Lace Hem Tutorial

‘Where do you go to, my lovely?’

Ha, ha – Karen does whimsical.

Here’s my second version of the Simplicity 2591 pattern, made with fabric bought from Walthamstow market at £1 a metre. Even as I was handing over my money, I began to doubt this choice of cotton. But now that I’ve made it up, I am back in heart with it. It’s so much fun, especially with that lace hem. All in, I reckon this dress cost me £11 including cost of fabric, notions and a proportion of the cost of the pattern. Not bad, eh? I cut it two sizes smaller than my measurements dictate, as recommended by Stitchy Witch. Naughty Simplicity, to mislead your Sewists so.

This second version has made it clear that weightier fabrics like my stretch cotton sateen suit this dress better as they hold the form better. This dress makes for a fun outfit when I’m chilling out, but I don’t think it’s working quite well enough to wear for afternoon tea in places like the posh Langham!

I am wearing it with a beautiful crocheted brooch made by my talented friend, who has an Etsy shop called cupboardofgood. The bonus of this lightweight brooch is that it doesn’t drag down on fabric. I’ve also teamed the dress with another of my charity shop belts, originally from Jigsaw. Charity shop belts are the future!

Once I’d decided to add a lace hem to the skirt, I went on line and dipped into books to try to find a resource. No luck! So, I thought I’d put together my own tutorial on attaching a lace hem direct to the hem of a dress or skirt.

Two warnings before you begin:

1. Ensure that the fabric of the main garment and your lace are of relatively similair weight and stiffness. Attaching a lace hem like mine to a light poplin would probably have been a disaster, as the stiffness of the lace would have made the hem of  your light, floaty fabric very awkward and unwieldy.

2. Be careful with the accuracy of your hem line. That stretch of lace rules a big line under the edge of your hem so any issues with wonkiness will be screaming out at you.

So, on to the tutorial…


Pin the lace to the hem of your dress, lining upside down against the right side of the fabric. The right side of the lace should face down onto the fabric. Leave a decent sized hem on the dress ie one inch.


Sew along the base line of the lace, leaving about a quarter inch hem on the lace.


Press the lace trim, turning your hems up to face the wrong side of the dress fabric.


Press your generous hem on the dress fabric over and over again to form a ‘seal’ over the raw edge of the lace. Alternatively, you could trim these raw hems and apply bias tape. (My friend recently directed me towards these gorgeous Liberty print bias tapes!)


Sew and press the finished hem. You’re done!

To balance the two warnings that I began with, I give you two hidden delights of the lace hem:

1. No hand sewing of a dress hem – hurrah!

2. When the sun comes out, your lace hem does this:

I hope that helped. Any other lace tips out there?

I leave you with a wonderful piece of street art that I saw yesterday on the South Bank. I defy you not to feel happy!

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10 Responses to Lace Hem Tutorial

  1. Pingback: Lace Hem Tutorial « Did You Make That? | My Singer Sewing Machines

  2. Tilly says:

    Lovely dress… and what a bargain! Thanks for the lace hem tutorial – and the art!

  3. Roobeedoo says:

    You’ve definitely conquered that pattern – it is all yours now! Thanks for the tutorial! Oh and thanks for the bias link – they sell it at Clothkits too, but I always like a new shop to browse!

  4. Sara says:

    I love the dress!!!!! It’s so chic and smart, great job!!!! Thank you for the lace hem tutorial, I thought it would be far more difficult than this… or maybe it’s just because you’re making this very easy… 🙂

  5. Roisin says:

    That looks fantastic on you! I’m definitely going to have to take myself down to Walthamstow market one of these days. I’ve just finished making the same dress as well – and I was greatly helped by your blog. I’ll be making more from the same pattern, I think – it’s so classic.

  6. Woohoo, Roisin! Can’t wait to see another version of this dress on t’Internet.

  7. Lena says:

    beautiful dress, just perfect, do you know where I could find pattern, in the link which you put I can not to buy it, and I need it so much, I have to sew dress for saturday and this dress is just so nice, I admire your talent!

  8. Julie Cahn says:

    How do you sew one end of the lace to the other.

  9. Pingback: Eyelet Lace Skirts | Crafty Creations by Maris

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