hidden. I had a thread that was almost the same colour as the lace to use for this top, and now I can barely find where I stitched the sides together. Machine stitching doesn't let you do that, especially not with a fancy delicate fabric. The neckline is probably where you can most easily found where I've sewn it together, because I had to add in a couple of extra flowers and leaves where the fabric had been cut through. I removed the flowers and leaves that had been cut in half, and added in pieces I'd cut out for the front neckline.
As the whole top is hand sewn, I spent a lot of time watching Netflix while making it (like an excuse is needed to watch Netflix!). I managed to watch the entirely of The Thick of It, which makes a kind of weird juxtaposition. Sweary Malcolm Tucker and fancy fancy lace, probably not a normal combination.
When I bought this lace, the woman at the fabric store told me it was an amazing bargain because Guipure lace normally goes for $100+. So after I finished this top on Saturday night I had a bit of a look online at other Guipure lace, out of interest at its price and because I enjoyed working with it. The few examples on My Hung Fabric's website start at $120. Tessuti fabrics has one that looks pretty much identical except for the colour which is $253 a metre!. That gave me a slight heart attack to see. Honestly, I think if I'd seen that before I started making the top I never would have dared touch the fabric.
But I'm glad I did buy this fabric and make this top, because it's gorgeous. And the fabric is just another reminder that remnant bins are THE BEST PLACE to find fabrics you'd otherwise be too scared to buy.