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Playing with stripes


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This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

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I love striped fabric. There are so many things you can do to play with it.

This silk has been sitting in my stash well over a year. I ordered it online, and it was actually a bit of a disappointment. I loved the blue, but was expecting the lighter color to be a cream. Instead, it’s more of a greyish taupe. It isn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I expected. It went into one of my fabric boxes and there it has remained.

I rediscovered it while “shopping my stash” for a striped fabric I could make into a simple shift. That’s the great thing about shifts like this, you can use any sort of large pattern, stripes, or plaid and the lines are unbroken by a waistline seam or waist darts. They’ve always been my favorite type of dress to make and wear.

Because the fabric is a drapey crepe, I underlined it with a plain white silk/cotton blend to give it a bit more heft. (I only wish I’d ironed it before taking these pictures, sorry).

But my favorite part is the front detail I added.

I was already making bias tape for the neckline, so I started playing with the directionality and ended up with this cool chevron going down the front.

It’s really just two pieces of bias tape sewn flat and edgestitched. To get the chevron, one strip is turned to the right side and one strip to the wrong side. So this only really works if the right and wrong sides of your fabric look the same.

[ETA: Alison points out in the comments that you could also cut another bias strip at 90 degrees to the first if you have the extra fabric. So that’s a solution if your fabric does have an obvious wrong side to it]

Since I had plenty of bias tape left, I used it to finish the hem too. Don’t you love when clothes look as good on the inside as the outside?

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 42


This is so lovely! The colors, the detail on the front, everything. And it looks really comfortable, too. =)


Really like how this came out! The stripes and chevron down the front are fun, and I love the different uses of the bias tape!


this is so cute and may have to be copied! love the idea! thanks i really love these inspiration details!


That’s a lovely and inspired use of bias tape!


Very cute! Did you finish the neckline with bias too? Do you clip the seam allowance down before you finish it? The ones I’ve done that call for a traditional facing but that I’ve used bias on as a substitution never lay right – I’m wondering if I need to trim them to say 1/4″ first?


Yep, I bound the neckline with the bias tape as well. If your pattern calls for regular facing with standard seam allowances, you’ll want to trim it down to do a bias binding. Otherwise it slightly changes the neckline (which you may or may not be ok with!)


This is absolutely beautiful, and such a clean style of dress. May I ask what pattern you used?


This is one I’ve drafted myself and have been playing with. :)


This would be a very cute future pattern!!


I love stripes too–and this is a wonderful idea. I’m going to try it! Your pictures are always so beautiful.


Thanks… most of the credit goes to the nice natural light we have here!


Gorgeous! Would love to know which pattern you used?

ebony h.

Looks a bit like a Sorbetto extended to dress/tunic length + sleeves…?


It’s a similar cut, but a little different. A bit more fitted, more angled bust darts, higher neckline, etc. :)


Just lovely !
Perfect sewing and wonderful attention to detail.
I, too, appreciate it when clothing is just as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside :)
(playing with stripes is fun and if you don’t have striped fabric you can make your own: )


I love this….and if you didn’t want to make your own bias tape you could definitely buy some pre-made – even the print variety. It wouldn’t make your garment fabric but you could use it as a contrast, and then maybe throw some on to the sleeves for a second and third design elements (Designer touches look balanced when they’re done in at least three places, otherwise , they can look a mistake.)

This bias-tape trick? I’m going to try it. Might even look cool with selvedges of fabric, some of it so pretty I can’t bare to throw it away.

Annie tulleandtweed

This is lovely and the chevron detail absolutely makes it


What a simple, but genius idea! I love the chevrons down the front and it looks like such an easy dress to throw on any time of year! I might have to copy you at some point ;o)


The play with stripes is really lovely. I like the silhouette and the sleeve length.


That dress is fabulous with the bias trim chevrons!

You can also make bias tape stripes angle in two directions if you have enough fabric to cut some of the bias tape at a 90 degree angle to the rest of the bias tape, which would give you stripes in both directions without using the reverse side… ask me how I know this – I often cut bias from scraps of the same or contrasting fabric, and sometimes this happens unintentionally…


Yes, excellent point! I almost did this before I realized I could just flip it to the wrong side for this particular fabric. But that would be a good way to do it if your fabric had an obvious wrong side.

ebony h.

I adore this dress! Somehow the multidirectional stripes give it a sort of 1920’s feel…

I know the disappointment of not getting what you thought you were getting, but I really like that fabric! I especially like the thin little black stripes on either side of the blue, which give a lovely depth to the fabric. Lovely, lovely project!

Betty Jordan Wester

wow, that is super cute!


What a great use of stripes! Your detail around the neck and down the center front is beautifully done and really makes the dress. Great inspiration for a striped shirt I’ve cut out already and not been inspired to put together.


I love this- so cute and the attention to detail is perfect (as your clothes always are)

Nickey Robo

Very cute! Did you do an invisible hem on the bottom or use some kind of fusible? I can’t see any stitching at all- looks great!


I did an invisible hem by hand for this one. Since I underlined the dress, I just stitched the hem to the underlining layer only, so the stitches aren’t at all visible on the outside. Thanks for noticing!


I am glad you brought this up! I would like to know more about sewing with stripes/patterns, and if/when you need to buy extra fabric.
Your dress is beautiful.

Emma Guild

I watched an old episode of Cheers yesterday and Carla was wearing a maternity shirt with the same chevron detail down the front. I thought it was cool and wondered how it was done. Coincidence


I love the simplicity of this dress in combination with the clever details. Gorgeous!


That dress is just divine! Beautifully executed too. I’ve never used strips to such effect! Very creative :)


Really beautiful! I love this!


The chevron pattern down the front really finishes this dress off nicely. Thanks for showing the hem detail too.


So lovely! The bias makes it so unique and clean looking. The fabric makes me think of something from 18th c France…can’t put a finger on it. Always lovely, Sarai!


If I remember correctly, I think this sort of blue was one of Marie Antoinette’s favorite colors, so perhaps that’s the connection? She wears similar shades in many portraits.


You did an incredible job matching up the stripes center front. I adore chevrons.

Crafting Fashion

Really like the chevron down the front ,a small detail that really makes the dress!

Maddie Flanigan

super super cute dress! I agree – stripes are versatile and always chic. I love the CF detail – it’s adds just the right amount of pizazz.


This is the exact sort of dress shape I’ve been trying to find a good pattern for, but haven’t succeeded yet. Would make a nice addition to your lovely collection! I also love what you did with the pattern here.


love the shift and the play with stripes —- what pattern did you use for your shift?


I knew Laurel looked familiar! =)

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