Technique Tutorial: Decorative Ric Rac Neckline


Birthday Surprise by Annette Drysdale

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it! If you’re looking for a cute dress to make a little one for the occasion, I have just the ticket for you. Designed by Annette Drysdale, this adorable pink dress adorned with sweet picture smocked hearts is actually named “Birthday Surprise,” but wouldn’t it be perfect for any little girl’s February 14 celebrations?

Mini piping defines the front yoke and the dress closes at the back with a sash and buttons. Ric rac peeps from beneath the binding on both the neck and armholes for a decorative finish. Below, follow the tutorial for attaching the ric rac and binding the neckline – this is a decorative technique you can apply to any collar. If you’d like to make the complete “Birthday Surprise” dress, the pattern (sizes 3, 4 and 5 years) and full instructions are included in issue 76 of Australian Smocking & Embroidery magazine.

Attaching the Ric Rac and Binding the Neckline:


1. Cut a length of ric rac to fit the neckline allowing 1cm (3/8″) extra at each end. With right sides together and centering the ric rac over the seamline, pin and tack around the neckline.

2. Stitch along the stitchline.


3. Fold the neck binding in half along the length. Press. With right sides together and matching raw edges, pin the binding to the neckline over the ric rac extending 1cm (3/8″) at each end. Stitch along previous stitchline.

4. Stitch a second row 5mm (3/16″) from the previous row. Trim close to the second row of stitching.


5. Fold in the ends of the ric rac and binding and fold the binding over the seam to the wrong side. Pin and handstitch in place, aligning the folded edge of the binding with the previous stitchline.

6. Completed neckline.

Shop our library of Australian Smocking & Embroidery back issues for more projects and inspiration. These magazine issues are full of timeless patterns and technique tutorials – and the all-digital format means you can download the issues and start creating immediately!

For more Valentine’s fun, check out our new January Internet Embroidery Club designs. These adorable machine embroidery designs are perfect for home decor projects or special gifts.

If you haven’t done so yet, head over to our live events site and preview our first in-person event of the new year – our School of Art Fashion Boutique in Lakeland, Fla. March 14-16. We’re offering five great courses at the event: you can choose from four School of Art Fashion classes or our brand new Teaching Licensing EXPRESS: Serger III. Licensing EXPRESS will extend to March 17 and allows you to complete your licensing in person with me and Alicia Welcher, but in less time than a regular live licensing. Learn more and register here!

We pray for the men and women serving our nation in harm’s way, and for all of you.

Much Love to You All & May God Bless,
Kathy McMakin


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