neck line


Print version of this lesson.

Previous lessons: Lesson 1, Lesson 2, and Lesson 3.

Wider edging (7 ⁄8″) is lovely for the hemline but too wide for the neckline and sleeves. Many times, you want a matching edging lace in two widths, a narrow and a wide, but can only find the wider. Reducing the width of the lace is easy to do and your laces will always match. The dress shown has lace on both neck and sleeves that were 7 ⁄8″ and reduced to 3 ⁄8″. Refer to REDUCING WIDTH OF LACE EDGING if you need to do the same.

  1. The lace at the neck will be stitched between the outer bodice and the lining using an 18″ piece of 3 ⁄8″ lace edging or an 18″ piece of 7 ⁄8″ lace edging reduced to 3 ⁄8″. Refer to REDUCING WIDTH OF LACE EDGING if needed.

2. Gather the 3 ⁄8″ lace to fit the neckline. At each end of the lace, fold the raw edge under 1 ⁄8″ and 1⁄8″ again. Start and stop the lace 5 ⁄8″ from bodice back edges (which is the seam allowance that will eventually stitch the outer bodice to the bodice lining). Instead of folding 1 ⁄8″ and 1 ⁄8″ again, the cut edge of the lace can be angled up into the neckline with the scalloped edge stopping at the 5 ⁄8″ back seam. Pin.

3. Stitch the gathered 3 ⁄8″ lace to neckline a bit below the 1/4″ stay stitching line which would be about 3 ⁄8″.


a. Trim width to 1/4″ more than the width you need. In this case, we are trimming 7 ⁄8″-wide lace down to a width of 5 ⁄8″.

b. Set machine to zigzag (W=3.0, L=1.0).

c. Cut a length of quilting or regular polyester sewing thread (a thread that will not break easily) about 5″ longer than your length of lace. Tie a chunky knot at the end of the thread. This thread will be referred to as the gathering thread.

lesson 4d. Place this gathering thread a scant 1/4″ in from newly cut edge with knotted end extending 1″ beyond the beginning of lace. Attach an open-toe or J-foot. Zigzag (stitch #1-10, W=3.0, L=1.0) (photo 17) over the gathering thread with the right swing of the needle “in the air—stitching on nothing” and just missing the edge of the lace. The left swing of the needle stitches into the lace, covering the gathering thread and rolls the raw edge of the lace over the gathering thread. Take care not to catch the gathering thread in the stitches (photo 18). As discussed earlier, this zigzag technique is called “rolling and whipping,” and is most often used as a way of finishing a raw edge of fabric. The ties were finished with a rolled and whipped edge. Essentially, you are creating a new heading on the lace.

e. Once “rolling and whipping” is complete, knot the other end of the gathering thread. You do not want to accidentally pull the gathering thread out of the newly created heading. Now, this gathering thread can be used for gathering  if needed. NOTE: Parchment colored lace, black sewing thread and red quilting thread are shown for visibility. You should always use thread that matches your lace. So, for this project, I used white.



1. See step 17 on pattern guide sheet to join skirt to bodice.

2. Join bodice to bodice lining as directed in steps 20 & 21.