Lace: Invisible Seams


You’ve now all likely seen my finished skirt, so you might be asking yourself why I’m still clambering on about sewing with lace.  Well, like I said back at the beginning of the month, I set myself the goal this month of posting snippets of the techniques I used while working with lace that I knew wouldn’t make it into the finished garment post in much detail.  This week I want to write a bit about making seams in lace.

While you can sew seams in lace just like you would with any fabric, lace also gives you the option of making invisible seams.  The technique is actually much like the one for making invisible darts.  I first found the technique in the copy of the Singer Sewing Book that I inherited from my Grandma.

Lace Applique

All-over lace garments and deep lace joined to fabric should be appliqued at joinings and seams. Pin one edge to paper.  Lay overlapping edge in place, matching design as well as possible and pin a couple of inches from edge.  Carefully trim around edge of motifs to gain desired line.  Baste near edge of lace, following cut outline. Use Zigzagger to apply…

Apply all-over lace to fabric in same way by laying scalloped or cut lace edge over material, pinning, basting, and finishing as described above.  Remove paper when seam is finished.  Trim under edge to 1/4″ of seamline.

By Hand. Using thread suitable for weight of the lace, whip around cut edge…  If lace has heavy cord around motifs, imitate this along edge by laying cord and overcasting it.

When I was making my side seams, I didn’t use paper or cord.  Also, because my motif is pretty busy, I didn’t worry with any design matching.  After pinning both sides of a side seam a few inches from the seam, I just trimmed around the edge of the most pleasing motifs.  When I had a nice motif, I pinned it on top of the joining seam.  Sometimes I’d use a motif from the front, sometimes from the back.  Once I had the whole side seam finished, I then basted it in place.  Finally, I whip stitched the cut edges by hand.

Easy peasy.

11 thoughts on “Lace: Invisible Seams

  1. The color choices are stunning (and very “now” in Rio for the Bonus!) and the fit is perfect! I have never sewn with lace so this is really helpful. I can’t wait to see what you do next!

    1. I actually bought this lace thinking I could do an orange-on-orange save of those jeans. But, it just didn’t work. The two oranges seemed to clash – if that’s possible! So, when I was looking for fabrics for this challenge, I thought of your suggestion for teal lace on my orange jeans. I kept coming back to the combo after trying other colors with this particular lace. In the end, it won out!

  2. Hmm. I will have to look in my copy of the Singer Sewing Book too now. I tend to avoid leafing through it too much as it is starting to fall apart. How old is your copy? I love the illustrations in it.

    I have tried sewing lace with the zigzagger a few times. It isn’t too awful, but is a bit fiddly as it can catch on the lace if you are not careful. I’ve been mostly playing with the imitation hemstitcher this weekend, trying to get that working for me after I saw a lot of Summery things appearing in the shops with faggotting. I usually do this by hand (there is a faggoter, but they are rare and tend to cost a small fortune), but thought that faux hemstitching would look really cool. Have you tried it? I don’t know of a modern equivalent, but the old attachments I have fit on my sister’s modern Singer.

    1. Looks like my copy of the Singer Sewing Book doesn’t cover it. It only talks about lace appliqué, and then only very briefly. I guess it is too old.

      Interestingly, it does not agree with pressing darts sideways, as BurdaStyle pattern instructions tell you to. Instead you’re supposed to slash them open (almost but not all the way down), press flat and then whip stitch them down. I doubt it makes much difference unless your fabric is thin or the garment tight fitting. Time to experiment ..

  3. I’ve played around a bit now. Looks like you do need paper if you’re using the vintage zigzagger. Otherwise the lace gets caught and does not move back and forth properly. I doubt it’s needed on a modern, swing-needle machine.

  4. Hi, I thought to ask you about hiding seams in tiered lace. I want to make a full length dress, with the bottom half (from waist to floor) being in three tiers of tulle/lace. Thing is, I have no clue on how to hide the seams, as the lace is embroidered tulle lace, and completely transparent. The background cloth will be contrasting in color (either scarlet to gold lace, or turquoise to silver lace). Please help!

    1. Hmmm… My instinct would be to do one of two things. Either sew each tier first with right sides of the lace and background cloth are together, where the raw edge of the lace is towards the bottom of the skirt, then lightly pressing it down (so the right side of the lace is now up, and the lace is on top of the right side of the fabric). I might then trim the raw edge and then top stitch the lace to the background cloth to enclose the raw edge. The seam will be obvious, but it’ll at least be neat and tidy. Or, cut each tier to the full length you want it and sew them all to the top of the skirt. Though this latter would prevent you from having seams down the skirt, it would also mean your background cloth would hide more at the top than at the bottom. I’ll take a look at some of my books though to see if they offer any good suggestions!

      1. What did you decide to do? I’m currently sewing some very heavy corded lace together and have used an applique method to overlay the seams and hide them. Tiring but worth it!

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