The Lace Tee (+ Tips & Tricks for sewing yours!)
About a month ago, I blogged a list of my favorite lace garments (complete with fabric and pattern suggestions to make them!). I even scratched my “must-sew-something-with-lace” itch with an off-shoulder lace top. But I just couldn’t get the idea of a plum medallion lace tee shirt out of my head.
This was *not* your grandma’s curtain lace. It was bold, fresh, and modern in it’s geometric design. Perfect for a transitional lace garment – one that could be dressed up over a maxi dress for a more formal occasion, or dressed down with some boyfriend jeans for a weekend outing with friends.
Ultimately I decided this was a “have to have it!” project. I just needed to find the right pattern! I had to consider the strengths and limitations of my fabric carefully:
- This is a heavier lace, too thick for adding closures like plackets or zippers. I’ll need a design I can pull over my head.
- I hangs beautifully! But will need the assistance of darts to shape the garment nicely around curves.
- The “hems” of my garment need to align with the bottom of my lace design. Which means they’ll have to be flat. (No curved or hi-lo hems)
- This lace will need to have all seams bound. I should look for a pattern with as few of them as possible.
I settled on the Named Clothing Lexi A-Line top.
It hits most every pattern requirement – except that the dart it’s designed with would interrupt that “flat hemline” I know I need! No problem, rotating a dart from hem to side seam is as easy as 1… 2… 3!
Now when you’re working with fabric as nice as this (and honestly, even when you’re not), you make sure to confirm fit with a muslin first. Which I did… twice. (What do you mean, “stalling??”) Determined I needed a super simple length adjustment to the sleeve, and worked up the courage to cut into the real deal.
I wouldn’t dare leave you agonizing over how a $18/yard experiment worked out, so I’ll take a brief detour to ensure you that all did, in fact, turn out:
…and I owe the success to a lot of careful planning.
For instance, I knew you’d be able to see the seams from the outside of the garment. so I bound them all (just like I did with my sweater knit project!) in coordinating netting, using coordinating thread. This cut down on the bulk, and secured the raw edges so they wouldn’t unravel with wash/wear.
I also made sure to cut carefully, lining up the hems of my front and back bodice so that I could preserve the beautiful shape of my lace design across the bottom of the entire garment:
Lastly, I used my “sewing secret weapon” – water soluble stabilizer – to mark tricky seams (like my bust points and preserving the neckline shape), and strips of it were used under each seam to keep my machine from pulling the heavy lace through the needle plate and gobbling up it’s beauty:
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Time for a quick, *gentle* run through the wash! Those are strips of water soluble stabilizer I used to prevent lace from being sucked into the bobbin case, and also to mark my bust darts. All seams are bound with matching strips of netting. I can't believe I pulled this off!! Now if only I had a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans to wear with it. @kglee01 wanna send me yours!? 😉
I’m extraordinarily happy with how this project turned out! I’ve already worn it dressed up to a bridal shower, and dressed down (seen here) for a casual date night with the hubs:
It’s completely worth all the extra planning, all the extra steps, and every penny I paid for a lace fabric of this quality.
Until next time!! XOXO, Becca