Learn how to sew a wide gathered netting ruffle
The “Royal Netting Christening Gown,” designed by Connie Palmer and featured in our book Sewing for a Royal Baby, was inspired by the famous christening gown worn by generations of British royal babies. The gown has been back in the spotlight this week with the christening of Prince William and Duchess Kate’s new royal baby, Prince Louis, so we think it’s a fitting time to take another look at the exquisite design.
Generations of British royal babies, from Princess Victoria in 1841 to Princess Eugenie in 1990, were christened in the elaborate royal gown of Spitalfield silk satin and Honiton lace commissioned by Queen Victoria. Having finally deteriorated beyond a wearable state, the gown was retired around a decade ago and replaced by a replica commissioned by Queen Elizabeth.
Although photographs of the gown exist dating back to the queen’s own christening in 1926, those that are available to the public show the gown being worn by the little prince and princesses, so all of the details aren’t readily apparent. Our version of the royal christening gown is machine embroidered with elegant motifs. Where pleated silk ribbons serpentine down the original skirt, we’ve used gathered strips of netting for a similar look. And, we created our own bodice effect using a wide gathered netting ruffle at the neckline.
Here we show you how to add the ruffle and finish it with a netting/organza bias band, which you could apply to any round neckline. Complete gown pattern and instructions (sizes 6-9 months) can be found in Sewing for a Royal Baby.
What you’ll need (for collar and binding only):
- 38 inches of wide English netting lace (Capitol Imports)
- 2- x 12-1/2-inch bias binding strip of silk organza
- 2- x 12-1/2-inch bias binding strip from netting
NOTE: Amounts are for a 6 to 9 month baby-size neckline. For larger sizes, measure around the garment neck circumference and multiply by 2.5 or 3 depending on how full you would like your collar. For bias strips, measure the garment neck circumference and add 2-1/2 inches in length.
How to make it:
1. Construct chosen pattern up to where you will be working to finish neckline. Generally you will have a front and back bodice/yoke joined at shoulders with back closure edge finished (turned-back facings).
2. Cut a 38-inch (for a 6-9 months size) piece of English netting lace for collar and trim raw edges of lace straight. Fold each raw end under 1/4 inch twice and hem to finish ends.
3. Run two rows of gathering stitches 3/8-inch and 5/8-inch from raw edge. Pull bobbin threads to gather collar. Fit to neck edge of bodice/yoke. Place hemmed ends 1/2 inch from each folded edge of back yoke. Stitch in place with a 1/2-inch seam allowance (ﬁg. 1). Remove gathering stitches beyond seam.
4. Prepare neck binding strip by placing a 2-inch-wide bias strip of silk organza to 2-inch-wide bias strip of netting and sew a straight stitch down center lengthwise. Press strip in half along stitching line (fig. 2). Press strip in a circle with fold on outer edge of circle. Steam to shape neck binding.
5. Pin binding to neck edge over lace collar with raw edges even. Allow 1/2 inch to extend on each end at back yoke edges. Stitch a 1/2-inch seam. Stitch another row of stitching a scant 1/4 inch from seam.
6. Trim seam to a perfect and even 1/4-inch width. Wrap bias over seam and place fold edge of bias to wrong side of yoke (ﬁg. 3). Hand whipstitch bias edge to organza layer only. Fold under and tuck in back ends of binding to finish back edges neatly.
Sewing for a Royal Baby is now available as an eBook! In addition to the royal christening gown, this book includes many more royal-inspired heirloom patterns you can make for your little prince or princess.
A version of this blog was originally published on 12/4/14. It was republished on 7/11/18.