I’ve received some unique sewing questions lately and thought I’d answer them together:
How do I attach marabou trim to an evening dress?
Marabou is actually feathers sewn, glued and/or wrapped on a central fiber core and the wispy trim is easy to attach by hand. Simply pull back the feathery ends and hand stitch it to the garment, catching only the core. Be careful not to catch the feathers in the thread loops as you apply it. Before you trim the ends, be sure to stitch through them several times on their own, so they don’t unravel creating feathers everywhere. Another option is to apply the trim while the ends of the seam are still open, and then encase the ends when you finish stitching the seam. Note that the feathers are best removed from the garment before cleaning, so attach them securely, but temporarily.
What’s the best way to hold up a strapless dress?
Any strapless garment needs to fit very snugly, so make a test-fit muslin before making the actual garment. Line and/or underline the bodice and stitch boning to the seamlines. There are several types of boning, but the easiest to use is Rigeline, as it can actually be stitched through for the seam allowance attachment. Other bonings need to be inserted into a casing either between the layers or with added fabric to create casings. For complete step-by-step instructions, search online or consult a comprehensive sewing text. Boning is the key to keeping a strapless garment in place and modestly placed.
Why does my elastic stretch out when I sew it?
There are several types of elastic, and most aren’t meant to be sewn through. When you sew through elastic, it pierces the rubber or synthetic stretch fibers, causing them to distort, without recovery. Most elastics are best placed in a casing for protection, however, if you want to sew through the elastic for an exposed application or to anchor it within the casing, select a woven elastic (as opposed to knitted or braided) and look for the term “sew-through” or “sewable” on the package. If you put elastic through a casing, it can be sewn through at side and center seams to keep the fullness in place without affecting its stretch. For more information on sewing with elastic, visit the Sewing Guidelines page and view Guidelines 6.145 Elastic – The Notion that Gives