Hems: Lace Copy

In this module you will learn how to hem lace that has a border.  As you look at the lace hem edging on a dress, look at the side of the train.  This area curves and it is easier to see where the border has been added onto the lace.  Sometimes, the front bodice and skirt are fashioned from the sheet lace using the border as it is woven onto the lace.  You will be able to figure out where to raise the hem if you look to the side of the train to see how they trimmed the border they used to edge the train. Use this as a guide but realize that you need to use an artistic eye to determine how best to blend the new hem into the skirt lace.

Next, mark with a pin the center front of the hem and another pin on the lace high enough that it won’t be covered by the border when you raise it to the new height.

Before you begin cutting your lace, determine the pattern on the lace you want to trim at.  If it has a dramatically high point, taper 12” up to that high point from each side so you don’t make holes in your lace.  If you do end up with a few holes, you can always stitch a piece of lace over the hole.  You can mark with pins or an invisible pen your cutting line including your 12” taper at each edge.

Carefully cut the lace and netting backing along lace pattern you have chosen. The more ups and downs, swirls and leaves the better. A straight line will not blend into the lace easily.

Raise the lace up to the new height. Start at the center front and work out to the sides. Gently taper the lace border back out to the original hem at the side seam or beyond if necessary. Pin the border in place with plenty of pins.

Now you are ready to stitch.

Use clear thread on your machine and drop your feed dog.  Some machines drop the feed dog automatically when you set your machine to mending or freehand sewing. Each brand of machine is different.

Stitch the border back onto the lace skirt using the clear thread and free hand stitching.  Be sure to hold the lace skirt and the border tightly. You are basically using your hands like an embroidery hoop to keep the laces tightly in place. Take your time. No need to rush this step.

After you have the border stitched on, trim the extra lace on the back of the skirt away from the new border.  Leave 1/8th of an inch to 1/4th of an inch as seam allowance. Then trim any lace from the front that needs to be tidied up.

The most important step is to press the new hem face down on a fluffy towel. This really helps the lace border to blend into the skirt lace and smooth out any little puckers from stitching.


Be sure to practice this technique on lace scraps and yardage lace with a border before you tackle a real wedding dress.  Practice until you feel confident.  Use a variety of different kinds of lace and make sure to adjust your tension so that the clear thread stitches look good.