Sewing knits / Tutorials

3 ways to attach stretch lace on knit fabrics

wool-underwear_20161010_2826For my wool underwear set I did a lot of experimenting before I got started to see which method that would be best for applying stretch lace to a very stretchy knit. In the end, I had to use two different methods, since I discovered that there are many variables to consider when applying stretch lace to a knit garment. So I thought I should share my experiment and give a quick overview on the pros and cons of each method.




I had a pair of store bought wool/silk panties as my guide for making makng my underwear. And on these the stretch lace was attached using a narrow coverstitch seam. So I decide to use the same method for attaching the lace on the legs and at the waist. A tip is to sew the seam as close to the scallop as possible, since it will prevent the lace edge from flipping over

Also I think that this method could be replicated using a twin-needle on a regular sewing machine.


Lace attached with the coverstitch machine



The inside view of the coverstitch


  • Has great stretchability and is very durable
  • Looks very discreet
  • Due to the differential feed on the coverstitch machine you run no risk stretching out the fabric while sewing


  • Requires a coverstitch machine
  • Won’t work on lace with big scallops as you can only sew straight lines



Zigzag stitch

A medium regular zigzag is what’s normally recommended for attaching stretch lace, and that’s what I used for attaching the neckline lace. But a 3-step zigzag is also a good choice, since it’s more durable and has even greater stretch.


Lace attached with a zigzag stitch


The inside view of the zigzags titch


  • Has good stretchability (a little less than the coverstitch)
  • Works very well for sharp corners and big scallops since you can easily follow the shape of the lace (hence why I used it for the v-shaped neckline)
  • Every machine has this stitch


  • There is a slight risk that the fabric will be growing, so there might be some puckers on the garment when the lace is not stretched out on the body.
  • Also be careful not to add more lace to accommodate a growing fabric, since then there will be nothing to keep it in check
  • sewing-lace_20161013_2939_1

Flatlock stitch

I did a couple of samples using this method, but ended up not using it since the flatlock seam covered the upper scallop. But for stretch elastic with only one scallop edge or a lace with a straight line on one side, I think this could be an excellent choice. Also if you have woolly nylon, this could be a great option here in the lower looper, since it will make the seam very lush and pretty.


The 2-thread flatlock seam when pulled flat (the sample is a bit shoddy, but with better settings and woolly nylon it would have looked neater)


  • Has great stretchability and is very durable
  • The flatlock seam is nice decorative detail
  • By using a high differential feed on the serger you run no risk stretching out the fabric while sewing



  • Covers the upper edge
  • Requires a serger


So to sum it up, different situations might call for different ways to attach stretch lace. I will say though that I really liked the coverstitch method has it keeps even the stretchiest fabric in check!


How to sew stretch lace Sewing tutorial Last Stitch


  • debbie
    October 23, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Thank you for the great overview of the 3 methods. I just bought a coverstitch machine to alter my own clothing and this is very helpful! debbie

    • Johanna
      October 28, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      Happy to hear you found it useful! I used my coverstich to attach stretch lace on a pair of panties and loved the result!

  • Vanessa
    October 31, 2023 at 9:58 pm

    Hi, how did you do the flatlock? Did you just serge the right sides of the lace and fabric together? Thank you for the info!

  • Gracie L.
    November 16, 2023 at 1:48 am

    Help! Our daughter is 15 and will be finially recieving her Sacrement of Baptism on the 26th along with two other teen girls.All three of them are going to wear the traditional,white,poofy,top of the knees baptism dresses with bonnets,lace anklets and white maryjane shoes.Under their dresses they are going to wear the standard white cloth baptism diaper and rubberpants with an under shirt as their top.The daughter wants to attach 5 or six rows of pink lace across the back of her rubberpants to make them look cuter.Can anyone tell us how to do it?

    • Cheryl F
      April 18, 2024 at 2:50 pm

      To Gracie L.-We just finially baptized our 14 year old daughter this past Easter sunday at Easter mass.Her and all of the other girls baptized with her all wore the same poofy,white short sleeve,knee length baptism dresses with the bonnet,lace anklets and white maryjane shoes and all of them had the cloth baptism diaper and rubberpants on under their dresses. I paid a seamstress to sew 6 rows of pink lace across the back of the daughters rubberpants with a white bow in the middle of the rows.The rubberpants looked very cute over her cloth baptism diaper and made her feel cute and babyish for her baptism.


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