How to Add Lace Embellishment to an Upcycled Garment

Last week, I wrote about upcycling a dress that I found for $7 at a discount store. It has a fabulous, mod silhouette and a '60s style textured fabric. Because the dress was too small, I took it apart at the side seams and drafted an insert from black velvet. Then I found some scalloped lace from an inherited collection and cut out the netting to reveal the shape of the lace.

Now that I have cut out, pinned, and basted
the lace, I am ready to hand-sew it in place. 

The basting doesn't have to be neat
but you do need to secure every piece.

Now I am ready to baste the lace to the dress and appliqué the cut-out portion. This is painstaking work, but if you love hand-sewing like I do, you won't mind. I fit the hand-sewing in during down time in waiting rooms, on airplanes, on long drives-anywhere it's possible to keep my hands busy. I find hand-sewing to be very soothing.

I learned about sewing techniques with lace when I was working on my couture certificate. Good lace is such a pleasure to use, and you can make an invisible seam by cutting out the shapes of the lace and matching them up. I may or may not do that sewing technique in this case, but it's good to know.

So far, I have exactly enough for the front and back hem, but not quite enough for the insert. I will worry about the insert later, but for the front and back, I cut the lace length in half and laid the lace along the edge of the dress, positioning the lace so that the scallops dip just below the hem for a peek-a-boo effect. I didn't have enough to quite center it perfectly, but that's okay.  

Next I have fallen back on the couture sewing credo: pin-baste-stitch. First, I pinned the lace in place, then I basted all around the edges and removed the pins. Next, comes the stitching. I will be opting for a white thread and will methodically hand-stitching my way around the lace cut-outs.

That part will take a while. In the meantime, check out the Sewing Skirts Your Way DVD in the Sew Daily Shop for lots of pretty skirts and sewing techniques you can practice. The great thing aoub this DVD is that you can actually create a custom skirt based on a well-fitting skirt form your closet. And you can use this lace appliqué technique on the skirt you make!

Do you have a project that is taking time and patience in the works? What is it? I would love to know.

Happy stitching!





Other sewing topics you may enjoy:


Embellishment, Upcycling

About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.