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!


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