Monday, June 17, 2013

Quick and Colorful Bias Strip Embellishments

Black and White Swirls (left) and Green and Turquoise Waves

Bias strips are typically used for trims or binding, but they can also be used to make colorful and oh-so-easy embellishments. Raw bias strips were sewn directly to the fabric before constructing the two children's outfits shown here. The garments, which first appeared in our May/June 2006 issue, were designed by our former editor Kathy Barnard and constructed by Carolyn Sheron. The basic embellishment technique used here could be applied to a variety of different projects, however, so be creative!

Additionally, any machine embroidery motif can be embroidered directly over the bias strip - a trail of ladybugs could be stitched on the black and white swirl design, or embroidered flowers could be finished off with wavy bias strip stems and leaves. Boys would love an airplane with a trail of loops across a T-shirt or a pair of shorts.

The raw edges of the bias strip do not fray and look great left flat, or brushed for more fluff as shown. Only one layer of fabric is used in this technique, unlike traditional chenille shaping, which requires several layers. No template is necessary; simply draw waves and swirls on your paper pattern and transfer them to the fabric with a washout marker. Apply the bias strips directly on top of the right side of the fabric after the pattern pieces are cut out. Then, construct the garment as directed in the pattern. If using machine embroidery, you may need to leave enough fabric for hooping before you actually cut out the pattern. Details for each outfit are included below:

Figure 1

Black and White Swirls
Pattern, made from black and white cotton corded piqué, is the "Sleeveless Flared Top" and the "Short Skirt" from the book Contemporary Heirlooms for the Older Girl by Martha Pullen. Carolyn shortened the size 10 top by 2 inches to meet the waistband of the skirt. The front skirt pattern was adapted for a flap front. To make a flap front, simply cut out two front skirt pieces; draw a straight line from top to bottom on one piece approximately 1-1/2 inches from the left top edge then cut on the line (fig. 1). Embellish the front with bias strip swirls. Hem the cut edge with a double fold 1/2-inch hem, and place on top of whole front skirt. Treat as one layer to complete construction.

Figure 2

Green and Turquoise Waves
Pattern, in lime green and turquoise cotton corded piqué, is a modification of "Abbey" from Children's Corner. One inch was removed from the outer shoulder edge on the size 4 and tapered into the arm curves to bring the shoulder edge closer to the neck. The top was shortened 4 inches (fig. 2). The pants were made according to the pattern (note: pants run long in the crotch; we removed 2-1/2 inches from the top of each pant piece to make waistband meet child's waist). Carolyn made a fabric flower pin for the top (template and instructions are included on the pullout centerfold of the magazine).

For more great projects, check out our newly released Sew Beautiful 2006 Collection CD. 

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

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