Sew a Wavy Swiss Hem Treatment

Wavy Swiss hem treatment

There are many things to love about the Rose Pascale dress featured on the cover of our new White Issue – from the high yoke and smocking to the cotton pique and gingham piping. But, one of our favorite features is its unique Swiss hem treatment.

This wavy geometric hem helped the Rose Pascale stand out among the smocked samples designer Kathy Dykstra submitted for us to feature in the issue. The wide edging is a series of cutwork loops in a wavy finish – tailor made for the smocking design – and the insertion and narrower edging repeat the loops for added trim appeal. 

Follow our tutorial below for adding this unique skirt trim to any dress:

1. Cut off seam tape next to entredeux on all wavy Swiss looped edging, insertion and straight looped edging.

2. Mark center of one wave valley and cut leaving 1/2 inch for a seam allowance (fig. 1).

Figure 1

3. Since you want wave trim to match perfectly at side seam for a continuous, uninterrupted flow of waves, precut length of trim needed for skirt. Start by pinning marked and cut end of trim to open side seam edge of front skirt. Smooth trim flat all the way across front and back skirt to opposite open end on back skirt. Mark closest center valley to side seam edge. Cut, leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Remove trim and fold in half to mark center. Cut two more strips of wavy trim exactly the same. 

4. Reposition trim to skirt matching center of trim on sewn seam of dress. Match bottom edge of loops to bottom raw edge of skirt and pin trim from side seam across front and from side seam across back. There will be a little excess skirt fabric beyond trim when you reach end of trim; this will be cut later. First, zigzag stitch along edge of entredeux. Then, cut front and back skirts from bottom to top to fit width of trim (fig. 2). Removing this small amount will not affect smocking. 

Figure 2

5. Trim excess fabric behind trim to 1/2 inch from stitching. Clip fabric edge every 3/8 to 1/2 inch so that you can press it up away from wavy entredeux edge (fig. 3). Zigzag stitch along entredeux edge once more. Trim off excess fabric next to stitching on wrong side of skirt. For insertion, measure up 1-1/4 inches from highest peak of wavy trim and mark a line across skirt with blue marking pen (see Trim Placement Guide).  

Figure 3
Trim Placement Guide

6. Pin insertion with bottom edge aligned to marked line and zigzag stitch along both entredeux edges. Trim fabric behind insertion along center and press open to expose insertion. Zigzag along each edge once more. Trim excess fabric off next to stitching on wrong side of skirt. 

7. For next two rows of wavy Swiss looped trim, measure up 2 inches from top edge of insertion and mark a line. Mark another line 4-1/4 inches from that line. Pin strips of wavy trim with bottom looped edge matching marked lines. Zigzag stitch along top edge of entredeux on both pieces. This will set waves 3 inches apart.

Finish: Sew side seam with a French seam to close dress. Carefully match skirt trim at seam.

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful
Kathy and Amelia

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