Monday, 5 June 2017

Out of my comfort zone...a bit of an experiment with stretch lace


In sewing up things for my holiday I've been trying to use the fabric and patterns I already have. Which has been interesting and also pushed me a bit to try some new things. I give you... Exhibit A some stretch lace and some black viscose jersey I already had.

The observant among you will notice that I managed to find paisley patterned stretch lace...demonstrating my love for paisley patterned anything.

Overexposed photo...but you can see the gathered back section
I used Simplicity 1463, a pattern I have in my collection but this is the first time I've sewn up view C. The black viscose jersey I bought from John Lewis for a bargain £4 a metre and I bought lots! That was a year or so ago. The paisley stretch lack I bought specifically for this top and I bought 50cm of it from Edinburgh Fabrics, which I think I paid £8, but I'm not really sure. Either way it's still a bargain for a top like this!

I added 2" to the length of the body and cut a generous Medium. This top comes out big! I'm not sure I actually needed to add any length, especially not to the back but I'm fine with it. I'm 5'9" tall just in case anyone's wondering about making this top, it's always good to have a height comparison!


The stretch lace was actually easier to work with than I expected. Basically I overlocked everything. For the sleeve hem I overlocked the edge of the lace, turned it up and straight stitched it, no stretch required in the sleeve hems! For the body hem that was a little bit more work. I stitched a straight stitch 1.5cm from the edge and pressed that to the inside. The front and back have pointed centre edges so you can't just stitch blithely around the hem in a one-er. I used my twin stretch needle and started sewing from the edge of the fabric, around the hem to the other point and off the edge of the fabric there too. Then repeated for the other part of the hem. Job done! Yes the double row of stitches overlap each other at the points but it's black and you can't see. It's good enough.

Accessorised with lipstick obviously
This is the bit I don't like though. The raglan sleeves are not in a straight line from the neck to the arm, more of a rounded square. On me I don't think they sit correctly, see the wrinkling? I think they would probably be better shaped as more 'classical raglan' sleeves, with a diagonal line from neck to arm.

The neckband gave me some grief though. It's the correct length and gives some nice stability to the neckline, which is all lace really. I overlocked the band on and found that the inside hem was wider than the neckband so it showed when wearing the top. So I overlocked again and cut more off the hemmed edge. Then pressed it well and used the twin stretch needle to topstitch around the neckband to make everything sit neatly where I wanted it to. You can't see any topstitching among all that lace, it's great!


To join the lace pieces of the sleeve together, the pattern instructs you to use a sewing machine. I didn't (what a rebel!) and used the overlocker so all seams were neatly cut and all edges securely finished. Those are quite full sleeves, not something I have in my wardrobe or that I'm used to wearing.

If you've got any rough patches on your hands, the lace will find them! Top tip...smooth on some hand cream before working with the lace...otherwise it'll drive you mad. I have to say I really like my new top and I'm glad I made it. It's already sitting in the washing machine as I wore it on Saturday, so that's a good sign!

7 comments:

  1. I have never sewn with lace, nor do I have any. I do have a good length of black viscose jersey though. I really like the top, you are too hard on yourself, the raglan sleeves look just fine I think, I didn't notice the wrinkling until you pointed it out. Of course we are our own biggest critics! The back is very sophisticated. x

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    1. I forgot to comment on your swimming costume! I liked that, too. I don't think I have the skills for sewing one myself yet, maybe next summer.

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    2. Hi Christina and thanks for your lovely comments. This was the first time I've sewn with lace so it was a good challenge and I enjoyed it. I'm just going to totally ignore the raglan wrinkles...I've owned worse than those before with RTW!

      As for the swimsuit, you could really sew swimwear! It's much more forgiving than you'd think as any tucks, over or under stretching is irrelevant when you wear the garments as the negative ease stretches everything out. Jalie swimwear sewing patterns are the only ones I've used but they're really good and the sizes are from tiny child to grown woman. What a bargain pattern!

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  2. I love the effect of the lace with that back seam! It's very cool, and I love the pattern of your lace--it really shows off the back yoke piece perfectly! The front raglan seams look vaguely like saddle seams instead; maybe they did that as a design feature for that view? It is a little odd though, since they kept the traditional raglan shaping on the back side. Whatever the case may be, I think this top is a winner and it looks great on you! ;-)

    -Abbey

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    1. Thanks! And despite the flaws and mistakes I've listed above I keep wearing this top so obviously they don't matter at all. It actually feels quite fitted around the shoulders and down to under the bust and the v neck stays in place when wearing it too, so no wardrobe malfunctions. That's always good news. Yes, I think the front seams are saddle seams, but you're right, the back seams are conventional raglans. I'd never noticed that!

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  3. This is beautiful, I'm really not seeing any of the imperfections you mentioned! The length of this is lovely on you.

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    1. Thanks, Julia. It's funny though, we list all the imperfections in the things we sew and yet it hasn't stopped this top from becoming one I always reach for. Maybe all the imperfections give it a good 'personality' and 'character'!

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