Easy Sewing Steps for Lace Insertion


Lace insertions make a simple top stunning (Butterick 6518)

This is a great way to add stylish detail to a plain garment or to jazz up a dress or top into a designer exclusive. It can also be used to replace a worn, torn or stained section! A lace insertion is a great alternative to having a whole garment in lace.


To add a lace panel, all you will need is an all-over lace fabric or a scalloped lace. The width and length required will depend on where you wish to add it  – around the waist can look fabulous as can across the shoulders or part of the back. Avoid areas that are curved or have darts.

Add a lace panel to the back of this top for a stand out feature. (McCall 6960)

For yoke insertions opt for lace that is at least 6-8cm wide. For waistl/midriff insertions it can be 12 – 15cm wide.

Step by Step guide

  • Lay the lace over the right side of the fabric piece in the position you want it, pin in place and try on the garment to check it looks good . Make sure there is enough to tuck inside the side seams, thus 1.5cm either side.  If adding to the yoke front and back for instance, position it so that it is at least 15mm from the shoulder seam edges but so it goes into the armhole seam. An alternative position is just below the waistline from side seam to the centre front/centre back or just above the waist line to bare the midriff.


  • Carefully unpick the side seam/armhole edge where the lace sides are so that the edge of the lace can be tucked inside the seam. Using a thread to match the lace, stitch all the way around the lace panel, close to the edge, using a straight stitch. For scalloped edges, stitch straight across just above the scallops so that they remain free.


  • Turn the fabric over to the wrong side and carefully snip into the centre of the garment fabric only. Then trim away the fabric from behind the lace panel, leaving a 6mm (1/4”) seam allowance all the way round. At curves or corners, snip into this seam allowance at an angle.
  • Press the seam allowance back over the previous stitching so that it is pressed away from the lace panel. Hand baste in place.


  • Again working from the right side, stitch closer to the lace edge so that you catch the seam allowance in the stitching using a small zigzag stitch. Resew the side seams/armhole to close and neaten sides. Press carefully with a pressing cloth.
A classic easy jacket can be transformed into a unique designer piece with lace inserted panels (Butterick 6495)

Applique or open-toe satin stitch foot

An appliqué foot is great when it is advantageous to see very clearly where you are sewing. Generally it is a short squat foot, made of clear plastic with a wide opening for sideways zigzag stitching and a deep channel on the underside through which concentrated stitching, such as satin stitch, can glide easily. Sometimes it has an open front, others just have the wide aperture. The shorter length of the foot makes it more manoeuvrable for following a particularly intricate design, round lacy patterns etc and of course, around appliqué motifs. An Open Toe Satin Stitch foot is similar, but not as square in shape. Again it has an open front so you can see where it is going to stitch more clearly.


Author: Wendy

I love sewing and being Brand Ambassador for The McCall Pattern Company is a dream job for me. I've sewn all my life, edited sewing magazines, written 17 sewing books and written and starred in 10 DVDs - all on sewing! My aim is to promote sewing using the fabulous pattern ranges from Vogue, Butterick, Kwik Sew and of course McCalls - to show that is a fun and relaxing hobby which can result in stunning results.

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