Inside Couture - Guipure Lace Suit

I came across this lovely Guipure lace suit the other day.  I’d made it some time ago for a private client and she was kind enough to give it back to me once she’d worn it a few times and retired it from her wardrobe. It’s a lovely teaching sample - and it’s always fun to revisit something that I enjoyed making.

Guipure’s generally a heavy lace, so it needs a bit of special attention.  And it’s impossible, clearly, to make bound buttonholes (or even machine buttonholes) successfully–so fabric loops are a good option.  That’s what I did here, paired with custom-covered buttons.

The lining was sewn in by hand, and understitched by hand as well - there’s a row of small prick stitches just below the edge of the lining, to hold everything in place.  They go through every layer except the outermost - which, in this case, would be the lining, the underlining, and their seam allowances.

Here’s a closer look at the center front, with its bias-cut fabric loops and button...

...and here’s the bottom of the sleeve(the seam was left open at the bottom, with two buttons mimicking cufflinks)...

As I mentioned, the fabric was heavy, and I didn’t want it to collapse at the peplum (which is, after all, the main design feature of the jacket).  I fused it, which supported it perfectly.

And if you look closely, you’ll see internal rows of white thread - they’re basting stitches to hold the fabric to the underlining.  Without them, the lace can droop, distort, and pull away from the under layers.

Here’s the peplum, nicely flared, thanks to the underlayer of cotton batiste and the layer of fusible.

There was a matching skirt - no fusing needed here, but as with the jacket, there are horizontal rows of tacking to keep the lace in place.  And the waistband, sensibly, is just plain silk charmeuse.  Clearly, a guipure waistband wouldn’t be a good option.