A certain look is produced when trim, such as lace, fringe or a ruffle, is tacked to the hem of a skirt. The basic thought is to first finish the hem (by hand or machine). Then sew on the lace on top.
I did this method for many years and many costumes. But then I questioned how it would look if I sewed it to the wrong side of the hem. The first time I tried that – whoa! What a period looking dress I had!
Sewing that trim to the backside can give it a more couture and historical look. Here’s a look at what both methods produce and why you might want to turn your skirt around to sew.
Currently I’m making an 1883 bustle day dress. My inspiration comes from a February 1883 Harper’s Bazar fashion plate and using the Truly Victorian 1884 Wash Overskirt pattern.
By studying the plate I can see that the lace appears to stick out from BEHIND the apron. I wanted that in my reproduction too. So I then realized that the trim would need to be sewn either to the back of the apron or even to the skirt foundation where the apron would hang over it (dumb idea. Don’t try it).
My lace is 2 ¾” wide cotton crochet. My apron a lightweight cotton solid. I followed the pattern and made a ½” double hem with the one inch allowance given. Make sure to press your hem good & smooth!
The lace was flat and in a slight curve but I ended up running it through my gathering foot. I pinned it about halfway into the hem allowance – so about ¼” of it was on the inside. It’s whipstitched on through the hem allowance. Man, I sewed it on tight!
Ta-Da! Look at that beautiful edge. The hem seems to float over the lace. It creates a little lip to cover the top of the lace. The smooth hem stitches show and that’s ok. You can also cover them up with a bit of ribbon. It’s Victorian – the more trim the merrier!
If you sew the lace directly to the top side, it’ll stick out a bit weird. It may give off a more costume-y look than you’d like. Look at the above photo again of the whipstitched lace. Imagine that was the top side. See how it lays in a strange way? That is the 9th Grade Home Ec Class way of sewing, and it’s not always the best way to do historical costuming.
Have you sewn trim the wrong sides of hems? What did you think about the results?