Sewing with lace can be wonderful but it can also be wonderfully exhausting. I have five tips for a better sewing experience to get you started.
Pattern and symmetry
Every lace has a pattern (which is why we love it so much). When buying lace, I make sure to think about how I want to use the lace. I have some beautiful lace pieces that I might never use, because they have a very large and one way motif on them. So, the size and direction of the pattern on the lace should be of paramount importance.
While cutting, I take great care that the pattern will look balanced throughout my pattern piece and is ideally symmetrical. When making bras and undies, I only cut one side with my paper pattern and then use the cut out piece to cut out my corresponding other size.
Additionally, you should take note where you position your pattern piece on the lace. It’s not ideal to only have half a flower at the center of a bra when you could have avoided it.
Elasticity or stretch
Not every lace has the same amount of stretch. You will have to pick your patterns accordingly. When sewing undies you’ll need stretch, when sewing bras you’ll need stability. If you want to sew up a matching set you need to make some adjustments. With a stable lace I change the undie pattern or use a pattern that’s made for non-stretch lace (e.g. Marie Panties by Evie La Luve). With a stretchy lace I stabilize the bra cups with sheer cup lining.
When sewing with fabrics with different amounts of stretch I always use a walking foot. Also, I make sure that the stretchier fabric is on the underside and will be fed through the machine by the built-in feeding dogs.
If all of this is of no use, I use my new glue stick by Prym. I have seen some people using a regular UHU gluestick but I’ve never tried it (and I am too much of a chicken to try it – I love my machines too much).
Zigzags are your friend
I almost always use a zigzag stich when sewing with lace. For smaller motifs I use a width of 2.5 and a length of 1.5 and for larger motifs a width of 3.5 and a length of 2.5.
With especially slippery fabrics I sew from the middle of the seam outwards. It is more work but it keeps frustration at bay.
I am lucky enough to own a machine that has an automated thread-cutting function. But when I sew with lace I still hold on to the threads a good while before I let go to keep my machine from eating my fabric.
As a rule I don’t finish lace seams but I take care to not have raw seams directly on my skin. I either enclose them or cut them back with my appliqué scissors.
Have fun experimenting!