Yeah, I've been hitting the knits again . . .
A couple weeks ago when I was at Vogue perusing the remnants section, I came across a piece of stretch knit lace. I'd been interested in trying this stuff out, so I picked it up.
I spent some time thinking about what I wanted it to become. I've seen some really cute projects out there using this type of knit as the bodice of a floaty dress, or as in insert in a blouse. But I decided that a practical garment for me would be a lacy tee shirt that I could layer under sweaters or jackets, or over tank tops. So yesterday I got out my trusty Renfrew pattern and went to work.
Because I knew I wanted this to be a layering garment, I thought about ways I could reduce bulk. I ended up eliminating the all the bindings. For the neckline and sleeves, I serged the raw edges then folded them back in a narrow hem, which I stitched down using a tricot stitch (also called a three-step zig-zag) on my sewing machine. You can't see it though, because the white thread disappears into the white lace - that's a good thing! I like the clean edges this finish gave the top.
For the bottom edge, I did away with a hem altogether and cut the front and back pieces so that the bottom edge is the selvedge. This will make the top nice and sleek when I tuck it into a skirt or pants. Also, the Renfrew top as drafted is quite long, so doing away with the hem band shortened it to a length more suitable for tucking in.
The fabric is quite sheer, and I'm pretty sure it's synthetic. The stretch goes both ways, so I was able to choose which way I wanted the motif oriented. I toyed with the idea of tea-dying it, but decided that white would be a more versatile layering color. And honestly, I'm not sure how well a synthetic would tea-dye. By being careful in my cutting and eliminating the bindings, I was able to have a pretty substantial piece left - about 15" x 40" - so I can use this again in the future as an insert. I sewed all the seams on the serger, and just stitched down the hems with the sewing machine, so the inside has a nice, clean finish.
I'm really happy with the way the top turned out, and working with the stretch lace wasn't as difficult as I'd thought it would be. The only downside is that the texture of the lace makes it not the most comfortable thing to wear right next to the skin. But I guess I can suffer for fashion . . . once in a while.