… and for sewing tulle, taffeta, netting, organza, charmeuse… a.k.a sheers!
Lace is feminine, taffeta is airy, netting is fun, tulle is fashionable!
We all LOVE lace and sheers garments! But… sewing them…. aaargh! most sewists HATE it!
It’s not that complicated, if you know my
40+ best tips for: Sewing Lace like a Pro
WARNING: IT’S A LONG ONE!
This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something using them, I’ll earn a small percentage at no added cost for you!
Thanks for helping me create more freebies like this, I hope you appreciate and will give me a hand 😉
I was invited by Lisa @ Mabey she Made it to write a guest post for her blog and I created a tutorial (with a NB to XL measurements chart) for sewing a Couture Lace Skirt (=without raw edges).
A lot of people is scared from sewing lace and this is why I’m listing here all my best tips… and most of them are perfect for sheers too! If you have a pearl of wisdom to add… please share it with us in comments <3
Before you even start
I know, when we want to sew, we want to do it NOW, but: please, do not be tempted skipping these simple steps to be sure you have a pro-result!
- Pre-wash: usually lace comes heavily glued: this is done in factories to make it up and look good. Always better pre-wash it (and, maybe, let it soak in water for a while, before you rinse it) to get rid of all those chemicals…and make it softer! If you feel like it’s hard to keep it in place while sewing, you can spray starch it like you would do if you were sewing rebel knits.
- Pre-Iron: this goes hand-in-hand with the previous one: before you start laying out your sewing pattern above your fabric (lace, sheer or anything else), give it a good ironing to start with a wrinkle-substrate!
- Iron settings: check your fabric fiber content! Your lace or sheer will be almost certainly made with polyester or nylon… be gentle with heat (avoid steam! ) and use a silk organza pressing cloth above your iron to save your precious fabric from becoming shiny.
How to cut
- Does lace really have a right and wrong side? Usually not! Always double check your lace before you start cutting. Check it on natural light and, even if you don’t notice any difference between one side and the other, try to choose one AND STICK WITH IT! Use tailor’s chalk or small stickers on fabric’s “wrong side” (before you go and mark all your pattern pieces, check that it’s going to disappear when you’re done with it, whichever method you choose!)
- Grainline is less important in lace than in regular fabric but, most likely, your lace has a directional design… this IS important!
- Cutting mat and rotary cutter: this is my choice when I need to cut lace or sheers straight. I’m not that good at cutting curves with my rotary (I’m a newbie with it!) so I use scissors… in this case, I use my better ones, perfectly sharpened!
- Use pattern weights instead of pins or, even better, some clear tape to stick the lace to the cutting mat while you cut it, so it won’t go anywhere!
- If you can (and the pattern allows you to do that), try cutting more than one layer of lace at the same time: this will help you achieve a prefect straight cut on all the layers (think those tutu undershirts with so many layers…)
- You can create a scalloped hem if your lace design has a pattern that fits: think flowers or rounded shapes: the only thing you have to do is cut (with the sharpest scissors you have) all around the shapes, leaving short threads: lace usually doesn’t ravel, and you’ll save yourself a hem!
On the sewing machine!
- There’s no special foot (that I know) for sewing lace and sheers. I love to use a clear presser foot to see thought it and better guide my fabric.
- What you absolutely need to do, is be careful with presser foot pointy ends that can get caught inside the lace tiny holes and create a real mess! When they slip through the mesh holes, they stay trapped inside and you end with a lace… with one more (big) hole!
- Again, there isn’t a special kind of needles (that I know…) for lace and sheers. Due to their thinness and fragility, better choose a needle size like 60/8, 65/9 or 70/10 (for thicker laces and sheers). More than ever, you can’t contravene to this often ignored rule: start your project with a new needle!
You can try with:
- a narrow zig-zag (1)
- a short triple straight stitch (12 – perfect for stretch lace too!)
- a triple zig-zag stitch (12)
- any kind of overcasting stitch (10) to keep seam allowances together and prevent them to fray and add strength to your seams