Customize Your Garment with Bias-Tape Appliqué

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Since the beginning of summer, I have experimented with creating designs using various mediums, including screen printing and dying through spray dye. In part, this is due to be spending less time in fabric stores or any store for that matter. It is also due to me being far too impatient to wait two to three weeks for fabric to arrive from online shops. I also like to make garments based on my shoe collection, and it hard to find prints that complement my shoes. Adding design details to a solid fabric has helped with that issue. 

Another upside to my design experiments is it has also led to me using material that has been sitting in my stash for quite some time, like this black linen used to make this dress, which has been in my collection for three years. Needless to say, this bias-tape appliqué project fell in line with my current experiments. I am familiar with appliqué and enjoy it, but I mostly do it using my embroidery machine. Machine appliqué is great, but I feel like machine appliqué requires more prep work with the fabric than bias-tape appliqué, and this method is easier for repeat patterns.

For this particular project, I wanted a garment that could transition through the seasons. The dress pattern is the Lily sundress by Colette. This was the first time sewing a Colette pattern, and I chose this pattern because Colette patterns are drafted for C cup and I love the pocket detail. The instructions are detailed. I love this that can be worn in the in the summertime, and I can also layer it with turtleneck and tights once it is cooler. I cut size 6 for the bodice and the hip but graded to a 4 at the waist. The dress is designed to be fitted, but I wanted to leave a little wiggle room since I plan on wearing it over other garments. I had two designs in mind for this dress, but I was unsure which one I liked best. Fortunately, I had enough black linen to cut two front panels, so I tried both designs to help me make that decision. 

I also sewed up a muslin, which isn't my favorite thing to do, but I thought it would be useful for this. I used the muslin to check fit and see how each appliqué piece looked in the area I intended for it to be on the garment. Although I really liked my leaf shape, I went with the circles because the leaf gave me fall vibes, and that wouldn't work for a dress that I want to wear in any season.

Before I begin my appliqué design, I stay stitched around the edge of each fabric piece that would have an appliqué to prevent distortion of the pattern pieces.  I used 1/2 wide single fold bias tape for the appliqué, and I cut my circles using my circle rotary cutter by Olfa, each cut a different size. After sewing the first ring around my circle using the white bias tape, I placed the mustard yellow bias tape over the white bias tape, leaving a little of the white peaking out, and stitched down the mustard yellow tape following the same shape. All in all, this was a straightforward design, but the smaller circles did give me a little trouble. It wasn't as easy to press those as the larger circles, and I had a few creases pop up in the final work.

I suspect that my design adventures won't end anytime soon. I really enjoyed this design method, and I plan to do the leaf design on an off-shoulder sweater.