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Elevating Your Designs: Take A Simple Design to the Next Level Using Trims

Do you love the idea of sewing special dresses but HATE working with slinky, sticky, slippery fabrics? Me too!! I love using my iron on full blast, pressing the heck out of my quilting cottons and simply lining up my seams and sewing along with no shifting or puckering. Sure, certain occasions require something more fancy, but they are few and far between. For my needs, quilting cotton,  jazzed up with some special trims here and there, is so perfect  – and so EASY!

Simple Life Pattern Company Wendy Pattern

Simple Life Pattern Company Molly Pattern with sash added.

I put together a Christmas dress the other day to highlight some of my favorite ways to use trims on quilting cotton.

LACE COLLARS

Simple Life Pattern Company Wendy pattern in Art Gallery Fabrics Bowtied from Little Town Collection.

First, lace collars and yokes are AMAZING! When I first saw a tester using these in photos I thought she must have some unique vintage shop nearby where she snagged such a fabulous piece. Guess what? I was so wrong! Sure you can find amazing things at estate sales and quaint sewing shops, but thanks to the internet, we can all score these adorable vintage style embellishments on Etsy or through sewing buy ins! I stocked up a few months ago and I just love having them on hand for the right project!

 

 

Simple Life Pattern Company Wendy Dress

Here’s a little tip – if you want your collar tacked down completely, try sewing it using a free motion foot on your machine and save lots of time over hand sewing it in place! I have found Wendy to be a great bodice for these types of collars but always lay yours down on the pattern pieces before cutting to figure out which bodices and sizes work with your given collar.

TRIM ON HEMLINE

Simple Life Pattern Company Molly Dress

No doubt you’ve seen plenty of dresses with trims along the hemline. This is certainly a favorite for me. Sometimes I like to sew the trim peeking out from beneath the hem like I did here.

Simple Life Pattern Company Molly with Hazel sleeves

To accomplish this you can use a very wide trim like I did above and serge it to the edge of your fabric directly before ironing up and hemming. This technique is quick and easy, however it does not work when you have a thinner trim or when you wish to show most of the trim. To use a thinner trim I serge the edge of my skirt, iron up my hem as usual but instead of sewing it in place, I open it back up and use the crease as my guide for attaching my trim.

Iron your hem and then use the crease as a guide to attach thinner trims or trims that require exact placement.

This way I have control over where the trim begins to show. Which is especially helpful with a a sweet scalloped trim where the meeting point between trim and hem truly matters.

Another way to use trim on the hemline is to sew your hem in place as usual and then topstitch your trim on top of the stitch line. I do this all the time! It is important to know how deep the hem is on a given pattern before planning your trim in this case. For example, Wendy has a 2″ deep hem so your stitch line will be 2″ above the bottom of your dress. Conversely, Molly has a 1″ hem so the trim would sit an inch lower. This could have an impact on which trim you choose OR you could plan ahead and modify the skirt length to achieve your preferred look!

Simple Life Pattern Company Ava Dress in Robert Kaufman Chambray and Art Gallery Fabrics bodice inset.

SLEEVE HEM DETAIL

For my Christmas look I chose to add some good sized scalloped trim for the sleeve hem so I went with a 3/4 length sleeve to avoid having the trim lay too low on my daughter’s hand. This is done exactly as it is on the skirt hem and provides some extra special detail to take your design to the next level!

If you prefer, Felicity offers the sweetest sleeve ruffle to add a special detail without needing any trim at all! Here I used the Felicity sleeve ruffle on my Molly dress and voila!

Molly dress with Felicity sleeve hem

Finally, we have all sewn something up, stepped back and thought shoot! I wish I added just a little something else! While you could certainly add trim to your hemline after a dress is complete, another, simple way to jazz it up is with a ribbon sash. Here I used Velvet ribbon and tied a simple bow. The red breaks up the pattern of the fabric and adds a bit of pizazz without any extra sewing!

 

 

Of course there are many more ways to use trims and lace. Mila offers the perfect place for a lace inset written right in the pattern!

 

I am always searching for lovely trims but I typically end up back at Hobby Lobby stashing my favorite three or four crochet lace rolls. I like to wait until trims and ribbons on the roll are 50% off (every other week I believe!) and grab a handful of options. This way when I am in the middle of a project I always have a few options to lay out and choose between! You can always refill your stash, but buying a few rolls sure beats bringing all your fabrics and supplies and spreading out on the isle floor…not that I have ever done that!

We can’t wait to see how you’ll elevate YOUR quilting cottons! Be sure to share all of your creations in our Facebook group! Happy Sewing!

-Stevey

 

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