After wearing my orange version of this dress out to dinner and drinks, I fell even deeper in love with this vintage nightgown/housecoat pattern! I knew I wanted to make it up next in classic white linen. I found 2 weights of linen on sale at Joann’s and had visions of billowing sleeves! The bodice and skirt are this linen - perfect weight for many garments; and the sleeves and ruffle are the tissue weight - don’t be afraid of that weird photo on the website, the fabric is bright white. It’s hard to tell in photos, but the tissue weight is more sheer and gathers more easily.
On my orange version, I found that adding trim to the major seams gave the dress texture and definition. White linen always conjurs up visions of precious heirloom techniques, so I began researching simple ways to elevate the dress with trim. Enter entre-deux, or “between two”. This is a pretty common trim to see in the NYC Garment District, and I was excited to finally use it.
Heirloom sewing techniques are often time consuming, but this trim is very easy to apply. I think it pairs well with the vintage pattern. I purchased this trim at Mokuba, the Japanese trim store. It was the only 100% cotton version I could find at this scale. You can find the trim for a lower price (but maybe not cotton) in many other shops, and Etsy is a good resource for cotton versions from Switzerland (considered the best!).
For seams where I knew I’d be adding trim, I reduced my seam allowances to 3/8”, because that is how wide the seam allowance is on my trim. You can do this, or, you can add the trim at your 5/8” (assuming that is your seam allowance), and trim the excess later in the process. Pin your trim and fabric rights sides together. Using your presser foot, stitch as close as possible to the edge of the trim. You can also use your zipper foot to do this if you prefer.
Next, press your new seam so the seam allowance is not visible through the trim. If you have excess seam allowance on your fabric that peaks out below the trim, you can trim it now, or you can wait until after the next step (I’d wait!).
This part is not in the heirloom sewing playbook, but we are doing this on the machine, and I am hard on my clothes! You can leave off this step, in which case I suggest and one row of stitching to bind your fashion fabric and trim seam allowances together to prevent fraying. For the next step, use the stitch-in-the-ditch foot, aka edgestitch foot. This is one of my favorite feet, it is very versitile. First, move your needle 2 positions to the left, and use the guide in the “ditch” created by the seam attaching the trim to the fabric. Edgestitch the length of your seam. Once you have completed edgestitching the trim, you can safely trim away any seam allowance, and move on to the next step in making your garment.
Never not posing with my beloved OAD bag (it’s on sale! Snap it up!)! But seriously, here you can see how the entre-deux trim gives a subtle flash of skin. Despite the delicate appearance, it also adds strength to your garments, especially if you add that edgestitching.
To be totally honesty, I’m not sure if I will keep this dress white. I love the shape and style, and this is one of my most professionally made garments ever….but….I feel a little Ebenezer Scrooge. I’ve decided to wait until September, when I’m tan, it’s hot out, but the evenings are cool enough for long sleeves…and if I still feel this way, I’ll give the dress a quick dip in a dye bath, for just a kiss of color.
Until then, I’ll be haunting the Tootsie Roll factory! Let me know if you try this technique! XO Martha