Friday February 4, 2011


On a cold, gray January day I was walking between the clothes racks at Marshal’s, admiring all the beautiful spring tops.  Long, flowing, lacy tanks and tees in the yummiest rose, cream, and peach hues.  I wanted to pile them all into my cart but I was supposed to be buying church shoes for Jude, so I pressed on.

When I got home I raided my drawers and dipped into my “lace stash”.

A few months ago my friend Susan dropped off a bag of lace at my house, much to my delight it was full of hand crocheted lace, doilies, and lots of other “vintage” style laces.

I also found some tanks and a t-shirt to dress up.

I started with my rose colored tank top. 

I folded it in half and made a crease in the center of the neck line.

I centered the doily and folded it over the neckline and pinned it in place.

I stitched right along the curve of the neck.

Then, I pinned the bottom of the doily and stitched that in to place.

It doesn’t get any simpler than that!

For my next “Romantic top” I used some of my extra wide lace.

I cut it into 5.5 inch strips.

On the unfinished edges I did a narrow double hem, by folding it once and ironing it, then folding it over again and ironing one more time.

I carefully top-stitched the hem and repeated these steps with the other lace strips.

On two strips of lace I simply zig-zaged the top edge but on one piece I did another double hem.
Next, I did a basting stitch along the top edge of each lace strip.  To do a basting stitch, you simply adjust the length of your stitches to the longest stitch, DON’T back-stitch, and leave plenty of thread at either end.

Take the basting thread and gently pull on it.  This will gather up the lace and make it ruffly.

Pin your lace ruffle in place and stitch it onto the tank.  I pined my first layer about two inches from the neckline.

Place the next piece of lace on top of the first, and stitch that into place.  The last piece of lace will be pinned right under the neck line.  Make sure you use the lace that has the finished edge for the top piece.

All finished!

For this one I simply placed lace along the neckline of the shirt and stitched it on.

Have you met this girl?  I call her “mugshot April”.

I love the way they look tucked under a sweater!

I made these for myself using shirts and lace I had on hand, but they would be a lovely Valentine’s gift for a sister, or a girlfriend.  Check the clearance racks for plain colored tees and tanks and add your own personal touch to them.  It’s a simple, easy, unique, and cost-effective gift!

If this doesn’t get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day, then I’d say you a hopeless cause

31 thoughts on “Friday February 4, 2011

  1. MartinTreehouse

    Wow wow wow! I don’t have a sewing machine but just seeing this gave me a desire to go create something… maybe even handstitch some pretties to a tanktop… How cute!!! I love the vintage style !

  2. foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown

    this is PERFECT!! just the other day, i was sewing some lace on the bottoms of leggings for Ava and trying to think of something cute i could do for *me*…this is it! so excited about this…my machine just might have to be humming tonight after the rest of the work for the day is done!
    my favorite is the three tiers of lace down the middle of the tee. and, your mug shot? ha. not even close. love the ruffly sweater you’re sporing, by the way.
    happy rest of your Friday, and a great weekend to you friend!!

  3. lifeisadance

    This is beautiful!! Beautiful creativity, and beautiful pictures! So inspiring! I’ve seen lots of this kind of thing with fabric, but with lace? No! this is so original! Love this! Great [cheap] way to recreate all those beautiful ruffles and feminine things in the stores!

    [came here by recommendation of of grace2be]


  4. redladybug18

    I love your creativity.  If someone had dropped off lace at my house I would have had no idea what to do with it.  Now I’m going to have to try out some of your cute ideas :)

  5. SpazzyMommy

    Amber (grace2be) had recommended your site. I don’t know where I’ve been….this is great stuff! :) You’ve inspired me to get out my sewing machine tonight.  Hope to get you know you better! :)

  6. inanorchard

    @grace2be - Actually Amber that’s a brilliant idea!  Not the hot glue… that wouldn’t work… but you can buy fabric glue.  I’m sure you could attach a doily of a bit of lace with fabric glue.  I do have an Etsy site but it’s in vacation mode.  I need to rework my inventory a bit.

  7. inanorchard

    @JsSteph7 - Thanks!  It feels kind of silly to take pictures of one’s self, but I think it’s important to show what the clothes look on.  Anything can look good hanging on a hanger or flattened out on a table, the real test is “How does it look on your body.”

  8. lin789

    i came here on amber’s recommendation and am so glad i did.  i’ve been drumming up little valentine projects for my girls to do and the one Rachel showed with the match boxes is adorable! as are these sweet lace ideas to turn the sizzle up on an ordinary tank top. thanks for the great ideas!

  9. inanorchard

    @ABAHM - Inherited handmade doilies?!  You’re a lucky girl   I’ve been looking for some larger doilies to sew onto my long skirts.  They’ve become quite popular, and aren’t as easy to find anymore.


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