3 Ways to Spice Up Your Sewn Garments (and where to shop!)

Our Butterfly Dress pattern for Girls
You don’t need me to tell you that lace and trims can make all the difference in taking a handmade garment from just “OK” to flat-out gorgeous. Let’s take a look at some places to find these special adornments, and three ways to use them to spice up your handmade.

First, where to get these pretties? You can buy lace, ribbon, and buttons from most fabric stores and online fabric sites, but specialty and vintage shops always have the most interesting selections. Specialty sites like Lace Heaven, Cheep Trims and Vintage Trims are a few places to start, though some only sell in bulk quantities. My favorite 'secret' place to buy crochet lace trim by the yard or in bulk is Dharma Trading Company. All the cotton laces are white, but can be easily dyed or tea-stained to suit your project.

Etsy is a great place to seek out vintage trims. One of my favorite etsy shops for vintage trims and notions is Pink Floor Studio (and read on for a special discount!). Lucky me, it is owned by my friend Molly and her mom Viveca so I got to shop in person one day, right there in their pretty studio, and yes, it has a pink floor. Everything is impeccably organized and carefully curated to be a quality, beautiful selection.

Some of the vintage trims, laces, and buttons at Pink Floor Studio.

Vintage suitcases hold buttons organized by color
I got to sit here to sort through all the wonderful wares. See the pink floor?
The ribbons!
Lace collars to swoon for.
Buttons - buttons that match!
This is not even everything I came home with!
You can find so many vintage goodies at Pink Floor Studio on etsy, and new listings going up all the time. Molly and Viveca even have a special discount code for you! Use code PINKTDD for 10% off your order at http://www.pinkfloorstudio.etsy.com through Monday, 5/2.

and your order will come beautifully wrapped too!
Now, how to use these beautiful adornments? Here are three ways.

1. Trim a Hem.  

Lace or other trim at a hem is a great way to finish a hem and add a really special touch at the same time. It makes finishing those difficult-to-hem circle skirts a snap!

To add lace or trim to a hem, finish the raw edge of your garment (with a serger or sewing machine) and pin the trim to the right side of the garment (right sides together), overlapping the ends. I prefer not to cut my trim yet - or I cut it longer than I know I will need, just in case the trim runs short when it's actually sewn on. Remember, everything *above* the stitching line at this point is what will show below the stitching line when you're finished, so place your trim accordingly. Here, the scalloped finished edge of my eyelet will show at the hem when I'm done. 

Stitch around and finish the ends by overlapping or seaming them. Press the seam allowance to the wrong side, and topstitch into place.

Our Garnet Dress Pattern for Girls
Don’t just stop at the hems of dresses or skirts - try pant and sleeve hems too!

2.  Embellish a Bodice.

This is so easy to do! Before constructing, find the exact center of your main fabric bodice and embellish away with laces and trims. Save buttons or more bulky embellishments like ribbon or crocheted flowers for last.

Our Butterfly and Fair & Square Dress patterns
Our Perfect Party Dress pattern, with optional bib.
Our Butterfly Dress Pattern
Our Fair & Square Top and Dress Pattern with added Universal Flutter (and Knot or Not Headband).

3.  Highlight a Seam.

Piping, rickrack, and other trims can be used in almost any seam and adds a nice finished look, plus a pop of color or texture. It's especially fun to call attention to seams with an interesting shape, like the bib of our Jon and Janie Romper pattern, the curved side panel seams of our Daffodil Top pattern, or the pockets of our Chocolate Chip Skirt pattern for Women or Potato Chip Skirt pattern for Girls.


Potato Chip Skirt Pattern

I added a little extra detail to the Daffodil Top (lengthened to a dress per our instructions from Daffodil Sew Along Day 1) just to showcase some more lovely trims and my vintage buttons from Pink Floor! It's just a rectangle of fabric with rounded bottom corners and the top trimmed to the curve of the neckline. I then pinned the piping and lace right sides together around the three sides, leaving out the neckline edge. I sewed it into place and turned the seam allowance to the wrong side - this is the exact same process described in trimming a hem above. Then I topstitched the detail to the bodice and added buttons as a finish.

Just a final note - take care when buying and using vintage trims, some can lose their integrity over time - prewash and test out your selections before embellishing.

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