The “Duchess Of Cambridge” Top

• The Facts: Duchess of Cambridge Top

⁃ Fabric:  Cotton Guipure Lace, Silk Organza, Cotton-Linen slub knit

⁃ Pattern:  Self-drafted

-Year: contemporary

⁃ Notions:  none

⁃ Time to complete:  ~4 hours

⁃ First worn:  June 6, 2012

⁃ Wear again?  Yes.

⁃ Total price:   $10/jersey + $4 silk organza + $8 guipure lace= $22

This guipure lace and I have a long history.  I first spotted it at a local fabric store priced at $110/m- I kid you not.  I wanted it very badly, but I don’t spend that kind of money on fabric.  Nevertheless, every time I went to that shop I stopped by to check on “my lace.”  Then one day they marked it down to $50/m- still out of my price range.  Then one day I dropped by during a 50% off sale and picked up a meter of this cotton lace for $25/m- still pricey, but not really by Australian standards.

But then once I had it, I didn’t know what to do with it.  It sat around for well over a year before I decided to make a yoked top- originally with a swiss-dot woven fabric for the blouse part.  I still hadn’t quite gotten up the guts to cut the guipure until this week when I decided to make a v-neck yoked top to echo the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress.  My lace is a little less lacy and my neckline isn’t as steep since this is a top for repeated wearing.  I don’t want to tumble out of it.

I used my Blank Canvas Tee as a base and drew the rough outline of the v-neck and yoke section right on the pattern.  I overlapped the front and back yoke sections to eliminate the shoulder seam- I can’t have that on the guipure.  Right before I started to cut, I decided to use some cotton-linen slub knit I had lying around instead of the swiss dot.  I figured the swiss dot would easily look either frumpy or like a 5-year-old going to Easter Sunday so I nixed it.   I sewed the jersey side seams, finished the top edges with my usual knit binding method, then hemmed the lower sleeve section.  Then using silk organza, I cut two yokes and sewed them together around the outside edges and turned it to conceal all the raw edges.  Then I lapped the knit over the organza and stitched it down for a very stable and secure (though kind of fugly) base shirt.

I cut the yoke piece from the guipure, taking care to cut between the lace motif pieces.  The edges of the yoke are either pointy picot or scalloped circles, the lace won’t fray.  But it’s very soft and drapey, which is why I needed the organza underlayer.  Once I cut the guipure and pinned it over the silk organza (which takes much less time to write than to do), I stitched the lace to the yoke using tiny slip stitches.  I was especially vigilant around the neck, arm and yoke edges but I did make a few lines of loose basting through the middle of the guipure.  It’s important to note that the woven fabric edges were longer than the knit edges at the yoke seam.  I stretched the knit to accommodate the woven, then it pulled the woven “in.”  This means the woven sections don’t restrict movement on the knit sections.

I think the back yoke looks a little too “square”- but I’ll leave it for now.  The guipure won’t stand up to machine washing (I assume) and will probably look tatty after a few wears and hand-washing but I don’t mind.  I have enough guipure for two more yokes, and it didn’t take too long to stitch it on.  The base shirt is pretty stable and unlikely to fall apart any time soon.

I like her with my Pinkie Pants, as well.  This isn’t “running errands and going to the kiddie park” casual, but I think something like this would work for shopping, lunches, casual meetings- “dressy” casual.  Perhaps with a blazer.  I’m pleased I finally cut into the guipure, and that it made such a fun new garment.

Author

StephC

Stephanie mothers, writes, and teaches sewing in Brisbane, Australia. She blogs about sewing, drafting, vintage style and sustainability at 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World.

23 Comments

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  1. That is really pretty. I am a sucker for lace with circles in it! Glad you didn’t have to pay full price too.

  2. Nice job with the lace. Patience definitely paid off! And, thanks for sharing your tips and tricks on binding knits. :)

    • Thanks, Adri. I’ve been on something of a hand-sewing kick lately, it just really makes me happy… I’m pleased the knit tips were useful to you. :)

  3. Very pretty! I love the way you’ve used the lace – nice and effective. :-)

  4. Looks stunning Steph, a great silhouette for you. I bet it feels great on.

  5. It’s positively lovely! I love how you’ve used the lace – it’s perfect on this top!

  6. I love this top Stepahnie, it’s really beautiful and uniquely modern feel, which is a nice twist on most lace tops. I wonder if you hit the edges with no frizz clear if it might lengthen the longevity of the shirt or even better make the lace part removable. Oh, you got me thinking now.

    • oh stop it! I’m blushing. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to use a little Fray Check stuff! Ha! The edges of the lace are pretty well bound in, but I think every little bit would help. Thanks for that!

  7. Love this! I’m all about inspired creation and everyday wearable in the same garment. Love the shape and cut of the shirt. It’s very flattering on you. Cute!

  8. Fab job waiting for the bargain! I love your interpretation of her gown. Very well done.

  9. Oh, gorgeous. Great idea, suits you, love it…. And good on you for getting the guipure at a great price!

  10. great story – glad you got your lace in the end and made such a great job of using it

  11. What a great, wearable interpretation of the wedding dress. I just love that lace!

  12. Yay for finally getting to use that lace, and a lovely re-interpretation of the wedding dress.

  13. That’s so great. I didn’t think anyone would take on her wedding dress. I would totally love a shirt like that one though.

  14. So pretty! What a great way to show off that wonderful lace.

  15. Great top. I was certainly surprised to see guipure lace and slub knit jersey feature in the same garment! Inspired.