I hope you have been joining us for the Bluezette Sew Along happening in the Love Notions Pattern Support Page. Today we are going to be attaching the skirt and hemming. I’m making a dress for my daughter using some beautiful lace fabric with sequins on it. And while gorgeous, it was be difficult to work with at times. So, today, I’m going to share some tips for working with lacy sequin fabric.
When you gather your skirt, it can be difficult to use a basting stitch gathering method. The lace can snag on the threads and sequins get tangled up and next thing you know, you have broken your threads and you have to start all over. Instead, I used clear elastic to gather my skirt. Measure the bottom of your bodice and cut a length of elastic to match. Next, divide both the elastic and the top of the skirt into quarters and match them up. Keeping your elastic within the seam allowance, start at one end and do a few short zig zag stitches to tack your elastic into place. Now change to a long zig zag and going slowly, stretch your elastic to match the skirt. Be careful not to stretch the fabric also! Work slowly and in sections. If you have to stop to adjust your fabric, place the needle in the down position to hold your elastic in place. When you get to the end, tack the elastic in place with a few short zig zags. And then you have a nice, evenly gathered skirt! Now attach your skirt to your bodice. You can keep the elastic in place to help the dress retain it’s shape at the seam. While it may make for a beautiful dress to look at. The lace may be a bit itchy for some girls while worn. And the sequins just add to the discomfort. This is not a seam that says comfy. Yes, serging could be an option. But, I don’t want to risk chipping my blade or having to change a broken needle. I didn’t break a needle sewing on my regular machine, but my luck, I would break one, or 5, with the serger. To make this dress much more wearable, I carefully cut the seam allowance of the lace fabric down to just under 1/4″. Don’t cut the knit fabric though, just the lace. Also, be careful not to cut out too much of the seam allowance, you don’t want to risk the lace unraveling and pulling free from the seam. You may end up cutting out the elastic doing this, but that’s okay. It’s done with it’s main job. After you have trimmed down the lace, stretch the knit over the remaining lace and encase it. Then stitch it into place using as small of a seam allowance as you can. I managed to stay around 1/8″ by going slowly.
There! Itchy lace all hidden! Well, mostly. You can just clip any that slips out. Another way that sequins can add discomfort to the dress is by poking out of the seam around the neckline. Use small pointed scissors, just clip the sequin on one side and pull it out gently using your fingers or tweezers. Be careful to not clip the thread that attaches the sequin to the fabric. You don’t want that stitch to come undone and release more sequins. You may want to go around the under arm seam and clip the sequins out of the seam allowance there as well as the seam that attaches the sleeve to the arm hole. It only take a minute and will make the dress much more comfortable. (I did not serge those seams because the serge seam shows through the lace unlike a straight stitch with a raw edge on the seam allowance.) Now on to hemming. Or, not hemming. I cut my sleeve and skirt pieces with the hem along the salvage edge of the fabric. While functional, it doesn’t look very pretty. (Test this on a scrap piece of lace first!) I took some small sharp scissors and trimmed the salvage off, following along the edge of the lace design. Trim just the netting part of the fabric being careful to not cut into the lace design. You can pull on the salvage to show the design more clearly if you need to. My lace did not unravel after being trimmed because of the dense design, but check your lace on a piece of scrap fabric before trying this technique out on your dress.
I love lace. My girl doesn’t care for ruffles, but she would wear lace daily if she could. How are your dresses coming along? The sew along wrap up Tuesday, November 24th. Upload your dress (or dresses) that you sew during the sew along to the Bluezette Sew Along album in the Facebook group and you could win a Love Notion pattern of your choice! Winner will be announced Wednesday, Nov 25th.