How To: Underline a Lace Knit Top
Recently, my daughter needed a pretty lace top for her small, casual wedding. After looking EVERYWHERE, even online and ordering only to be hugely disappointed in the quality, I started looking online for fabric, but then she found this pretty lace with a bit of lengthwise ‘give’ at her local JoAnn’s Fabric Store. A ‘dive’ into my Cream/White Box of knit fabric scraps yielded the perfect creamy knit for a lining and just enough (not an inch to spare!). Here are the details on how I created the ‘modesty’ underlining for her very special lace top.
Step 1: Decide how high up the ‘modesty’ lining will extend on Front and Back Green line defines the finished level of the modesty lining. Red line is 1/2″ higher to allow for a top edge finish. Step 2: Fit and determine how to handle the 2 fabrics Fitting the pattern tissue quickly indicated that using the Darted Front from my Terrific T Knit Top pattern would be advisable since: 1. Fabric only had minimal stretch lengthwise (not the usual crosswise greater stretch on knits) 2. A Bust dart would provide a much more flattering and accommodating fit for her very ‘girly’ figure 3. Treating the 2 fabrics as one: in essence the opaque cream knit would be the ‘underlining’ Mark the darts but then stitch them together as ‘one fabric’. I went ahead and did this as twas necessary for the first actual fitting. Finish the upper edges of the modesty lining on both the front and back, making sure that the front had the curve she desired…. Step 3: First Actual Fitting The first actual fitting revealed that the lowest neckline on the pattern was still too high, and also that the straight across ‘modesty lining’ didn’t give the ‘look’ she was after. See the photos and captions below which teach how to cut so that what is done on one side is the same for the other, and how to stabilize this crossgrain stretchy edge.
I actually attached the modesty lining to the lace all across the Back with a zig zag, and also from the side seams to highest point of the curve above each bust on the Front, leaving the inward curve and lowermost point of the modesty lining hang free from the lace.
Step 4: Continue Top Construction With the upper edges of the modesty lining finalized and sewn, construction could continue for the side seams and sleeve insertion. The finished upper edge of this modesty lining just barely goes above the lowermost curve of the armhole.
Step 5: Finish the Neckline Since the finish she desired was a ‘bound’ look with the cream solid fabric, it was easy to ‘see’ at a fitting how it would look, as the cut edge of the lace top would actually be the uppermost edge once the binding was finished.
The photo above shows the 3/8″ seam allowance from stitching the right side of the binding to the right side of the lace neckline edge. Making sure both layers of the seam allowance were tightly wrapped was important as I snuggly wrapped and pinned the binding around to the inside of the neckline.
Sleeve hemlines were bound in a similar fashion.
Step 6: Hemline Finishes The top lower body hemline was stitched with a zig zag, handling both fabrics as one. Shirring each side up to the waist level using 1/8″ narrow elastic pulled to its fullest extent and zigzagged to the side seam created a flattering, curved hemline.