Adding Lace to a T-Shirt
This post is part two in a series celebrating 125 years of the BERNINA company. Each post will bring you a little more of the history of BERNINA, along with modern inspiration. For the first post in this series about hemstitching, click here. As part of the celebration, we have a giveaway for you! Scroll down the post to see how you can enter for a chance to win!
Originally known by the founder’s name of Gegauf, BERNINA got its current name after Fritz Gegauf who took over the company from his father in 1928. The name BERNINA comes from Piz Bernina, the highest summit in the eastern Alps. The first household sewing machine, the BERNINA 105, was created by Fritz Gegauf in 1932. This machine was a great success, but Mr. Gegauf further developed the machine into the first zigzag machine, the BERNINA 117, in 1938. In 1945, the first portable electric zigzag free arm sewing machine hit the market and by 1963, BERNINA had produced one million zigzag sewing machines.
These two innovations – the free-arm and zig-zag stitch – are still vital to sewing today, and were the inspiration for this project.
Whether you are wanting to give new life to a favorite old tee, or you want to dress up a ready-to-wear shirt, adding a little lace can go a long way!
I love the look of lace edging on sleeves, and the free arm makes it easy to do! I’m using the B 350 for this project. It has all the features I need to complete the project with ease.
Materials to Add Lace to a T-Shirt
• Double-scalloped stretch lace – enough to go around the circumference of your sleeve hem plus ½” (twice this amount if using a single-scalloped lace)
• Polyester sewing thread (in a color to match your lace)
• Reverse Pattern Foot with Clear Sole #34
• Overlock Foot #2A (optional)
• 75/11 Stretch needle
• Tula Pink Hardware large ring micro-tip scissors
• Tape Measure
In honor of BERNINA’s 125th anniversary, I wanted to add a touch of gold to my project, so I was thrilled when I found this fantastic gold-flecked tee and gold lingerie lace!
To add lace to the sleeves of a stretchy garment like a t-shirt, you need stretch lace (like lingerie lace) so the sleeve can still stretch as you put it on.
To get started, I first measure the circumference of my sleeve hem.
I add 1/2” to this measurement and cut my lace to that length.
I only need to cut one length because I’ll only be using one side of the lace for each sleeve. I trimmed along the pattern in the middle of the lace to give it more interest than a straight cut. Using micro-tip scissors will make it easier to cut away the delicate parts of the lace.
Next, I need to make a cuff out of my lace. I place the ends of the lace right sides together. Before I stitch, I insert a new, 75/11 Stretch needle. A stretch (or ballpoint) needle is perfect for my delicate knit fabric because it won’t break the fibers. A sharp needle could leave little holes or runs in my fabric.
You can stitch a ¼” straight seam along the cut edge, but because I wanted a finished edge, I chose stitch #8, the double overlock stitch. This stitch will sew my seam and overlock at the same time. I used Overlock foot #2A. The edge of the lace aligns with the pin of the foot, and that little pin keeps the fabric flat so the zig zag portion of the stitch won’t bunch up my lace as it stitches.
Now I’m ready to pin my lace cuff to my sleeve hem. I align the seam in my cuff with the seam at the bottom of the sleeve. As I pin, I make sure that the top scalloped edge of the lace is slightly above the hem of the sleeve.
Once I have pinned everything in place, I’m ready to sew on my lace. This is where the free-arm of the sewing machine comes in very handy! I simply slide the sleeve onto the free arm (lace side toward the body of the machine). This will make it so easy to stitch on the lace – no need to worry about keeping the backside of the sleeve out of the way while you sew!
We need to use a zig-zag stitch to attach our lace. Why? Just like we need the tee and the lace to stretch, the stitch needs to stretch also! Stitching the lace on with a straight stitch could cause the stitch to break when you try to stretch the garment.
Using a clear zig-zag foot (#34 Reverse Pattern Foot with Clear Sole) and a zig zag stitch (3 mm width and 2 mm length), I stitch along the top scallop of the lace, aligning my zig zag just to the inside of the top edge of the lace. Using the clear foot will make it easier for me to follow the curve of the lace, as I can see where I am going.
Use caution not to stretch the fabric as you sew, but allow the feed dogs to feed the fabric evenly. Use the quick reverse button to back stitch a few stitches at the beginning and end.
To make the turns in the dips of the scallops, engage needle stop down. When you come to the bottom of the dip, stop with the needle in the fabric.
Use the free-hand system to lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric. This way you never have to take your hands off the work!
Now, remove the project from the machine and repeat with the other sleeve.
Optionally, you can trim away the t-shirt hem from behind the lace. I like this look as it makes the lace look like it was part of the design of the garment instead of an afterthought. Turn the tee wrong side out and carefully trim away the hem of the sleeve about 1/8” away from the zig-zag stitching.
All done! So easy to do, and it makes a simple tee seem dressy!
One lucky WeAllSew fan will win an assortment of BERNINA sewing machine needles!
BERNINA needles provide the highest standard of quality for all brands of domestic sewing machine. The quality and choice of needle have a significant influence on the quality of the sewing and embroidery results. This prize package includes one package of Microtex needles, one package of Universal needles, one package of Stretch needles, one package of Quilting needles, and one package of Jeans needles!
To enter, post a comment below with an answer to the question, “Which sewing application do you use the zig-zag stitch with most often?” The giveaway is open to comments through Thursday, February 8th, good luck!
Congratulations to the winner of the BERNINA needle assortment, WeAllSew reader @sewingmom9!
The contest is open to residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. One comment per fan. Comment must be submitted to WeAllSew.com blog by Thursday, February 8 at 11:59 PM Central Time. Winner will be chosen randomly from comments. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond to claim the prize.
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I like to use the zigzag stitch most often to baste quilted projects together. It is a versatile and consistent stitch, no matter what length and width I select.