Start your sewing adventure with us.    Join Seamwork

Articles on this site were all published prior to 2017 and this site is no longer updated. Please visit our current Articles, Patterns, and Classes for the most up-to-date content and products.

Decorative elements: Lace appliqués

What are sewing blogs for if not to share our triumphs and tribulations? If you follow my personal blog, you may have seen a skirt (pictured above) I made back in April 2009. It was a simple A-line shape made in red poly-cotton twill. I carefully cut out some shapes from scraps of my mum’s curtains and applied them to the skirt with a zigzag stitch. A simple and effective way to turn a ‘meh’ garment into a ‘wow’ garment I thought. Job done.

Except that was not the end of the story. These lace panels soon began to rip after a couple of wears, even before I considered laundering the skirt. As the rips got worse, I eventually had to come out of the self-denial that it still looked ok. I really did love this skirt and the acceptance came only after a polite and timely observational remark from my boyfriend! The only thing to do was to unpick them and apply a different form of decoration. I was pretty gutted as I loved the effect of the delicate silhouetted shapes against strong background. Recently I have been day-dreaming of trying something similar again. However, I refuse to be burnt a second time! This time I’m on the hunt for lace appliqués that should stand up to both wear and washing better than my DIY version did. Let me share with you some of the most special lace appliqués you can pick up on etsy:

Imagine this cute pair of hearts applied to the shoulders of a jacket or blouse, on patch pockets or even the curved yoke of the Ceylon dress.

How stunning would this neck piece look on the simplest navy or black shift dress?

For something even more whimsical, these black butterflies would look enchanting fluttering across a dress such as the Eclair or Chantilly made in a pale shade.

I’m not too sure quite what I would do with these incredible cream medallions, but I think it would involve red.

Once again, I think this bouquet applique would work best of the world’s least fussy dress to avoid any residual bridal vibe.

And last but not least, my own personal favourite, love birds! Have fun with these, fellow sewers, but please leave one of the sets of birds for me! How would you use this type of decoration?

Zoe Edwards



January 27, 2010 #

All those etsy lace pieces can be had at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL, for $2 each. Yes, $2 each. Anyhow, I’d caution that these need to be washed or at least pre-shrunk before use. Better yet dye them! Then they’ll be really stunning.

The Cupcake Goddess

January 27, 2010 #

Oh so inspiring! I must say I would probably collect all of these pieces and feature them as you have done on a skirt. Having the birds here with some butterflies there, a garden of sorts. Really beautiful. I’m so sorry the skirt appliques did not fair well. It was so brilliant looking. I hope you can find some new appliques perfect for it!


January 27, 2010 #

I love the idea of the butterflies fluttering up one side of a skirt panel or maybe on the front / back shoulder of a top / dress. I’ve never done this but I would be tempted to experiment with dyeing white lace appliques to avoid the ‘bridal’ feel, then applying them to strongly contrasting block colours.


January 27, 2010 #

I actually had a dream last night about a lace appliqued skirt… I’m going to try to recreate it now that I’ve had even MORE inspiration! so pretty!

Shelly Figueroa

January 27, 2010 #

How very pretty. The butterfly idea is my favorite. I need to get out of my house pants and into pretty skirts for my day wear. This is a great inspiration.