We're pleased to share another fantastic lace make with you, this time from our lovely guest blogger Jane of Handmade Jane. Take a look at her lace skirt below - we love the contrasting lining!

  GBSB Lace Challenge


Just as the Great British Sewing Bee seems to have evolved as a TV series (more challenging tasks, contestants working with a variety of different fabrics and techniques etc), so too does the accompanying book. I reviewed the book for the first series here and was mostly positive about it, my main criticism being the lack of patterns included. I was recently asked to review the book for the current series -Fashion with Fabric - and wow, what a difference a couple of years makes!

The focus this time is on the fabrics used, which makes for a surprisingly interesting read. The book is split into four main chapters based on the most widely used and popular fabrics: cotton, wool and other animal fabrics, stretch fabrics and luxury fabrics. Of the patterns themselves, there are several that I'll probably try out at some point......

I've been keeping one pattern up my sleeve  - the lace pencil skirt - as it's one I've already made!


I kept coming back to it in the book and in the end just decided to give it a try with some leftover lace from my lace top. For the underskirt I used a sea-green lining fabric previously used to line the sleeves of my boiled wool coat, so all in all, a good stash busting exercise! The skirt is a simple, elegant shape with no front darts, an invisible zip and a facing. I only ever intended it to be a practice run to test out the pattern, but I think the finished version is totally wearable. I also made it before this week's episode of the GBSB and let me tell you, I could NEVER have finished it in 3 hours or however long they were given. Hats off to the semi finalists!

Using the finished measurements as a guide, I made a size 10 with no adjustments, and the fit is spot on. The two skirt layers are made up separately, but attached around the zip as a single layer. They're then treated as two separate fabrics below the zip. It's a brilliant technique which I'll definitely use again. I also used hairline seams for the first time, where the seam is stitched, narrowly zigzagged and then trimmed. A hairline seam is a good choice for sheer fabrics and it worked well for my lace overskirt, creating a very light finish.

I'm amazed by the number of excellent tips and techniques I've picked up from reading this book - I learnt two new ones just from making a simple skirt! I'll keep you updated with anything else I make from it, but so far, it's shaping up to be one of my favourite sewing books to date.

'Fashion for Fabric' was given to me free of charge for review by Quadrille Publishing. All views my own.