Thanks for joining us for week two of the Kaylee Tunic Sew Along! Last week, we discussed fabric selection, and this week, we’re covering lace trims. There’s still time to join us – grab the pattern, grab your supplies and sew up the perfect fall tunic!
Hey Everyone! It’s Kay Whitt again! Today is my second post for the Kaylee Tunic Sew Along, and I’ll be talking about working with lace fabrics and trims.
I have always had a love for lace. It is so feminine and can bring such a lovely texture to any project you are working on. One of my favorite things about it is the variety. One piece can be delicate while the next can be bold and chunky. Unless you are tatting, crocheting, or knitting your own lace (and if you are, good on you!), most of the time what we buy is machine made. This means that we can count on consistency of pattern, stability, and availability of yardage to complete a project.
Sometimes handmade vintage lace can be repurposed if you are lucky enough to find some. Keep your eye out at estate sales, garage sales, and thrift shops as you never know where lace might be lurking! You might even get lucky to find it at a bargain. If you do find vintage lace, it is a good idea to gently hand wash it with a product like Soak and let it air dry. This will help remove any stains and freshen it a bit before using it.
Lace can be made from a variety of fibers. Most old lace will be cotton. New lace may be cotton or some type of synthetic fiber such as nylon or other form of polyester. For this reason, it is always a good idea to test a scrap piece with your iron. It is advisable to start with a low heat setting and see what the fibers will tolerate. While cotton can withstand a hot iron, lace made with a synthetic fiber may melt. It may even be necessary to use a pressing cloth between the iron and lace to give it additional protection.
Lace is also found in a variety of widths. You may be working with a trim or actual yardage. If you find a wide trim that you would like to use but it isn’t wide enough to do what you want, consider laying it side by side with the edges beside one another and use a narrow zigzag stitch with your machine to piece the widths together. I found myself doing this very thing when working on the yoke for the white gauze variation for the Kaylee Tunic, as pictured below.
The lace used for the yoke was a wide cotton trim. I loved the pattern in the lace and figured that I could piece it together in this manner. It worked perfectly because the edges of the lace on both sides was straight, making the piecing process a breeze! The lace that was added to the sleeves and lower portion of the shirt was actual yardage that I cut narrow strips from and incorporated into those pieces.
When working with lace as an element of the garment such as a yoke, it is very important to staystitch all of the edges to ensure that no warping or distortion occurs during construction, wear, or washing. For the yokes in the Kaylee tunic, I secured the edges as soon as the pieces had been cut from the lace.
To finish the neckline, these two samples had a narrow bias finish with cotton that blended well with the color of the lace. The trims were first sewn to the outside of the yoke and then turned to the wrong side and stitched to keep their appearance to a minimum.
You can alternately line the yokes with organza or another type of sheer fabric if you do not wish to have any sort of trim at the neckline. Simply cut one set of yokes from lace and the coordinating lining, then stitch the front and back yokes together at the shoulders. Trim down the seams and press them open. Add the lining yoke to the lace one right sides together at the neckline, stitch, then trim the seam, clip curves, and turn right side out. Press carefully, then pin all the remaining raw edges together and stitch them 1/4” from the edge.
Sometimes you will find a lace that is pre-gathered onto a band. In this case, make a decision on whether the band is decorative or functional in nature. If it is functional (meaning not pretty!), it needs to be included in a seam so that it will not show in the finished project. If the band is decorative, the lace trim can be applied after the seam is sewn. I would recommend that if you are adding lace to a hem ruffle or sleeve, add it on top of the seam while the garment pieces are still flat so that the raw edges can be included in a sleeve seam or side seam for a neat finish. Otherwise, the two ends of the lace can be joined in a French seam if you wish to have the lace layer be independent of the fabric beneath it. Note in the sample above how lace was added to the sleeves and lower ruffle. For this variation, the lace layer was treated as its own layer with French seams to join its layer at the sleeve seam and side seams of the skirt for a neat finish.
Lace can also be added to the hemline, such as this eyelet lace on the Naomi Dress. For this particular sample, I added the lace to the lower edges of both layers of the skirt, right sides together and then serged the seam for a neat finish. The lace was opened out away from the skirt portion and pressed, then edgestitched for a decorative finish.
From delicate to chunky, cotton to synthetic, lace has so many looks and so much to offer! There really is something for every taste. Don’t be afraid to incorporate it into your next project. With a bit of care during construction, you can bring a whole new level of texture to your sewing!