Monday, July 04, 2016

Tutorial: Insertion lace on a curved seam

If you're arriving here from Britex, welcome!

I'm so excited to share my method for inserting lace into a curved seam (such as a princess seam)!  I used this dusty peach handkerchief-weight linen and floral ivory insertion lace, though there are many, many options for both linens and laces both online and in-store!

After seeing one of the cover shots for the Hayden pattern, and making a couple myself (two versions here), I really wanted to insert lace in the seam lines on the front and along the hem.  The style lines are curved, though, so the typical way of inserting lace had to be tweaked a bit.
Usually, insertion lace is applied on an uncut, unseamed piece of fabric.  The general steps are: sew along both lengths of the insertion lace, then cut through the fabric on the wrong side and press the fabric open.  On the right side, using a narrow zig-zag stitch, sew along the edge of the lace again (which catches the fabric on the wrong side) and the trim the fabric on the wrong side, close to the stitches.  Insertion lace can also be inserted into an existing seam, before sewing the seam and after taking into consideration the added width of the lace.
However, for this blouse, the seam in which I wanted to put the lace was a curved princess seam along the front.  Instead of inserting the lace before sewing the seam, I did it a bit differently:
First, I sewed the princess seam using long basting stitches, then trimmed the seam to 1/4", and pressed the seam open.

Since I didn't want the seam allowance to get caught when I stitched the lace, I then pressed the seam toward the side seam (opposite side from which I will sew the first side of the lace).
On the right side, a line 1/4" (half the width of my lace) from the seam was marked as a guideline for the lace edge.
Using matching thread and a straight stitch, the lace was carefully sewn, lined up with the markings. As you can see, after stitching, the other side was a bit ruffly, since the lace was sewn on a convex curve.

To ease this excess lace, a running stitch was sewn using a contrasting thread and gently pulled to barely gather the lace on the concave side of the curve.
Prior to sewing the other side of the lace, the seam allowance of the princess seam was pressed to the other side (toward center front) to avoid catching it in the lace stitching.  The lace was then stitched in place along the edge on the right side and the contrasting thread removed.

On the wrong side, the basting stitches were removed from the princess seam and the fabric was pressed open (with clipping), which revealed the lace underneath.
On the right side, a very narrow zig-zag stitch was sewn along the edge of the lace, securing the seam allowance on the wrong side.

On the wrong side, the seam allowance was trimmed very close to the stitching and pressed well.
For this particular garment, I also inserted lace along the junction of the bodice and hem band.  I have a separate post to go into more details of how I did it, and how it probably should have been done!

This technique is addictively fun to do--it creates such an interesting detail on garments and it is fairly easy for the impact it imparts!  Thank you to Britex for supplying the beautiful insertion lace and handkerchief linen!
Still love covered buttons!
I don't have much to add regarding this pattern--as before, I would recommend making a test fit and then considering some of the alterations I discussed earlier.


  1. This is so beautiful! Thanks for the tutorial.

  2. Really love your top! Thanks for the detailed tutorial!