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piecing alencon lace

sewdoc | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

I’m piecing alencon that is 36 inches wide for a wedding dress.  Normally that would be done in a horizontal fashion due to the motif pattern, but has anyone ever cut the galloons off and turned it the other way? 


  1. suesew | | #1

    If using it that way suits your needs I don't know why that wouldn't work. I don't think that lace police will come after you.

  2. Lizothelake | | #2

    Lace has no "Grain" since the threads are either 'embroidered' onto a Net backing, or the lace is itself a complicated form of Net.

    Cutting the Galoon Edges off and sewing them in place to form an edge is a time honoured way of finishing necklines, sleeve hems, the edges of Bolero's, skirts, and anywhere else.

    With an 'Over-Embroidered' type of Lace it is easy to see where to cut off the galloon, and often the embroidery threads very much follow the design so actually work along the design line where you'd want to cut it anyway. Tack the Galloon in place over the edge of the panels of the skirt so that the edge of the galloon is right on the desired hemline/edge. Then CAREFULLY sew in place, use the finest thread you can match to the lace; Cotton Machine Embroidery would be my choice since it comes in an ultra fine weight, or Silk Sewing Thread. Places like the hem which is more than a few feet or a metre or so from peoples eyes you can cheat and use a fine zig-zag stitch ; a medium width and length, not a satin stitch with maximum width and closely set stitches. BUT around places like the neckline, or the wrists, I'd stitch it by hand, and sew one row then a second 1/4" inside it. Then with either carefully trim away any spare of the background lace from the back. Try using scissors especially made for the job of trimming Applique; they do make a difference.

    If an edge has major curves, or the galloon has to turn a corner, trim the lace along the edge of a motif practically to the edge and overlap the dominant motif over the lesser one, so that the galloon lies flat. Which side of the galloon has the 'overlap' and which has none depends on if the curve is convex or concave; a nackline would be concave and have the cuts from the neckline towards the body of the garment so that the area of overlap to be sewn down and trimmed away is at the neckline, while a hemline would usually be convex and thus the cuts would be towards the edge of the hem with the overlap against where the lace is sewn onto the skirt panels.

    Some "Purists" would even overlap and handsew/applique any bodice seams or darts; the trick is to tack with a fine contrasting colour of thread along the actual seam lines, allow lots of seam allowance; especially on the seam allowance nearest to the CF, then overlap the pieces so that the notches and stitching lines match up and the 'nearest to CF' edge is trimmed back to a motif edge, sewn in place, and the under neath area trimmed away. You can achieve a bodice that appears to have been constructed without a single seam yet has all the curves and shape of a multi-seamed garment.

    Along the hemline of a dress one might want to layer in a single thickness of Silk Organza; Silk not Cotton Organdie or Nylon Organdie; it comes in pure white and sometimes also in an 'Ivory' shade, but can be tea-dyed, or dyed with an "Acid Dye" to match a distinct shade. Traditional hem stiffeners such as "Horsehair Crinoline Tape" are too heavy to use, backing the galloon with Organza will add a barely visible facing, and prevent toes and heels from catching into the lace! You'll have to stitch the galloon to the organza along the hem though.


  3. alotofstitches | | #3

    Yes, you can cut the galloon edges away and re-attach where you want them.  THREADS, April/May 2000 has an article on lace, In Love With Lace, that might be helpful.  Another that might help since you're making a wedding gown is THREADS, Feb/March 1992, What The Patterns Don't Tell You, Wedding gown advice from a New York designer.  I'll soon start a wedding gown that has a lace coat made from point d'spirit with lace motifs spaced 12-15" apart and then with the lace galloon border all around the neckline, front opening and onto the train and the sleeves edges.  I'll zigzag the lace motifs with 1 1/2-2 width using the clear thread to the point d'spirit and the scalloped edges too.  The  lace scallop finished bottom edge will be placed even with the cut edge of the point d' spirit and the "cut" edge  will be clipped  just enough for it to conform to the curves and then zigzagged.  The p.d'spirit and extra lace will be cut away from beneath the lace border after all is sewn in pplace.

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