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Make Your Own: Navy Top with Applied Cream Lace Trim

Sew Stylish – Spring 2009
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Cotton and lace. Create a fresh look for summer by adorning any simple garment with lace trim.

Oscar de la Renta’s spring 2009 ready-to-wear collection radiated with class and sophistication. With color-blocking in chic reds, blues, grays, and a mix of navy and white, each look was a marvel of stylish elegance. One look consisted of a simple sheath dress adorned with crochet lace appliqué. Inspired by this technique, I chose Simplicity SewStylish pattern 2657 and coordinated cotton lace appliqué with navy, cotton stretch fabric.

Here, I’ll show you how to apply trim to create your own designer-inspired look. You can use any combination of widths and styles you like to adorn your garment—the more variety, the more eye-catching the style. It is best, though, to apply trim of the same fiber because cotton and polyester lace react differently to heat, steam, and water. By using a simple pattern with a few seams and trim galore, it’s easy to create your own version of runway style.

pattern inspiration
Original inspiration

design sketch for top with lace trim
Drawn design of the lace top

Plan the Design

A vast array of trim is available in fabric shops and online, but natural and white trim is the easiest to find. For a list of online sources, see p. 90.

1 Sketch it out first. This helps you determine the width of the trim you need and how many yards your design requires.

2 Find coordinating trim that is similar in color and quality. Mixing stretch trim with nonstretch trim is a no-no. After washing a garment with mixed fiber contents, you are bound to run into trouble. Be sure to wash cotton trim before you sew it so it will shrink less when you wash the finished garment.

Put the Pieces Together

Sew the top according to the pattern directions, and prepare to apply the trim. Be sure to test the placement of the trim before you attach it to the garment; this ensures that the trim will lie appropriately on your figure.

place the trim
Place the trim

1 After you sew the top, lay the garment flat. Place the trim as planned in your sketch. Then play with it to determine the final composition.

secure the trim
Secure the trim

2 Explore alternatives for securing the trim. Instead of basting or pinning before you sew, try a fusible adhesive spray such as 606 Spray and Fix. This aerosol spray turns any fabric, trim, or stabilizer into a fusible product. Just spray, allow it to dry 2 to 3 minutes, and then fuse it with an iron set to medium heat. Practice before you try this technique on a garment.

sew the trim to the top
Sew the trim in place

3 Sew the trim in place. Stitch around the edges of the trim, using a straight stitch.

Hot Tip: If you are unable to find the exact color you are looking for, simply dye your cotton- or rayon-based trim the desired color. After dyeing, let the trim dry, and press it before you apply it to a garment. Keep in mind that polyester will not soak up the dye evenly. 

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