Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Stretch Lace Dilemma

I'm a little bit stuck on how I might go about attaching sleeves to this stretch lace dress, so I'm hoping my sewing blog friends might be able to lend me a helping hand (pretty please).
Doesn't look much just on the hanger!
The story so far:  using a pattern from a Burda Magazine, some beautiful stretch lace underlined with a cotton/lycra that stops at the sweetheart neckline but the lace carries on to cover the chest and shoulder blades - I've achieved the desired look for the dress, however .....

a clearer picture of the sweetheart neckline
My daughter wants the dress to have sleeves - lace sleeves!  The lace is easy to sew when attached to the cotton/lycra underlining but on it's own it's a different story ...  it's probably more like a stretch mesh to sew.

I'm going to finish the neckline with some clear elastic, just enough so the neckline sits against the body and I'm sure this will be easy enough because the elastic will provide a bit of stability for the lace.   To provide some strength over the shoulders I've got some thin straps attached to the underlining which will remove any pull on the lace over the upper body (good plan I think!)

But I am stuck on how to get the sleeves in place.  I've thought about using the stretch clear elastic, but I think that would just feel funny to wear.  Next, maybe using some 1/4" stay tape, apply to the sleeve edge of the dress then fit the sleeve into place.  I am a bit worried that this will be too stiff for the stretch lace and will make the sleeve seam look rigid when the dress is worn.

This has been sitting on my sewing desk for a month, while I ponder.   I'm now getting pressure from the daughter who wants to wear it.  Soooooo I would really appreciate any recommendations that you might have on my sleeve dilemma. 

Thanks in advance :-)


  1. You don't want to use clear elastic in the armhole, in fact I'd advise against it. I'd say your best bet is to use a stretch stitch bound with flesh colored silk organza in bias strips. Its very fiddly but most long lasting application I've seen so far.

    1. That makes perfect sense and will provide ongoing support. Thanks.

  2. I think you are going to have to french seam those sleeves in place, you can buy a special stabilising interfacing (I completely forget the name but have used it before) that dissolves in water. It comes attached to a paper sheet, you cut it into strips, peel it off and stick it onto the seam allowance just overlapping your stitch line then sew your seam. It stabilises the seam for easy sewing then you plonk the garment in a water bucket for a few minutes and it dissolves away. I recommend a test swatch first to make sure it is compatible with your fabric.

    I think this must be the stuff I have: https://www.softexpressions.com/software/notions/Sulky.php

    Or something similar (it was given to me as a cut off from a larger sheet) if you have trouble finding some or want to give it a try I think I still have some, I will dig it out, can send you a long strip to do your sleeves :)

    1. That stuff sounds awesome. After reading more about it I can think of other projects that I could use it for - might just have to order some :-)

  3. Oh and I just spotted your Burda Sew Along badge, nice :)

    1. I think I've even made a decision on what I want to sew ;-)



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