THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

May 19, 2007

Lingerie Sewing With Machine Embroidery Stabilzer

Filed under: Embellishment,Lingerie — phyllisc @ 2:57 pm

Whew – sorry I’ve been away for so long! The past few weeks have been super busy (new job, end of school year activities, holidays, etc.)

It’s been crazy, but I did mange to finish this gown. This is a gift to Diva Mary Beth, who as many of you are aware, has been receiving radiation and chemotherapy treatment. The goal of this project was make her something simple and fresh. This pattern is a lovely Burda WOF style from 1993, and I saved that issue because this is so simple and womanly. I think you could adapt Simplicity 4180 for a very similar look. This project turned out pretty well, and it was not as hard as you might think because I used machine embroidery stabilizer (Pellon Sol-U-Web) in the application of the lace. There are generally two types of water soluble stabilizer for fine fabrics: clear rolls or sheets that look like plastic wrap, and then types such as Sol-U-Web, which is a mesh. I prefer the mesh type because it doesn’t dry out.  This is very simple style , just five pattern pieces, and it relies on one layer technique with no facings or interfacings of any kind. The lace application may look really difficult, but you take your time and use the right materials you can do something just like this.

Trimming & Placing the Lace

The lace itself was a rayon Chantilly galloon about 18 inches wide, and it was trimmed around the flower motifs to create an interesting transition to the beige silk charmeuse.  The seam allowance for the bodice pattern piece were removed at center front, and the point of the scallops were placed along that line – the scallops form the new finished edge of the center front. The lace is pinned and then hand basted to the bodice pieces.  Also, notice the small portion of the scallop on the inside of the shoulder seam – this represents the seam allowance.  The lace was placed this way because I wanted a perfect scallop to frame Mary Beth’s neck at the shoulder.  The piece on the right has been pre-pinned, the one on the left has been basted and the pins removed.

Adding the Stabilzer

The fashion fabric is a pre-washed stretch silk charmeuse. Pre-washing makes this fabric very soft and vintage looking, so I needed the stabilizer to keep the two layers from shifting. Below you can see in this (fuzzy- sorry!) photo the back bodice with the stabilizer, attached with a temporary, water soluble spray adhesive. Also – here’s a hint – never spray the fabric. Spray the stabilizer and then pat it gently onto the pattern piece making sure the grain is preserved

Now it was ready to stitch from the right side, using a small 2 x 1.5mm zigzag along the cut edge of the lace. Then the stabilizer was carefully pulled away and the fashion fabric is trimmed away from the back. Any remaining stabilizer is soaked off in warm water, the piece rolled in a towel, and then left to air dry. Then the rest of the nightgown goes together.

After the gown was complete it’s washed again (in a mesh bag) to remove all traces of the stabilizer. The sleeve and hem edges were finished with a shell stitch. Stray threads will turn up with this type of one layer sewing, and those can be trimmed after the second washing.

So – even if you have no interest in machine embroidery, water soluble stabilizers are still a really useful sewing tool. I also like using them to make buttonholes . The button hole is marked with a sewing marker right onto a strip of stabilizer, which is placed on the right side of the fabric. Then it just washes away!



  1. Hi Phyllis,
    You did an awesome job, I’m sure Mary Beth will love this work of art! Your tips about using soluble stabilizers are great and very useful! I must try to find that sewing notion in Portugal. Thank you!

    Comment by Tany — May 19, 2007 @ 3:57 pm

  2. Phyllis, that’s beautiful! (and the nightgown is gorgeous, too!) How sweet for you to do that for our beloved MB.

    I’ve got some of the ‘plastic wrap’ type of water soluble stabilizer (for buttonholes! 😉 ); I didn’t realize there were different types. Never checked it out since I don’t do machine embroidery…thanks for the info!

    Comment by Lisa Laree — May 19, 2007 @ 4:23 pm

  3. Phyllis that is such a lovely nightgown you made for MaryBeth. Thanks for sharing your way of applying lace to silk charmeuse. I have done some lace sewing on lingerie like on full and half-slips and tap-pants but never used a stabilizer. The next time I will try your way.

    Comment by Els — May 19, 2007 @ 5:52 pm

  4. What an exquisite gown!

    Comment by Isabelle — May 20, 2007 @ 3:14 am

  5. It’s beautiful. Nothing like washed silk charmeuse. I’m curious about the hems. Are they embroidered with a scallop satin stitch? Or are they rolled and given a scallop edge with a blind-stitch? I can’t tell on my screen.

    Comment by thesecretpocket — May 21, 2007 @ 7:41 am

  6. Lovely gown, Phyllis. Thanks for the tips! Some of us are still new to things like stabilizer and spray adhesive.

    Comment by robyn — May 21, 2007 @ 10:24 am

  7. I can answer that! The hems were stitched about 1/4 inch from the edge, then turned up and and pressed. Then they were stitched again from the right side with a shell stitch and then the raw edge was trimmed very carefully close to the shell stichng line. I did a test with my roll hemmer foot but it was too bulky.

    Comment by phyllisc — May 21, 2007 @ 5:32 pm

  8. Sorry I’m so late with this comment! I had no idea that this gown was not a purchased item when I first opened the unexpected package. Phyllis, your gift is treasured as are you! Thanks for the hot tip on the Solvy web: I’m definitely in favor of new things to try 🙂

    Diva Mary Beth

    Comment by Mary Beth — May 24, 2007 @ 7:14 am

  9. What a nice gift for her. Excellent job as always.

    Comment by Linda L — May 25, 2007 @ 6:29 pm

  10. yes, i love them all and since i have been into fashion i know what is good and i must confess that all are nice and keep cool eyes on them and good luck

    Oluwafemi Olatunbosun

    Comment by Oluwafemi Olatunbosun — April 1, 2010 @ 6:33 am

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