Monday, February 27, 2017

Stretch lace tee tutorial

Did you ever consider that stretch lace could be used to sew up a simple tee shirt?  It just takes the right pattern and a few small sewing modifications!   Here, I've used this lovely stretch lace in "Naughty Navy".
When choosing a pattern for a stretch lace tee, here are a few guidelines:
  • Keep the number of pattern pieces to a minimum--a style with just front, back and sleeve pieces will work better than one with many style lines.
  • Bust darts are okay!
  • A jewel or boatneck would work best, but you can also modify a favorite pattern to have the neckline of your choosing. 
  • Look for a style without closures.   
  • A semi-fitted style would be most appropriate.
For my version, I used Vogue 8151 pattern, (apparently out of print, but I found it in the store) but here are some others that might work well, too:
In addition to the stretch lace fabric, you will also need about 3/4 yd of lining fabric, in a lightweight knit (such as lightweight cotton, rayon, or bamboo knit).  Choose a contrast or matching color; here I went with this peachy knit fabric to highlight the design in the lace.

Step 1: Cut your pattern pieces (front, back, sleeves) from lace.  I made some fit adjustments and widened the neckline, but otherwise stuck pretty close to the size Small for this pattern.
Step 2: Cut the front and back pieces from your lining fabric.  No need to line the sleeves!

Step 3:  If your pattern has bust darts, sew them now in both the lace and lining.

Step 4: Sew the shoulder seams of the front/ back pieces in lace.  Then, sew the shoulder seams of the lining fabric.  I did not include 1/4" clear elastic at the shoulder seams, but it would be useful.  If you choose to apply clear elastic, sew it into either the lace or the lining (not both).

 Step 5: With right sides facing, line up the necklines of the lace and lining fabric.  Sew using a stretch stitch or overlock.  Lightly press on the lining side.
Step 6.  Now, treat the lining like an underlining.  Baste the lining and lace together along the both sides and the armhole to keep the layers together.  I used a simple straight stitch, but you can use a 3-thread overlock and then trim it off as you overlock the side seams together later.  
Step 7: Sew in the sleeves, easing the curve if needed.
Step 8: Sew the side seam, from wrist to hem, trimming off your basting stitches as you go.
Step 9: Hem the sleeves and top using a stretch stitch, double needle, or coverstitch machine.  

Step 10: Wear your beautiful creation, dressed up with wool pants or a pencil skirt, or dressed down with jeans.   Easy!

Many thanks to Britex for providing the fun lace fabric!  


  1. This is so pretty! Makes me want to get out my sewing machine again! Though I've never made anything from a pattern before, it seems kinda daunting...

  2. brilliant, its really lovely

  3. Looking great Nicole! I recently made a top for my daughter in a double knit that is cream lace bonded to a tan knit. It's the loveliest fabric and I wish I'd have enough for me! Your underlining idea is perfect.

  4. Ypur top looks fab, great tutorial too