Monday, September 21, 2009

Wedding Dress: Scalloped Lace Neckline

My wedding dress (Vogue 2979) has a V-neck line with scalloped lace edging on the neck. To achieve this, the lace scallops from the all-over lace fabric must be "reapplied" to the neckline.

I purchased 60-inch wide embroidered lace fabric for the bodice. The fabric has scalloped edges at both ends. I trimmed close to the scalloped edge (but not too close, leave several "blocks" of the netting free to maintain the design and not cut any supporting threads) along one side of the fabric.

From the middle of the back neck (where the zipper starts) to the center front bodice (bottom of the V-neckline) measures 13 inches. This measured approximately 6 of the repeating scallop designs. The pattern instructions called for reapplying the lace edging to the raw edges of the bodice neckline. This may not have been ideal but I had no experience with lace and didn't feel like experimenting with my dress. By the time I got to this step of reapplying lace edging to the neckline, my bodice consisted of an outer layer of lace and 3 supporting layers of cotton broadcloth (underlining, lining, backing for lace). All the raw edges had been previously hand basted together.

With a very slight easing of the trimmed lace strip, I started pinning at the center front neck, overlapping left and right neck edges slightly. When placing the lace strip on neckline, I matched the top peak of the scallop with the straight neck edges. When I reached the center back neck edge (where the hook & eye and zipper closures will be), I wrapped 1/2-inch of the lace strip around the base fabric. I basted on top of the pins with a contrast thread to anchor the lace before machine stitching.


Pinned bodice with red basting


*The pins shown above aren't specifically for pinning lace. The "bridal and lace pins" were too fine for the lace fabric and slipped through the holes. These large flat flower pin heads ("flat head pins") keep the pins from slipping through the holes in lace designs. These particular pins are quite thick though and probably wouldn't work well on a delicate lace.

**Side note: I also used satin pins for working with my dress fabric. Satin pins are fine tipped and won't damage your satin material if you don't leave them in very long. (I never left mine in longer than a day but you could probably get away with longer.)

I experimented with some scrap lace and cotton broadcloth (my bodice underlining) to find the best machine stitch for sewing on this lace. I could have hand-stitched the lace in place but I didn't trust that my hand stitching would hold it in place...and I was tired of hand stitching that day.

This may not hold true for all laces but for most, a narrow machine zigzag stitch will anchor the lace in place without shifting (see my stitch dictionary "Machine Zigzag Stitch"). In particular with embroidered laces, the satin cording applied to the larger motifs can cause a machine needle to penetrate the fabric slightly off center. This ruins the clean seam line you were sewing.

Lace with cotton backing--Straight stitched


The zigzag stitch grabs more of net background to anchor the lace.

Lace zigzagged...backside



Lace zigzagged...front (stitching is slightly angled up to the right)


I removed the contrast hand basting stitches after machine stitching the lace edging. The pattern instructions then called for trimming the raw edges of the bodice neckline (in a shape similar to the scallops of the lace) and then overcast stitching the raw edges to prevent fraying.

Neckline finished with one pass of overcast stitching


This looked cheap to me so I made another pass with the hand stitches.

You may have better ideas for how to complete this neckline (please share!!) but I'm pretty satisfied with my first time working with lace. I did find this information below (after I made my dress, of course) that describes several different ways to finish the raw edges when applying lace.


HomeSewingProjects.com "Sewing with Lace"

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