Inserting Lace into Seams

Remember my Common Thread project on the Sew Weekly? Today’s post is on how to insert lace into seams, just like I did on my ‘Summer in the City’ dress. It seems simple, and it is, but I did figure out some tips that might help if you wanted to re-create the same look on your projects!

The original pattern calls for piping, but I’ve used lace instead. The vertical and horizontal seamlines look just as pretty with the lace trim!

Here’s how to do it yourself!

First, decide which seams you want to add the lace to. I’m going to add lace to the horizontal seamlines and the vertical seamlines of the bodice.

Then, measure the seamline, and cut a piece of lace trim the length of the seamline.

Now, pin the lace to one of the seamline edges. Here’s the important part: line up the sewing line of the lace along the 1.5cm seamline.

This makes more sense when you see how it’s done in the photo below! I’m going to stitch through that hole-y line in the lace. So I’ve lined up that lace stripe along where the 1.5cm seamline will fall.

Continue pinning all along the seamline, as shown.

Leave the other seamline alone, free of lace trim. When we sew the seam, the lace will be nicely inserted into the seam just like the piping!

Now, sew along the lace as shown, exactly along the 5/8″ (1.5cm) seamline. Adjust the lace if it’s slipped at all. Go slowly if you have to, to make sure the seamline is precise!

Here’s what it will look like with the stitching in:

More photos of the lace trim stitched to one side of the seam:

And a close-up look, too!

Ok – after this, the rest is easy! As long as your lace is stitched at precisely 5/8″ (1.5cm) from the raw edge, you’re good!

Take the piece that goes on the other side of the seam, and line up the raw edges.

Pin raw edges together. You can see from the photo below that on one side of the piece, you’ll be able to see the lace stitching. That’s the side you’ll want to have facing upwards when we sew the seam!

Sew the seam as pinned with the lace stitching upwards. Stitch exactly on top of the previous stitching. Easy, right?

Press seam either up or down, depending on your preference! Do you want the lace pointing up? Then press the seam allowance downwards.

Look how nice that looks! The lace is set into the seam allowance, without any visible stitching showing. I like the look of lace inserted into seams, rather than stitched on top. It looks cleaner, and hides the stitch lines! I find it easier to do as well.

Any questions on how to insert lace into seams? It’s an easy and pretty way to incorporate lace into your summer dresses!

What do you think: would you try applying lace using this technique?

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28 Responses to Inserting Lace into Seams

  1. Creative Mama April 19, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    I love piping and laces inserted into seams. I do it almost everytime i have a princess seam if have a match lace to boot in my stash!

  2. AnaJan April 19, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    Nice, clear instructions, as always! I insert piping the same way, but use the piping foot (off course!).

  3. claire April 19, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    wow that looks really simple to do. great tutorial as always :)

  4. Ashley April 19, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    I think this looks incredibly pretty and feminine! I want to give it a go on the Crescent skirt, but I’m not sure it would work as well as the seams are pressed open. What do you think? Would the lace just stick straight out? not a good look! lol
    Thanks for the tips! :)
    Ashley x

  5. Tasha April 19, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    Ooh, I love this tutorial and technique! I’m not sure I would have thought to insert lace into a seam ever, but it looks so lovely and feminine. I am definitely going to remember this for future use!

  6. Cass April 19, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    Hey Tasia,
    I was just wondering how much alteration you had to do to the bodice of the dress to get it to fit this well? I am also pear shaped with a smaller bust and thought this dress fit really nicely.

    I love the way the lace accents the pretty fabric too.

  7. K April 19, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    I wouldn’t have thought to do that but it’s so pretty! I have this same pattern and I’m stealing your idea :)

  8. Susan - Knitters Delight April 19, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    I like piping, but think the lace gives it an extra oomph that is unique!

  9. Nan York April 19, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Thanks for showing this it’s a great tip and I can’t wait to try it out on a garment.

  10. Helena April 19, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    I really like your instructions, they’re so easy to follow and the pictures help a lot. I might try the lace insert in a future project.

  11. Tasia April 19, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Hey everyone! Glad you like the tutorial, it’s a pretty and surprising way to use lace! Definitely use it on your projects if you like!

    @Cass: Hey Cass! I ended up cutting two sizes smaller on top – I don’t have the pattern handy but I believe I cut a 6 on top, a 10 on bottom? The whole bodice is the smaller size, and the skirt pieces start out as a 6 at the waistline and taper to the 10 at the hipline.
    To be honest, this pattern was tricky to alter! The inside pieces are shaped completely differently from the outside pieces. Which is why I decided to cut it smaller on top and taper from the waist to the hip. My first version completely flattens me – from the side view, it’s literally flat as a board. This one fits better with the padded bra cups (I know, you can hardly tell it’s padded! that’s how flat the first one was!)
    Good luck – it’s a tricky pattern but the design lines are so pretty!

  12. Tasia April 19, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    @Ashley: You could definitely give it a try on the Crescent Skirt! Instead of pressing the seams open, press them to one side, in the opposite direction of where you want the lace to lay down. The smaller lace you choose, the flatter it will lay down. (And if it doesn’t lay down, you could always stitch with cream or white thread on top of the lace, tacking it down into place. It’s a little more work but it would keep the trim from standing up! Hand-tacking would look the nicest but machine-tacking would also work.)

  13. The Slapdash Sewist April 19, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    That is a lovely detail! Thank you for the clear instructions.

  14. Ashley April 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    @Tasia: I was just worried that it might make the curves lay funny, though some clipping might help. I suppose I could give it go without lace and if it lays ok with the seams pressed to one side, then I could just unpick it and insert the lace! I really hope it works as I love the look of the lace :) Thanks for your advice!
    Ashley x

  15. Tasia April 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    @Ashley: Trim the seam allowances very narrowly – you’re right, if you leave them untrimmed it will be bulky! Trim them to 1/4″ and clip if necessary, you should be fine!

    Want to be absolutely sure? Cut one Front Waistband and one Side Waistband section (just those two pieces) and do a little test. You’ll only waste a couple inches of fabric, and then you’ll be sure one way or the other, no unpicking required!

  16. Ashley April 19, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    @Tasia: Ah yes, trimming the seam allowances is a good idea (why didn’t I think of that?! lol). I bought a little extra fabric (just in case!) so doing a trial run is an excellent idea! Thanks :)
    Ashley x

  17. Tasia April 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    @Ashley: No problem! I can’t wait to see how it turns out :)

  18. Kat April 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Thanks for the tutorial! This will definitely make a great addition to a few of the summer dresses I am wanting to sew.

  19. Marie April 19, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Great tutorial Tasia, thanks for sharing! I love this detail, so I’ll definitely be trying it out soon!

  20. Corinne April 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    So nice Tasia, your tutorials are great. I have done this on lingerie but I used a water soluable glue stick to attach the lace. A little bit goes a long way and there are also glues with needle nose spouts that keep the application very accurate. I think I learned this at a Martha Pullen school.

  21. Angela April 19, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    Tasia, you do beautiful work. Thank you for your tutorials. I just ordered the Pendrell and I’m thrilled.

  22. fangaroni April 19, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    Excellent tutorial Tasia! I inserted piping for the first time recently, which turned out okayyy, but now that I can refer to your great tutorial, I’m sure next time will go much smoother (esp if I try with lace) Thanks!

  23. The Sew Convert April 20, 2011 at 3:13 am #

    Thanks for the tute, love the idea lots!

  24. quietandsmall April 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    oh fantastic, thank you!! i’ve been on a lace kick, so i can’t wait to try this!

  25. Annelise April 22, 2011 at 5:15 am #

    This is great! I was hoping you would do this after I saw the Sew Weekly post.

  26. Ashley May 2, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    @Tasia: Hi Tasia, just thought I’d let you know I gave it a go! You can see it here:
    I’m so pleased with it! I’m definitely going to do it on my actual skirt :) Thanks again!
    Ashley x

  27. Carla May 3, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    Great tip! I love the dress, too.

  28. newliferx May 31, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    You have me hooked. Great tutorial! Thank you!