Saturday, May 10, 2014

Embellish a Favorite Tee with Vintage Lace

I love tee shirts.  They are cool and comfortable in our Louisiana heat, and I've found some simple ones at Woman Within that fit.  They are soft, light weight, and long.  Perfect.

Except.  They are kind of plain. Then I accidentally ordered two of the same blue.  After the little discount I applied to my order, returning it cost more than the tee.  Oh well, keep that baby.

Then I wore a different tee to has a pretty lace inset across the shoulder seam and sleeve.  
IDEA!  Use my vintage lace to do something like this. Oh yea!

Want to know how I did my version?  Here's the tut~~
Please note that vintage lace does not photograph well (not for me, anyway, but what does?)  It sometimes looks more muddied than it actually is....sorry.

After auditioning a couple of laces and deciding on the heavier one with the flowers, I decided that I wanted the lace to curve around the neckline.  

Now, let me say that this was all done very foolishly, without so much as a tape measure.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I "eyeballed" the whole thing.  First I eyeballed about where I wanted the lace and then eyeballed the curve that I wanted to create.  I live foolishly at times.

Flat, straight lines have to be manipulated to follow a shape.  One way to do that is to create a curve with small darts along the length of the lace.  Since knits easily lose their shape when stitched, I decided to shape the lace before stitching it onto the tee.  

I decided to split this tutorial into two parts: Making the darts, and applying the lace to the tee.

Making the small darts.  I made the darts between the flowers, but use the main motif in your lace, and this will center the motif between the darts.
1. Match the centers of two side-by-side motifs, in this case the flowers, right sides together.  

2. Pin on the wrong side.
3. Stitch diagonally 1/8th to 1/4th inch at the top (where my finger is) and taper to the opposite edge which has no seam allowance.
It took 10 darts that each started at 1/4th inch to get the shape that I needed.  However, if your curved lace is too wide, you can resew the darts and take a deeper seam--1/3 inch deep at the top tapering to 0 on the opposite end.  

Adding lace to the tee.  Double check that you have the curve you need, especially checking that the shoulder seams are covered and there's about a half inch of lace beyond the seams.
1. Pin in place at least every two inches or so.  Set your machine for a zigzag stitch just wide enough to catch the edges of the lace.  Stitch following the top and bottom edges of the lace.  I straightened and flattened the lace as I sewed. Do not stitch the short edges at the shoulders.
2. Turn the tee wrong side out, and carefully trim away the tee fabric behind the lace.  Pull the fabrics away from each other to make a small hole.  (I was able to insert my finger into the hole to protect the lace.)  Using the seam as a guide, follow the curve of the lace.  Leave about 1/4th inch of the knit fabric.  

3. Now work on the shoulder seam.  Snip the corners of the knit so that you can turn the raw edge at the shoulder seam to the wrong side.

4. Pull the lace to the wrong side and pin, making sure the tee fabric is also in place.
5. Change thread to match the color of the tee shirt, and stitch along the shoulder seam so that the seam catches the lace on the inside, the raw edge from cutting away the fabric and the shoulder seam.
6. The finished seams should look something like this.  I did not stitch all the way across the shoulder because I am afraid that would prevent the tee from moving with me.  (I like comfort.)

 I know that some items look good when on a flat surface for a photo, but when worn, they can show mistakes.  Here is my tee being worn and photographed.  

Not exactly easy to snap this pic, but I was able to make it work (sort of). 

Join me for Sunday Quilt Inspiration tomorrow.

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