Monday, January 22, 2018

title pic How to Sew Modest Clothing Using Stretch Lace Trims

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on May 24, 2011

modest clothing - v-neck with lace insert

An otherwise low top is now not only modest, but much prettier than it would have been otherwise!


bright floral print dress

The "before" pictures for a scoop-neck knit dress.

For years, I struggled with trying to find modest clothing in the stores, but without much success.  It seemed like everything that was even remotely pretty was also either too low, too short, too tight, or all of the above!  Any time I went shopping at the mall I would usually come back on the verge of tears, after another unsuccessful attempt to find an outfit that was beautiful without being revealing.  Except for the extremely plain, unisex looking t-shirts (which I do not admire at all!) every top I could find was low-cut, and many of the necklines were not compatible with camisoles.  Some were much too dressy to wear a plain, white tank underneath, or were too wide in the shoulders for a camisole to work with.  I desperately wished there was a way to make the lovely tops I saw modest to wear, but most were so low-cut that I couldn’t think of a solution.  Occasionally I would find a nice shirt to add to my wardrobe, but for the most part I had to stick with plain styles that were not my cup of tea! 

narrow red stretch lace trim

A gorgeous cranberry colored lace, manufactured in France by an elite textile company.

Then a few years ago, a couple of stretch lace manufacturers which do production runs for the clothing industry started opening up their products to some larger fabric brokers and sewing stores.  There had been some demand for it for awhile, and at one point the bridal department at one of America’s largest fabric stores had made a written notice that read: “Please note: the Bridal Department does not carry stretch lace and has no way of getting it.” 

make a low-cut neckline modest

The "after" photograph of this neckline filled in with stretch lace.


But all that changed around 2008, when shipments of stretch lace trims made their way into the notions department of a local fabric store.  Oh, I was so excited!  For the first time in what seemed like ages, I was able to wear fashionable, beautiful, and still modest tops!  Now any time I saw a shirt on sale, I no longer thought to myself, “Oh, I can’t wear that because it’s too low,” but I realized, “I could put stretch lace in that and it would be just fine!”  And as I altered my tops I found that these shiny stretch laces actually made the tops much prettier than they would have been otherwise! 

Now I am thrilled to be able to offer the same products online for seamstresses all over the country to use for the same purpose!  One lady wrote me, “Thank you so much!  This has made it possible for me to finally buy clothes again!” 

I like to keep a stash of laces in my sewing box, of several different style laces so I can whip out a piece of stretch lace whenever I find a new blouse in a store.  For instructions on how to fill in a low-cut neckline, you can purchase our Modest Clothing e-book here which shows detailed photographs and instructions for making nearly any style of clothing modest!  But I’ve also included photo instructions in this post for how to combine multiple pieces of lace to create a wider panel that is perfect for lower cut tops! 

how to sew a modest shirt or top

For this blouse I filled in the neckline, and added a frill of the same stretch lace at the sleeve ends to tie it all together.


Of course this is just one of the many uses for these beautiful lace trims.  I’ve used them on the tops of plain camisoles, gathered into a ruffle down the front of a sweater, and ruffled at the ends of both short sleeves and 3/4 length sleeves.  I’d love to hear from you if you’ve come up with any other uses for them.

ruffled lace frill on short sleeve

A ruffled frill of stretch lace at the sleeve end.


ruffled gathered lace at a sleeve end

To enliven a plain sweater, gather stretch lace 1/4" from the edge and sew onto the end of your 3/4 length sleeve.


modest casual top with stretch lace trim

This lovely knit blouse is trimmed with ruched stretch lace at the neckline, an elegant finish for a dressy top.


Visit this post for instructions on how to make a narrow lace into a wide panel for low necklines.

Happy Sewing!