Our members requested a program devoted to learning about the different types of lace and how to work with it. February seemed to be the perfect month for this exploration.

Research for this presentation uncovered a ton of resources, from in-depth histories of the various types of lace to advice about how to work with lace that ranges from couture to kitschy and everything in between. Here are some resources we found helpful.

The gold standard when it comes to working with fine lace in the couture manner is Susan Khaljie’s classic book, Bridal Couture, Fine Sewing Techniques for Wedding Gowns and Evening Wear. This classic reference is no longer in print in hard copy and a used copy can set you back about $100 or so. But don’t despair. You can buy the electronic version of the book on CD from Susan’s web site at the link above. The book has an entire chapter devoted to lace.

Another authoritative resource that explains the differences in various types of lace, provides a full lace vocabulary and gives helpful guidance for working with lace is Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide. The second edition was published in 2008 and it is available in paperback and electronic formats. Claire Shaeffer also talks about working with lace in the revised and updated edition of her book Couture Sewing Techniques.

Surprisingly, you don’t have to look to couture technique books to develop a solid foundation for working with lace. A comprehensive chapter on lace is in the Singer Reference Library’s Sewing Specialty Fabrics. This out-of-print book is widely available from used bookstores that sell on the web and is an excellent reference. Some of the other books from the Singer Reference Library series include part of the content from the Specialty Fabrics title, but that one is the most complete.  There are lots of pictures and very clear instructions that are easy to follow.

If you prefer to learn from video instruction, Alison Smith has a Craftsy course called “The Essential Guide to Sewing with Lace.”

For in-depth information about the origins of lace, how lace is made and pretty much anything having to do with lace that you might be curious about, check out The Lace Guild website.

The unique requirements of working with guipure lace are covered in Susan Khaljie’s article “Couture Lace Skirt” in the October/November 2014 issue of Threads Magazine, as well as in her Bridal Couture book. In addition, Lisa Hawkes documented the process by which she made a stunning guipure lace graduation dress for her daughter in a three-part blog post four years ago. She has since launched a new web site at  and, in response to requests from us as well as many others, has republished the posts with an updated introduction. Here is a direct link to Part 1 of the series.

As part of the program we had a variety of laces to show off and to pass around.

Look at these 4 beautiful swatches! 

Wendy showed us some of her interesting laces as well as some examples of how to use lace in projects Bottom left is a sample Wendy made in a Susan Khalje workshop at COD several years ago, showing using lace as an appliqué. The bottom right is a sample made to show how easy it is to add lace to silk. Great for use in lingerie and other undergarments. 
Stephanie brought the top to her 2 piece wedding dress that she made back in 1994 to show off sewing with lace. Goes to show you that anyone can work with lace! This was made with her mother and without any lace working experience. I think it came out quite beautiful.

We had a full house of members to enjoy the excellent lace program.

The beautiful sunset colors reflecting off the clouds over the lake. Such a beautiful evening to get together with friends to talk sewing!

We also had several members who had sew and tell this evening. Sew and tell is always a very popular segment of our monthly programs. It is inspiring to see what everyone is working on and it is also a great place to ask for opinions and ideas of works in progress.

Liz brought us a shirt that she has been working on. Look at those lovely striped details and hidden button placket! 
Nancy showed off her lovely shirt, gave us a demonstration of self measuring measuring tapes. Making it easier for one to take accurate measurements by yourself. She brought 4 with her and they were quickly gobbled up! Nancy also shared dates for upcoming fitting seminars. 

It was a great evening learning about lace. Wendy has inspired us all to go home and dream of ways to add some beautiful lace garments to our wardrobes!

Keep an eye on the calendar page for upcoming dates! March program will be all about cuffs.

Happy Sewing!

2 thoughts on “Laceology

  1. Thank you Steph for teaming up on the presentation and this post. Great job on both. And thanks for the great photos from the Skybox.

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