Lace inset tutorial

Dresses and blouses with thin strips of lace inserted in the seams have been popping up everywhere lately. Here's my version of the trend. This is such an easy way to add some interest to a basic dress or top. Why not cut up an old garment and add some lace insets?

Lace inset dress

I used cheap polyester lace that I didn’t actually like very much to begin with. Thankfully, it ended up looking more luxurious than it actually is. The main fabric is polyester crepe that I knew would have the drape that was needed for the wide hem.

Lace and polyester crepe


Decide on the width of your strips and add seam allowance on both sides. If you’re not adding a lining then you need to decide whether the strips can be see through or whether you should add a strip of lining underneath each lace piece.

Sew strip of lace on self fabric

I wasn’t sure how the lace would work together with the heavier crepe. It’s not looking great here but after a quick press the pulling disappeared and the fabrics worked fine together. Sewing fabrics of different weight together can be tricky so for delicate lace go for a delicate fabric. Also, strips of interfacing on the stitch line might be a good idea to support the fabric.

Polyester crepe and lace seam

Press the seam, pressing seam allowance away from the lace. Use a pressing cloth if your fabrics are delicate.

Press the seam

Pressed seam, view from wrong side

Next up, topstitching. This will make the seam allowance stay put, and also adds some nice depth to the detail. I used a thread that matches the lace instead of the main fabric which I thought looked more interesting.

Topstitch with matching thread

Repeat for other side: Sew main fabric and lace edges together, press, topstitch. Make sure the topstitching is at an equal distance from the edge on both sides.

Topstitch other side

Finished lace inset

Check the wrong side to make sure you’ve caught the seam allowance neatly in the stitch.

View from wrong side

Testing the look of the lining underneath. Looking good!

Back view on dress form

I decided to incorporate a corner, giving myself a bit of a headache. It took a few tries to get everything symmetrical but I got there.

Lace inset corner

I experimented with some chiffon under the lace to play with the sheerness but ended up just making the lace insets see-through and adding a black lining of cotton voile.

Lace inset corner detail

As you can see the lace pattern doesn’t match up which is fine since it will not show with the lining underneath. If you decide to leave the insets unlined you’ll want to make sure that the lace patterns align perfectly on both sides.

I’m so happy with this technique and will definitely be using it again!

DIY Lace inset sewing tutorial



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So pretty

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