Stretch Lace
by Shannon Gifford
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  • Stretch Lace

    Stretch lace can be fun and funky or elegant and refined. The fibers in stretch lace can vary, but almost all of the stretch laces include the stretch factor of lycra. This stretchiness opens the door of opportunity to sew these fabrics into a wide variety of garment styles. You'll love the easy care, easy sewing, and great look of stretch laces!

    Pretreatment:

    Machine wash, cold water, or hand wash. Machine dry, cool setting, or lay flat to dry. This fabric is truly easy care, but do avoid high heat from dryers or irons.

    Needles and thread:

    Use a stretch needle, size 75/11 for seams. For double-needle hems, use a stretch 2.5/75 needle. Cotton/polyester or all polyester threads are the best choices.

    Interfacing:

    Because of the highly textured surface of lace, and the open areas also involved, a sew-in interfacing will likely be your best choice. Use a stretch mesh/netting fabric, or silk organza cut on the bias, to retain the sheer appearance of the open areas of the lace.

    Seams, Seam Finishes, and Hems:

    Stretch stitches such as zigzag (2.5 length, 2.0 width) and triple/stretch stitches are the best choices for working with stretch laces. Hems can be stitched by hand or by machine. Use a stretch stitch or a twin needle (2.5/75) for machine hems. Stretch lace does not ravel, so a seam finish is not necessary. Also, a binding will likely interfere with the stretch of the lace. If you must finish your seams, use a serger (3 thread, balanced stitch), a cover stitch, or fold the seam allowances to one side and topstitch with a twin needle. Trim away excess fabric after topstitching.

    Pattern suggestions:

    Tee-shirts, tanks, turtlenecks, skirts (with linings), cardigans, swing-style coats. Smooth-surfaced stretch laces are excellent choices for lingerie.

    Creative possibilities:

    Use your stretch lace as an accent fabric with a coordinating onionskin or buttermilk knit. This is also a great use for leftover pieces of stretch lace. Or, for a super-trendy outfit, make a skirt of your stretch lace, and line it in a contrast color lining, matching the lining to an embellished sweater or top.

    Additional Tips:

    Lycra and heat do not marry well; avoid high heat of any kind with stretch laces. Set your iron at "nylon". Also, do not use chlorine bleach when washing fabrics containing lycra.

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