Sewing the lace applique to the t-shirt
Pinning the applique
First mark the center front of your neckline. You can eyeball it or be more precise by folding the front sleeve seams together. Mark the center front with a pin.
Next fold the neckline of the applique in half at the top and mark the center front. My applique has a really obvious center front line, but yours might not. Either way, match the center front of the applique to the center front of your t-shirt.
Pin the applique to the t-shirt all the way around.
Stitch the lace applique to your t-shirt
Change thread if your applique is a different color than the t-shirt to the thread that matches the lace applique.
Set your sewing machine to a zigzag with a 2.0mm width and 1.5mm length. Stitch down the edge of the applique, keeping your stitches on the applique as much as you can. The zigzag will catch the t-shirt underneath no matter what, but if the the “zig” is on the lace but the “zag” goes off the edge, it’ll look a little less clean.
At this point, you’re done, but you can take it one more optional, but awesome step as I say! Here’s the shirt without the next step:
Stitch the upper part of the lace applique
Lace has sheer parts and not sheer parts. If you want to play that up (and you should because it’s cool!), let’s keep going and finish this off a fun way.
Put on your t-shirt and figure out the lowest point you’re comfortable with exposing. For me, it’s down a couple inches from the neckline. Mark that spot with a pin.
Stitch from the top edge of the applique down to that point that you marked, following the lace motifs. Your goal is to see as little of that stitching as you can, so do your best to stitch right on top of the patterned parts of the lace.
When you get to that low point, stitch back up to the top edge of the lace applique’s neckline. Make sure to keep following the edges of the lace’s patterns.
Cut away some of the jersey
To finish it, turn the whole t-shirt to the wrong side. With your fingers, pinch the jersey away from the lace. Start cutting away the jersey inside the stitching lines you just made at the top of the lace applique. Keep your hand in between the jersey and the applique so you don’t accidentally cut the lace.
The jersey won’t fray, and since you sewed along the motifs, you won’t see it from the right side, so there’s no need to finish the cut edges. Now you can admire the new sheer section of your top!
So that’s all there is to decorating your t-shirt with lace. This is a super easy lace embellishment project, and hopefully, it’ll get you loving on lace appliques!
Video version of the tutorial
Did you make this project? Hit me up on Instagram @elizabethmadethis. I’d love to see your DIY lace applique tee!
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.