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Sewing Tips

Buy your pattern first and read all the way through the instructions. That way you will know what materials you will need and how much to order.

You don't want to discover you need more fabric or lace after you have started your project. That is because different bolts of fabric can be from different dye lots. Even white fabrics and laces can vary slightly if they are from different dye lots.


Want to sew a sweet little classic heirloom party dress but you are not sure where to start? No problem! We have the perfect solution for you! It is so easy you will feel like a pro in no time.

If you have any experience with the basics, such as cutting out a pattern, sewing a straight seam and sewing a zig zag seam, you can do it! We even have a sewing hotline for you to call if you get stuck!

Ready??? Let's do it!!! Follow this link and step into the wonderful world of heirloom sewing.



• For heirloom sewing, use only glass head pins. The plastic head pins can melt and ruin your beautiful fabric.

• Lightly spray starch your French lace (English lace too) for easier handling. Take care not to stretch it.

• When sewing lace to lace, use a little piece of tissue stabilizer at the beginning of the seam to prevent the lace from being pulled down and eaten by the feeddogs.

• Use the Size 1.6/70 twin needles for pintucks on lightweight fabric like Swiss batiste. Choose the Size 2.0/80 for broadcloth.


• To get French seams to lay flat and not pucker, use a tiny zigzag stitch to sew the first run.

• Press your seams as you sew. Do not wait until the garment is finished to iron it, because it will look much better if you press each seam after sewing it.

• When sewing on a button by machine, use scotch tape to hold the button in place while you sew it.


Swiss Overlay Dress - Materials List

- Busy Mothers Guide To Sewing Children's Clothes (Instructions begin on page 52)
- Ginger's Basic Yoke Dress (Sizes 1/2 - 12)

Wide Swiss Edging Suggestions For Spring

- Triesen Rose with Baskets (on White Bearissima)
- Pink & Yellow Flowers (on White Bearlin)
- Ecru Bows (on White Bearissima)

Fabric Suggestions

- White or Triesen Rose Bearissima
- White or Pink Bearlin

swiss overlay dress

This will be an easy dress to sew and very pretty for spring. If you have time, it is always better if you can order the book and the pattern first, before purchasing fabric so that you can accurately plan your garment. If that is not feasible or time is a factor, here are some guidelines:

• Choose wide Swiss Edging. You will want it wide enough to cover the high yoke seam of the dress. In the book, Nancy Coburn says she raised the yoke slightly to prevent the seam from showing.

• If you will be making a larger size dress and think that the yoke will be too deep for the Swiss edging to cover the seam, you may want to use a piece of Swiss Embroidered Insertion on the yoke and use the Swiss edging for the hem. That is also very pretty.

• If you want to trim the sleeves with French lace and beading (for ribbons), the Busy Mother's Guide also has a section on French sewing by machine techniques to guide you through the process.

• We will ship your materials to you by Priority mail at no additional cost (see shipping chart) so that you will receive them fast and can get started.

Article - Choosing A Swiss Batiste For Your Project

Sewing Tips

When I first started heirloom sewing I finished seams using a French seam. Now, most of the time I will finish the seam using my serger. What a time saver!!!

Recommended Books

For an excellent book with instructions and help on sewing childrens clothes, we highly recommend The Busy Mother's Guide To Sewing Children's Clothes.

For the best "how to" book on heirloom sewing we recommend The How-To Book of Heirloom Sewing by Machine.

Both of these books are by Nancy Coburn at Ginger Snaps Designs.



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