Saturday, June 3, 2017

Layered lace T-shirt

I came across the cream-colored Free People long sleeved t-shirt with the lace inserts in the sleeves and bodice at my favorite T.J. Maxx store. I am always drawn to the Free People clothing line, and I couldn't pass up this cute top at such a great price with all the detail work. Unfortunately, I didn't try it on until I arrived back at the cottage. I have to say I was not thrilled with the length. It seemed awkward, it was not short enough to show off a fit midriff and was not a flattering length, but I liked the design and color, so I went into my overflowing art studio and began pulling out and digging through my stash of unusual and mostly vintage laces, trims, and doilies. There were several potential finds set aside and then to my delight I finally discovered in the pile on the floor in front of me the perfect cream colored sheer embroidered dresser scarf from the 50's! 

I centered and laid the dresser scarf next to the bottom hem of the new t-shirt and chose to cut out of the center of the scarf a slice just an inch and a half wider than the width of the t-shirt.
Then I cut that piece in two but not in half, that would be too boring for me. I chose to make the front panel considerably shorter than the back so I cut approximately one-third the length for the front, and the longer piece was for the back. I liked that the hem on each was already finished in a darling scallop design, so all I had to do was turn over the side seams twice and do a quick straight stitch down the sides, and then I attached the two pieces to the front and back of the t-shirt with a simple zig-zag stitch. I left the sides slits open for ease and fit. 
Originally I was going to use the two scalloped end pieces of the scarf on the bottom of the sleeves folded in a french cuff design and attached to each sleeve  but changed my mind as the length of the sleeves was already very long and I have a tendency to shove up my sleeves when wearing little t-shirts while creating, especially in clay one of my favorite mediums.


When shopping or going through your closet to select a top to embellish, keep in mind that a cream-colored t-shirt is going to be easier to find a matching lace for embellishing it, rather than a colored one unless the colored one has white or cream lace inserts already.

Thrift stores and Etsy are both good places to find vintage laces and a scalloped edge one like the one used here would be best.

It's always a good idea to launder your t-shirt and the lace you will be using before cutting and sewing them together.

What you will need

a cute t-shirt

a lace dresser scarf or doily

thread to match the color of the t-shirt

straight pins

sewing needle




Place the lace scarf along the edge of the hem of the t-shirt and cut approximately 1 1/2'' wider on each side than the t-shirt width.

Carefully fold 1/2'' and iron the sides over twice and then stitch it down evenly along the outside edges. 

Then attach the shorter rectangle of lace to the front of the t-shirt by hand or with a zig-zag stitch with your machine.
Then attach the longer rectangle to the back of the t-shirt.

A photo included as a visual for cutting lace scarf.

Grateful to have it included in the latest issue of 

Altered Couture Magazine!



  1. Very nice save! And nice recognition, too!

  2. I love the Free People styles, too, although I have not yet found one that fit both my body and my budget! I love your remake -- I bet Free People wish they had thought to create that style! :)