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Lace Top

Hello. I’m Cheryl from Time to Craft blog. I’m back with a lace top for my teen daughter this time. I like to sew for my family, but it gets more challenging as they grow older. Each time, it is a definite learning experience. I think I got it right with this top.

I have been pushing myself out of my sewing comfort zone. So easy to be stuck in my cotton fabric rut. Using the same techniques and the same materials. Inevitably leading to the same results. So to push my repertoire a bit, I’ve ventured into stretchy fabrics, and also silky. I’ve tried lace too. When the opportunity to try a stretchy lace came along, it seemed too good to miss.

The Fabric is light in weight and lace. It is made up of pink and white threads which show on both sides. It has a definite wrong side, although it could be used either way round. I used the side with the clearer lines, but the other side would give a softer look.

It has a geometric pattern. There are obvious horizontal and vertical lines through out the pattern, which repeats every 8cm one way and around 5cm in the other. I didn’t need to match the pattern, but it wouldn’t be hard to do it.

The lace is thin and has small holes, making it see through. Most garments would need a facing of some sort, or doubling up the fabric, to keep it decent. For this top, I didn’t need to add anything and it wasn’t an issue.

The fabric has a small stretch in one direction. Useful to give a bit of ease to a garment but not enough to make it an alternative for a knit fabric. I used the stretch horizontally, which worked perfectly for the garment I made, as it is pulled on with only minimum fastenings. Using the non-stretch vertically meant that the top was strong enough not to be pulled out of shape by the weight of the garment and I didn’t need to add any strengthening straps on the inside.

I didn’t find it frayed to any great extent. The fabric was easy to wash. I line dried it and it kept its shape. I did hang it so the stretch went along the line, just in case.

I decided to use this to make a top for my oldest teen daughter. A brave move, as most parents of teenagers may agree. So much easier when they are smaller and are happy to wear whatever you make them. Sixteen year olds have firm ideas about what they like to wear. After a bit of discussion and sketching, we settled on the pattern Simplicity 5234. I’ve used this before with my other teen daughter. She loved it as it gives so many different combinations to mix and match.

I adapted the pattern, this time, to make it a top, rather than a dress. I made view B without the pockets. I took the hemline up so it sat on her hips. Also changed the back tie into a band, which is secured with poppers. This was a good compromise. A step away from a party dress she may have worn as a seven year old.

She loves lace. I noticed that she chooses clothes that have a splash of lace in places that don’t need facing. I copied this idea and left out the facing layer to the yoke. The sleeves have no facing either. I used French seams throughout. I did wonder if they would show where two pieces of lace joined, but they seem to be hidden thanks to the geometric pattern.

The shoulders require an easing gathering stitch. I decided to fit it without and carefully ease the fabric into shape, which worked perfectly and I could concentrate on avoiding any buckling.

I cut out a size 12 for her, as she is tall and slender. I find that just as in the case of adult clothes sizing, the suggested age size is best ignored. We used the measurements and added the length where we needed it. I should have made the sleeves slightly longer, but instead kept the hemming to the minimum. The lace could almost be left unhemmed as it don’t think it will fray. I may yet add a band at the bottom of the sleeves to add a bit of length. The beauty of making your own clothes!

I used an orange woven fabric that was in my stash for the body, as it gave a slight contrast to the pink. All pink would have been too much. This way the lace is not lost. The orange fabric frayed like crazy, so I was doubly grateful that the lace didn’t.

The style of this pattern really suits her shape. The tie at the back brings it in at the waist, with no fussy bow. I love the solid block as a contrast to the lace. Feminine without being over the top. I think she will wear it more in the warmer months. Bless her. She put up with me insisting on taking the photos outside.

If any of you are thinking of sewing for teenagers, I suggest looking at their existing wardrobe and identify any common themes. Also use drawings and drape the fabric to show how it will look. Bring them in as a designer, so they feel part of the process, but at the end of the day you need to face up to the possibility that it may never be worn. I have my fingers crossed with this one.

Thanks for reading,

Cheryl @ Time to Craft

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