Top tip – applying horsehair braid

splendid petticoat from www.lindybop.com

splendid petticoat from www.lindybop.com

One of the reasons we often are drawn to Vintage fashion is the lovely silhouette often seen on dresses from the 1950’s.  There is no better feeling, in my opinion, than swirling about in a full skirted dress.  I think we sometimes overlook the foundation garments worn at the time to help achieve that nipped in waist and we don’t tend to wear corsets and starched petticoats every day.  There are plenty of good petticoat manufacturers around….I am a big fan of Lindy Bop petticoats www.lindybop.co.uk as they are available in a wide variety of colours and lengths as well as having a very comfortable lycra inner lining to protect your legs from scratchy tulle.

 

This week’s top tip is about adding fullness to a hem to help boost the outline of the garment.

Horsehair trim (synthetic)

Horsehair trim (synthetic)

On a full skirted vintage garment stiffening was often added to the hem for support made out of horsehair.  We use a synthetic alternative now to add crispness and body to the hem, it reduces wrinkling on a curved edge and also makes the fabric stand away from the body giving a fuller appearance to the garment. It is also available in a variety of colours and depths to suit the garment you are making.

How to apply.

Mark the hemline using a tacking stitch, tailor’s chalk or fabric pen.  Trim the hem allowance to 1cm (3/8”) on a cotton poplin or lightweight fabric, on a heavier fabric trim to 1.5 cm (5/8”).

Stitching horsehair on the right side of the fabric

Stitching horsehair on the right side of the fabric

Now, horsehair braid is extremely stretch – even more so than a bias binding – so the trick to using it is NOT to overstretch it when applying it or the depth of the braid will change around the hem and finishing neatly becomes an issue.  Pin vigorously!  With the right side of the fabric uppermost, line up the edge of the trim with the edge of the fabric – allowing for a 2 cm overlap.  Using a slightly longer machine stitch, use the edge of the presser foot as your guide and stitch the trim to the fabric.  Sew the trim ends together.

Horsehair turned to the wrong side, pressed and parallel stitched.

Horsehair turned to the wrong side, pressed and parallel stitched.

Using a low heat setting on the iron, press the trim to the wrong side of the garment and pin into position.  You can decide if you wish to catch stitch the trim in place or machine stitch a parallel line on the upper (non-stitched) edge of the trim to secure in place.  The picture shows a stitched hem but if you want an invisible finish you will need to do this by hand.

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Twirl away!
In stitches,  Amanda x

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