Sewing with Lace and Entredeux

Our special edition, Sew Beautiful’s Favorite Heirloom Sewing Designs, is a collection of our most beautiful and inspirational articles, pictorials and free patterns. We poured over decades of magazines to bring you this “best of the best” publication, which also features a section full of tips and tricks for many frequently used heirloom sewing techniques. Below, we’d like to share tutorials for “Lace to Entredeux” and “Gathered Lace to Entredeux” – two techniques that you will see in almost every heirloom garment. Follow these steps for perfect results that any “heirloomist” would be proud of.


Keep the following points in mind as you work:
• The thread used is important. Regular polyester or cotton-covered polyester sewing thread is simply too stiff and heavy to give good results. Madeira Tanne 80, a very soft, fine thread, is good to use for embellishment. Mettler 60 is a slightly heavier thread that is also suitable, and a little easier for both you and your machine to work with; it should be used in both the needle and the bobbin. The thread should also match the color of the lace.

• A small needle to go with the fine thread is also important. For the following techniques, use a new size 70 universal needle and make sure your machine is clean, oiled and running smoothly.

• The stitch settings given are not absolutes. Different machines stitch out differently. Use the settings given as starting points, adjust up or down as needed and use what works best for you.

•  In many cases, heirloom techniques are used to create fabric blocks or fancy bands that are slightly larger than needed from which garment pieces or fancy bands are then cut or trimmed to size.


Lace to entredeux

Lace to entreduex:
1.  Starch entredeux well, and press dry. This is important, because it helps to pre-shrink entredeux. If this step is omitted, when the piece with entredeux stitched into it is washed, entredeux will shrink and pucker fabric.


Photo 1

2. Trim batiste edge off one side of entredeux right next to heavily embroidered “ladder.” There should be no fabric remaining on that side; entredeux will not ravel (Photo 1).

3. With lace and entredeux both right sides up, butt trimmed edge of entredeux to heading of lace insertion.


Photo 2

4. Zigzag (L=1.0; W=2.5 – 3.0) together so that one needle swing stitches over heading of lace, and other needle swing goes into holes of entredeux (Photo 2).


Gathered lace to entredeux


Gathered lace to entredeux:
1. Trim waste fabric from one side of entredeux.

2. Gather lace to desired fullness to fit entredeux strip by pulling the uppermost thread in lace header. Pin strip of gathered lace to ironing board or padded surface right side up. Adjust gathers evenly. 

3. Cut a piece of Tiger Tape the length of gathered lace strip. Tape strips may also be cut in shorter lengths if you are curving the gathered lace or applying tape to a very long strip of lace. 

4. Stick Tiger Tape to gathered lace strip just below lace header (between 1/8 and 1/4 inch from the lace header edge). This will hold lace gathers in place as you stitch lace to entredeux. 

5. Set tension settings to normal balance. Place matching lightweight thread in bobbin and needle. Thread should match entredeux and lace. 


Photo 3

6. Set machine for a center zigzag (L-2.0-2.5; W=3.0-3.5). Remove lace from board and place trimmed edge of entredeux and gathered lace header side by side, right sides up with edges touching. Length should be adjusted so left swing of zigzag hits as many consecutive holes in entredeux as possible. Width should be adjusted so zigzag travels from hole of entredeux to inside edge of gathered lace edging and pulls lace header snuggly against entredeux (Photo 3).

Photo 4

7.  When gathered lace is attached, remove Tiger Tape (Photo 4).

Be sure to check out Favorite Heirloom Sewing Designs for more heirloom projects and techniques! Create your own work of art using the patterns we’ve provided or use this issue as the catalyst to revisit your heirloom pattern stash to find your favorites.

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

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