White 1920s Dress, Part II: Insertion

1920s-insertion-done

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.

1920s-insertion-tape

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

1920s-insertion-flip

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.

1920s-insertion-cut

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.

1920s-insertion-press

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!

Notes:

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

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

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