How to Add Lace to A Tank Top


Who doesn’t love lace?  It’s currently one of my favorite ways to add some interest and fun to otherwise basic clothing items.  

Enter this blue tank!  It’s the perfect tank for summer, a lightweight knit, in a flowy pattern.  As a mom who is constantly chasing after two active boys, I love that I can move freely in this tank without feeling like my clothing is coming undone with every move I make. However, I felt like it was missing a little pizzazz, so I decided to add some lace to the hem.

Adding lace to a hem is one of the easiest ways to add lace to an already completed garment, however, since this tank has a scooped hem on the front and back, you’ll need to do just a couple of extra steps to ensure a professional looking finish.  But don’t worry-it’s still an incredibly easy project!

Sewing Instructions

Choose the lace you want to add!  This is the fun part.  Or the hard part if you’re like me.  There are SO many good choices that it’s hard to narrow it down to one!  I chose a lace with an unfinished top edge because I knew I would be sewing it to the underside of a hem and I wanted it to lay flat.  If you want a ruffled lace hem, you can buy lace that has already been ruffled.  Just be aware that it may add some unwanted bulk to your hem.  

  1. Start with a basic tank top (or shirt or dress!) This basic tank top was made using a variation of the shift dress pattern we have here
  2. Begin by pinning your lace to the hem edge of your garment.  I folded the top of my lace down and pinned it that way.  The lace was a little wider than I wanted, and I also wanted that extra layer to help secure the lace to the hem.  However, you could trim it to the width you want and sew it with just one layer. The bottom edge of the lace should lay flat, but the top edge that is pinned should have a little bit of extra fabric gathered in order to follow the scoop of the hem.  Just pin this as you go and make sure that the bottom edge that will be visible is laying flat.
  3. After you’ve pinned all the way around the hem, cut your lace with an extra half inch on each edge and then sew the seam.
  4. Sew the lace onto the hem.  I sewed on the outside hem just to make sure that I was sewing my seam in line with the seam already sewn as the initial hem.  Since this was a lightweight hem, I didn’t trim the hem before I added the lace. I sewed my first seam approximately 1/8” above the seam already sewn for the hem.  
    • Optional Step: If you don't like the look of the double seam on your garment, you can stop at one seam.  I knew I wanted my lace to be securely attached and I wanted it to look a bit more finished, so I added another seam 1/8” below the original seam so that I ended up with 3 lines sewn onto the hem. 
  5. Now, this is the last additional step if you are sewing lace onto a scooped or cropped hem.  Because of the scoop at the sides, there was some extra lace bunching right at the top of the scoop, which looks messy and adds bulk to the garment (and my waistline!).  To fix this, turn the garment inside out, fold it flat on the side seam and make sure to line up the lace carefully on the hem.  Then, you will sew an angled seam from the bottom of the lace to the top of the lace that is visible. I made sure the points of my lace were lined up so that when I’ve sewn the seam, there won’t be an uneven section of the lace hem.
  6. Iron that seam!  I will stand on a soapbox and use my big sister, mom voice to tell you to iron your seams!  I’ll do it with a smile, but I’ll still be serious.  I have done my share of speedy, hurried sewing where I neglected to iron my seams and I have never once been happy about that decision.  I promise you that ironing your seams as you sew them will give you a more finished, much more professional looking garment.  I know, and you probably know, that if you don’t love your clothing, you most likely won’t wear it.  And don’t spend your precious time sewing something that you won’t wear just because you didn’t iron it.  Deep breaths.  Big sister lecture over.

Stand back and be proud of the work you’ve done!

Amy Mocas