Sew with Lace and Net Fabrics, Add Sophistication to Any Garment!

Lace is a timeless fashion favourite.  It adds a sophistication to any garment from bridal wear to t-shirts.

What types of Lace are there?

Here are but a few of the most popular Lace fabrics.

  • Chantilly
  • All over Embroidered Lace
  • French Lace
  • Venise Lace also known as Guilpure Lace
  • Lace applique
  • Edging Lace
  • Insertion Lace
  • Crotcheted Lace

There are many more types of lace, nearly one for everything you will ever need to sew. ; )

Use Lace to embellish or add to your garment.

  • Add a nice edging lace to the sleeves of a garment to give it a more delicate look.
  • Overlay it on the bodice of a dress or top to give it a stylish look.
  • Applique lace motif's onto jumpers, tops and pants to create a new look.
  • Use different colours under the lace to create different looks.
  • Cut main body fabric away and fill with lace sections. This makes a very classy look if done correctly.
  • Wear lace as an overlay fabric or sew it in with the garment.
  • Pair lace with different weight and textured fabrics like denim.
  • Trim skirts and dresses with lace borders.
  • sew lace trim into a ruffle or pleated look to add to a neckline.
  • Create a delicate lace collar, or a complete lace dress.
  • Lest we forget, lace is wonderful in anything underwear.


new look 6261a
New Look 6410
Burda 6487
Simplicity 8016

 Spanish Steps

A 170cm wide soft but thick polyester knitted lace in black, whilst there are a lot of holes in the fabric being a lace knit there is an awful lot of yarn. So it must have been made for shawls, for Spanish ladies to sit in the shade in the heat of summer. I can’t see you buying this cloth for that sole purpose, but if you require a fairly loose but heavy knitted fabric this is your man.

Right side is raised
The wrong side is smooth

Does Lace have a right side and a wrong side?

The answer to this is not always. Look at it carefully and decide which side you want to be the right side. Most laces have a raised side and a smoother side. Mark that side with a sticky label so you consistently use that side as the right side.

Plan when you use Lace.

  • Examine the lace carefully to see how best to use it.
  • Check the borders to see how they can work for you.
  • Different scallops and edgings can add a lot to your garment if used correctly.
  • Sheer lace – this style of lace is very transparent and it will require a lining
  • Fully patterned lace– it is possible that this style will need to be partly lined
  • Stretchy lace fabric slightly more complex, as this style requires a technique for both the lace and the stretch
Lace fabric from
Edging Lace
Lace fabric from
Scallopped edge

Choose your lace and background colour carefully as the "look" can change if the colour is different to the lace. This may enhance the garment or make it look "wrong" for you.

Below is a dusky pink lace shown on numerous colour backgrounds. Note how the different colours change the look.

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Lace fabric from
Lace fabric from
Lace fabric from
Lace fabric from
Lace fabric from
Lace fabric from
Lace fabric from

Working with Lace

Do not be tempted skipping these simple steps to be sure you have a good result!

  • Pre-wash: usually lace comes heavily glued: this is done in factories to make it up and look good. Always better pre-wash it (and, maybe, let it soak in water for a while, before you rinse it) to get rid of all those chemicals…and make it softer! If you feel like it’s hard to keep it in place while sewing, you can spray starch it like you would do if you were sewing rebel knits.
  • Pre-Iron: this goes hand-in-hand with the previous one: before you start laying out your sewing pattern above your fabric (lace, sheer or anything else), give it a good ironing to start with a wrinkle-substrate!
  • Iron settings: check your fabric fibre content! Your lace or sheer will be almost certainly made of polyester or nylon… be gentle with heat,  No steam, and use a silk organza pressing cloth to prevent your precious fabric from becoming shiny.

Sewing with lace is not at all complicated – if you take the necessary precautions.

  • Use a more firm weave fabric at the start of sewing it and then continue on to the lace.
  • Sew with a nice narrow zig-zag stitch.
  • Use a french seam for a nice even looking seam.
  • Use a roller sewing foot.
  • Don’t use pins us small binder clips to keep lace together.
  • Cut around the motifs instead of cutting straight across.

Lace sleeves

All lacework on sleeves should be done before the sleeve is constructed. You may want to baste the sleeve together and into the bodice so you can mark the sleeve hem. Then, take the sleeve out and do the lacework while the sleeve is flat.

Lace fabric from
Contrasting colour
Lace fabric from
Red colour
Lace fabric from
Teal colour
Lace fabric from
Blue background

Lace can be "cut out" and appliqued onto any garment with stunning results. Small stitches are used to attach the lace motief by sewing within the embroidery.

Lace fabric can have a net backing, the embroidery is such that it can be "cut out"

Lace fabric from
Embroidered Lace with net background
Lace fabric from
Lace motief "cut out"

Bridal Lace and Fabrics

  • Duchess satin or lovely satin backed crepes are some of the nicest fabrics to us for bridal dresses.
  • Choosing beautiful white lace can be great but finding the right "white" or "ivory" to go behind it can be tricky so great care should be taken to get it right.
  • White lace goes well with fair and bronze complexions while ladies with olive and rich brown tones are complimented more by ivory.
  • Order samples of both the lace and the underdress fabric to check it matches and is suitable.
  • I found an interesting blog from Sew Country Chick that discusses wedding dresses and overlaying lace. Worth a look if you are planning to sew your own.
Burda 9649
Butterick 6399
Butterick 6418
Burda 6869

Inserting Lace

Inserting lace in a T-shirt, blouse or skirt can create a sophisticated look. This blog Wearable History has a fascinating in-depth tutorial on lace insertion.

The lace can be added to appear behind the fabric panels or on top of the fabric panels.

Overlaying Lace

This is simple and easy to do, simply choose your lace and cut it out in the same pattern as your main fabric, sew it together with the main fabric.

This blog by Crab and Bee covers a wedding dress make, the pattern is a Simplicity pattern but they overlayed the lace. Stunning result. If you have the time take a look it is broken down into parts but very comprehensive.

Lace fabric from
Insert or inset lace
Lace fabric from
insert or inset lace
newlook 6528
simplicity 8362
simplicity 8471
Vogue 8569a

Embroidered Net

What is embroidered net fabric?

Netting is any textile in which the yarns are fused, looped or knotted at their intersections, resulting in a fabric with open spaces between the yarns. Embroidered net has designs embroidered onto the net in various yards. This can be done by machine or by hand. Chain stitch is very commonly used. The designs can be delicate and eye-catchingly beautiful. A lining or underdress will be necessary with some of these fabrics.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Carolyn Gethings
    06/12/2018 at 8:37 AM

    I really enjoy reading your blogs, especially this one. I love lace but as a very inexperienced sewer, using it seemed too difficult. But after reading this I think I’ll have a go! Thanks

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