White 1920s Dress, Part II: Insertion


While I adore the look of insertion in Edwardian lingerie dresses, I’d never actually tried sewing it myself until I decided that this 1920s dress needed something special to add visual interest on the main body. With this insertion trim I figured that the entredeux would make it slightly more difficult to sew, since apparently there’s a specific technique involved to make sure the ladder-like parts look right. I was a bit worried about what I’d gotten myself into, and I read many tutorials and watched videos to be sure I was getting it right. Once I’d gotten the trim stitched down to the main fabric I was tempted to just leave it as-is without cutting out the base layer– it was pretty anyway– but decided in the end to just go for it. I’m glad I did!

Here’s the process:

First, I plotted out the front of my dress and ran parallel lines of painter’s tape where I wanted to place the insertion trim on the fabric. I could’ve used a disappearing ink marker but I was paranoid that it wouldn’t wash off! Next, I pinned the trim to the fabric, right sides together, all down the line of tape. Following this tutorial, I first did a straight stitch right up against the entredeux, then trimmed the seam allowance, zig-zagged, pressed, and zig-zagged again. That was a lot of work for just one seam!

Actually, the process went more like this:

Pin down insertion along taped line. Straight stitch against the entredeux. Remove tape.


Flip the trim over, fold over seam allowance on the other side of the trim, and pin flat against the fabric.


Cut base fabric down the center of the trim area. Flip the whole thing over, transfer the pins to the correct side of the fabric, and straight-stitch against the entredeux on the other side. Now your entredeux is stitched down on both sides, but the edges are raw.


Cut seam allowances down to 1/8″ and zig-zag to roll the edges.

Press the tiny rolled edge away from trim. Flip over and zig-zag on the right side of the fabric.


I would’ve done similar rows of trim on the back of the dress if I could, but since it was vintage I had a limited supply to work with. I think it turned out well, though!


  1. Some tutorials I’ve read online suggest that you starch your fabric and insertion before stitching them together, to keep them nice and stiff so your lines stay straight. I didn’t have the time to locate spray starch, so I hand-basted the first line of stitching just to ensure that it was going in straight.
  2. Next time I’ll just get myself a disappearing ink pen so I don’t have to worry so much about keeping things pinned exactly straight. It would make the process a lot easier.
  3. Speaking of easy, the zig-zag rolled edges worked perfectly, and made a teeny-tiny edge that looked great. Totally using this technique at some point in the future on something else.
  4. I know the linked tutorial says so, but you don’t really need to make sure that each of your zig-zags goes into one hole of the entredeux ladder stitching on the last sewing pass. I didn’t bother and it still looked fine. You could probably also use a straight stitch for that last pass if you’re paranoid about your zig-zags not being neat enough. It would work fine structurally, but maybe wouldn’t keep the rolled edge in place along the back of the fabric as well.

One thought on “White 1920s Dress, Part II: Insertion

  1. Pingback: Altering an Edwardian Dress | It's All Frosting...

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