Lace, Uncategorized

More Lace Seams

I’ve been doing loads of work on laces recently. Here is the latest project: a navy cotton velveteen dress with the upper bodice and sleeves made in a soutache re-embroidered lace.


Front and back views. An invisible zip closes the skirt and tiny self covered buttons with looping close the lace at center back. The bows snap on, concealing the zip stop and finishing the back neckline.

This project was a virtual sampler of lace seaming methods and edge finishes.

The neck edge is bound with a bias strip of velveteen.

The center back lace edges are turned under and finished with a narrow strip of lengthwise silk organza to prevent stretching. Here is the wrong side showing bias binding and organza edge with elastic button looping.

The sleeves were cut with the scalloped lace edge as the hem. This lace was fairly stiff and the soutache cording added thickness. I used a plain seam to close the underarm sleeve seam, trimmed the seams to 1/2 inch width and bound with silk tulle. Loads of steam and a tailors clapper were necessary to get this seam flat.
The armseye seam was trimmed, bound with silk tulle, and pressed towards the sleeve.
This lace was designed so that edging could be cut without cutting through any soutache cording. The cording frayed badly, so cutting through it and leaving it exposed wasn’t an option. The lace edging was hand appliqued along the seam joining the bodice and skirt.
Sewing by hand with tiny applique stitches leaves no trace of the join.
Another view of the lace.
Also, I overlapped the shoulder seams and cut the lace front and back as one piece to eliminate a shoulder seam which would have detracted from the lace pattern. Loads of options for lace seams. Every lace is different and may require multiple techniques to produce the look you want.

31 thoughts on “More Lace Seams”

  1. This is beautiful work, as ever. I love that this is navy rather than black – somehow it makes the lace really sing out. I am convinced now of the need for some silk tulle in my supplies. Mary – what is the difference between velvet and velveteen please?

    1. Velveteen is usually on a cotton base but I’ve seen it also in rayon. It tends to be a little more stable than velvet. Velvets are usually silk/ silk and rayon and are more fluid and drapey than velveteen. I do hope you will try some silk tulle. I find it an almost magic fabric and wonderful for many applications. It’s expensive but I save every scrap.

  2. Lovely lace dress! I love the design of the lace, too! How does the bodice fall when worn? I find some mixed material dresses tend to do a push/pull and leaves unsightly fit.

  3. Absolutely gorgeous! Love the navy (rather than black). Thanks for sharing all those details, what a great technique you used for the shoulders. And please, what is a tailor’s clapper?

    1. Thank you. A tailors clapper is a block of hard wood, usually white oak. You steam the seam and put the clapper down over the seam as soon as you remove the iron. That captures the steam and forces the fibers to lay flat. Leave the clapper in place until the seam is cold and you will have beautifully pressed flat seams (or other detail). Don’t use a soft wood such as pine as the sap will come out and damage your project. Tailors clappers are getting harder to find and some of the ones sold are quite small. Mine is about 3 x 12 inches and 2 inches thick.

  4. I am glad I saw this articletoday. I am planning to make a lace dress for my mother since she will celebrate her 60th birthday soon! Any tips if lace is used for bigger ladies? 🙂

    1. I’ve created quite a few lace things for my mother-in-law, who isn’t the smallest person in the world. My suggestions: use a soft lace such as chantilly or a softly draping guipure. She doesn’t need added volume. Fine tune the fit. A larger lady always looks better, and slimmer, if the fit is perfect. Choose a design which will skim over her larger parts. Feel free to contact me with design or fabric concerns and I’ll do my best to help. Good luck.

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