I just love pretty underthings! Exterior clothes are partly for ourselves and partly for the world, but what we wear beneath is just for us, and seems (to me, at least) to bear a message of self-worth. When my underthings get old and dingy, I start feeling down on myself, even though I know they're just things, with no bearing on my intrinsic value. But then if I throw them away and get new underthings, I feel fresh and dignified, even though I know I haven't changed as a person. So it's satisfying to give the doll nice underthings, too, so that her outfit is complete.
I have never much liked rick-rack, perhaps because when I was a child it was a common embellishment on little girl's dresses, but never found on what I considered "real clothes". Every fabric store sells the stuff, but mostly for babyish projects. However, when I saw this Vivian Maier photograph (circa 1979, Maloof Collection: VM1979K05841-08-MC), I reassessed rick-rack's potential. The lady's dress is hemmed with rick-rack, in a way that seems pretty easy to do.
So I take a length of white rick-rack (even though I don't like the stuff, I still have some; it breeds in my stash when I'm not looking) and lay it on the right side of the skirt fabric, aligned with the skirt's edge [pic.1]. I sew a straight line down the center of the rick-rack, always just between one zig and the next zag. This stitchline will not be visible on the finished garment, so thread color doesn't matter. Next [pic.2], I flip the raw edge of the skirt-bottom under, and the rickrack flips with it. Now only half the zig-zag is visible, peeking out from below the skirt like a hint of petticoat. I re-thread my machine with a pink top-thread and sew pretty close to the bottom fold, making a narrow hem [pic.3]. Since this is a doll's dress, and won't be laundered much if at all, I don't worry about the raw edge, but if you're making a real human's garment, you might want to serge or narrow-hem the bottom before sewing the rick-rack on, so that there's nothing to unravel.
BEFORE & AFTER
Don't you just love a transformation? :)
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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