Gabriola Skirt Inspiration: Kate Middleton’s Lace Dress

Sometimes you find inspiration in the most unlikely places. In this case, a free issue of ‘Hello!’ Magazine that I got in the mail. I was flipping through it while eating breakfast, to have a look through before putting it in the recycle bin, and saw this!

kate middleton lace dress

Look! The lower half of Kate’s dress is pretty close to the seaming of the Gabriola Skirt pattern.

gabriola skirt seaming

I wouldn’t have thought of sewing the Gabriola skirt in lace, but why not? A lace maxi skirt would be pretty gorgeous, and luxurious, and from this photo of Kate I know that black over ivory would look amazing.

To get this look, I’d find a similar black lace and a creamy peach or ivory fabric to go underneath. A lightweight viscose fabric, rayon challis, or even a polyester crepe would work. You want it to have plenty of drape, so that it clings while the lace stands away from the body.

kate middleton's lace dress

Look how the lace skirt stands away from her legs, while the inner layer fits closer to her body. This is a key part of the look, but I think you could achieve this effect simply by choosing a fabric with drape for the inner layer. No need to cut the inside skirt smaller unless you wanted to. You’d want to sew each layer separately, rather than treating the inner layer as underlining.

And of course, that scalloped hemline! This is a bit tricky if you haven’t made this skirt before, as you can’t hem it after it’s sewn. You have to cut right on the scalloped edge as your finished edge, with no hem allowance. (Check out this old post here on cutting scalloped-edge lace.) It looks like the lace is at least 4″ (10cm) longer than the inner layer, so you get that dramatic floor-sweeping effect.

Other thoughts on re-creating Kate’s look:

  • If your lace doesn’t have a scalloped edge, you could cut along the floral shapes to create your own shaped edge. Test this on a scrap piece to see if you like the effect first.
  • For the seams, French seams would be a good option. Or, bind the seam allowances with black seam binding or bias tape. Or sew thin black ribbon along the outside of the seams.
  • The Gabriola Skirt has more seamlines than Kate’s dress, so to get even closer to the look, combine the top yoke pieces with the angled yoke pieces and remove the seam.
  • I love outfits with a mix of dressy and casual, wouldn’t this be gorgeous with a denim shirt? A simple black tee shirt? A bright-coloured V-neck sweater?
  • I’d personally cut a solid black waistband, just like her dress. Add a simple black tank or blouse and you’re good to go!

The more I plan this out, the more I want to try it myself!

Do you do this too: see something in a magazine or photo that you like, and break it down for a sewing project? I do it all the time! In my head I’m thinking add a seamline there, line it with this sort of fabric, use this similar pattern I own, whenever I see a garment I like.

If you try making a lace Gabriola Skirt just like Kate Middleton’s, I’d love to see it! (And I promise to show you if I do too!)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! The Gabriola Sew-Along starts on Monday, where Caroline will be taking you through the making of this skirt. Hope to see you there!

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14 Responses to Gabriola Skirt Inspiration: Kate Middleton’s Lace Dress

  1. Suzie March 13, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    Oh wow, I really love this idea, and such a perfect match! A black lace maxi skirt would be so gorgeous. Or you combine the Gabriola skirt pattern with a bodice pattern and make her whole dress.

    Yes, I do that all the time too Tasia – I’m always disecting looks and thinking about how you could recreate them in the sewing room! And I often ask friends if I can look at thier clothes more carefully as I’m always interested to see how things are put together!

    • Suzie March 13, 2014 at 6:38 am #

      PS – white lace would equal mega gorgeous Wedding dress!!!!

  2. Nessa March 13, 2014 at 6:37 am #

    Very flattering design lines aren’t they?! The Duchess’ lovely gown was a custom made dress by designer Alice Temperly of Temperly London.

  3. Amy March 13, 2014 at 6:41 am #

    You make me want to ditch work and head to my sewing room! So many great ideas!!!!

  4. Claudia March 13, 2014 at 6:56 am #

    Isn’t that one of the great things about sewing, that you can try to copy stuff from magazines and fashion designers? Last fall, I saw an outift in InStyle I really loved, a winter-white midi skirt with a beige chunky cable sweater. The skirt was from Zara and sold out, of course. The sweater was from Bally, pure cashmere, and cost USD 2500 (seriously). I bought a yard of white wool fabric and a pound of baby camel wool and copied the whole outfit for under USD 150. I’m getting compliments for it all the time.

    I’ll definitely join the Gabriola sew-along! I happen to have 4 yards of crepe de chine with superbold 4′ stripes in my stash that would look really hideous on any other garment but might just work for the Gabriola. Still very unsure how to cut the pieces, though.

  5. Becky March 13, 2014 at 7:02 am #

    Tempting…I have multiple yards of lace leftover from my wedding dress, and I’ve been trying to figure out what on earth to do with it! I’ll have to see exactly how much I have left.

  6. Julie Culshaw March 13, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    I think the inner skirt is much less full than the lace layer. A simple A-line or gored underlayer would work and take much less fabric.

    • doortje March 20, 2014 at 1:11 am #

      Actually, there are a lot of pics on the net which show how full both layers are. Just take a look at pictures where she is walking. The inner layer is made of heavier fabric, that’s why it drapes differently. But your idea is still great if you want to save on the fabric!

  7. Jessica w March 13, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Love this!!

  8. Lucy March 13, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    Heh…I’m in the process of knocking off my very own version of the Erdem one she wore off the plane in Canada to wear to a wedding in May. The body is based on a RTW dress I already own, but I’m using the Renfrew sleeve and armscye because I don’t like the fit on the original.

    I love just about everything she wears, just not the price tags ;-) I can’t believe she can pull off flowy black lace without looking goth.

  9. Turina March 13, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    Great spotting. Love this, already planning my own version!

  10. Kat March 13, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    That would look fabulous! That instantly reminds me of this anthro skirt I was going to figure out how to draft…it’s pretty close too but uses different kinds of lace…pretty !

  11. Laura March 14, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    I had thought of doing this pattern in lace, but I worried that it would be too heavy. Now I can see that it could work! Yay!

  12. Aussiegirl March 16, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    I’m feeling Kate’s underskirt is much less full than the Gabriola skirt – maybe even a super simple bias cut, fairly straight, underskirt would work with the Gabriola in all its lacey glory on top…stealing the show, of course! :)