Tips & Tricks for Sewing with Lace

Lace tatting trim adds a gorgeous finish to this baby daygown.


It’s no secret that we love lace. This delicate fabric is at the heart of heirloom sewing, and – truth be told – it’s hard to imagine what many of our sewing projects would look like without it. From christening gowns to wedding dresses, seamstresses have used this classic, intricate material on our most treasured garments for centuries. 

Lace is no stranger to modern wear either, as it is often used as a feminine accent or trim on today’s garments. This week, we’d like to share answers to several questions we’re frequently asked about sewing with lace. From understanding the difference between insertion, edging, beading and entredeux, to figuring out once and for all whether or not lace has a right and a wrong side, we hope you learn something useful!

Debbie Glenn transformed French lace into an heirloom garden on this project from our May/June 2013 issue.


What’s the difference between insertion, edging, beading and entredeux?
• Insertion is lace with two straight sides
• Edging is lace with one straight side and one scalloped side
• Beading is lace with openings for weaving ribbon
• Entredeux is embroidered trim that resembles a tiny train track with seam allowances

Does lace have a right and wrong side?
Actually, many laces do not have a right or wrong side. They look exactly the same. Many say the raised side of the lace is the right side, while others say they like the smooth side best – so choose the side that is “right” for you. To avoid confusing the sides while sewing, we recommend placing a colored sticky dot on your “right” side. Before cutting the lace into desired lengths, stick on additional dots so that all of your lace pieces have dots on the right side. 

How do I dye lace ivory?
To dye lace, you’ll need:
• 2 cups strong coffee or tea
• 1/4 cup vinegar

To dye white lace to ivory, mix 2 cups strong coffee or tea and 1/4 cup vinegar. Thoroughly wet lace in water, then soak in coffee mixture about five minutes. Rinse completely in clear water. Repeat if not dark enough. Dry on a flat surface. Do not press lace before it is dry or it will streak.

How do I sew lace to fabric?
Place right sides together. Fabric extends 1/8 inch from lace. Zigzag (L = 1.0; W = 4.5) so that one needle swing stitches over the lace heading, and the other needle swing goes just off the fabric edge. After a few stitches, the fabric raw edge should start rolling in toward and covering the lace heading. If it doesn’t, try increasing needle tension slightly.

Be sure to visit our online store to save big on hundreds of items during our Summer Sidewalk Sale. We have laces and trims, fabrics, notions and accessories, books and DVDs, patterns, kits and more marked at 75 percent off now though June 26!

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

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