Taming the Trim Beast

My “Singing Gig Dress” provided instructional to me on several levels. First was the fit/matte jersey issue that I discussed yesterday on the Sewing Divas Blog. The second conundrum I ran into was the trim. The neckline of the dress is curved. The trim I used was a heavily encrusted, beaded trim that was backed with a lightweight buckram. This made it pretty inflexible.

So my quandary was, how to curve this to conform to the neckline edge without distorting the jersey dress? First thing that needed attention was the dress’ neckline. It needed interfacing to stabilize it. I thought about using a hair canvas on the facing, but between that and the buckram backing on the trim, I think it would have been too stiff and would not lay flatteringly against the body. Instead, I interfaced both the neckline and the facing with fusible tricot. This gave the support the trim needs but maintained the flexibility I want.

Once the dress was ready, I designed a template by tracing the neckline of the dress onto oaktag paper. I traced the entire neckline, including the back, and I decided to use that to shape and press the trim into shape.

After a very little experimentation (I didn’t have enough trim to do many tries), I realized that there was just no way to curve the trim around the back of the neckline. The beading and buckram made that impossible. So the trim only extends to the shoulders. I didn’t want to risk ruining the beading, so to press it into the shape of the collar, I worked from the back of the trim, with a silk organza press cloth and sparing amounts of steam. This took a fair amount of time, and I ended up sticking pins in the trim to hold it in place and set the shape while it cooled. The result was a good match for the neckline of the dress.

Once the trim was ready, I used a length of single-strand waxed thread to whipstitch it in place along the inner and outer borders. This project took a fair amount of time and patience, but like anything of this ilk, it was worth both. I’m quite pleased with the results.

Happy sewing!

About Gorgeous Things

I own an online fabric store, www.gorgeousfabrics.com. Everything else you need to know about me is what I tell you on my blog, darlings!
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4 Responses to Taming the Trim Beast

  1. Summerset says:

    Your dress is fantastic and certainly worthy of the event. I saw it over on Sewing Divas, but was skimming through the blogs and didn’t have time to post a comment. The trim is really gorgeous, and you’ve done it more than justice in your treatment of it. What a great learning experience without a wadder!

  2. Els says:

    Ann, thanks for the inside information about how you used that trim around the front neckline. I would have done it the same way you did.

  3. Linda says:

    Ann,This is simply stunning. You have a vision and it came out perfectly. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Georgene says:

    Your steaming technique did the trick. Buckram does lose its oomph with steam, making it more manipulable (is that a word?). It looks very purple in you photo here. I would love to see it up close and personal!

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