One of the great things about vintage sewing books is finding instructions for techniques that aren’t quite so common any more. When looking through one of mine, I came across a page about how to sew fagoted seams.
A fagoted seam is a seam in which both edges are hemmed, then hand stitched together with a small space in between. In an older context, fagoting can also refer to a method in which the crosswise threads in a certain section of fabric are removed, and the loose vertical threads are tied together into bunches.
It takes a little bit of extra time, but it really is a beautiful detail that adds an airy delicateness to a garment. So I thought it would be a perfect embellishment for the Cinnamon slip.
For this tutorial, we’ll be creating a 1/2″ wide fagoted seam between the front midriff and skirt pieces.
The only extra thing you’ll need in addition to what is listed on the pattern envelope is embroidery floss and an embroidery needle. I used standard cotton floss in a matching color.
1) Subtract for space. Since we’re working with a seam that’s already there, we’ll just use the seam allowance for the hems. However, we should still subtract a bit from each edge to create the open space for the hand stitching. For this tutorial our fagoted seam will be 1/2″ wide, split equally between the two involved pieces.
So, measure and trim 1/4″ from the bottom edge of the front midriff and the top edge of the front skirt. This will create the open space.
2) Stay stitch. Stay stitch at 5/8″ along the following edges:
Top and bottom of midriff
Top of front skirt
Top of front bodices
Top of back bodice
3) Attach front bodice. Following the pattern instructions, sew the center front bodice seam and attach the front bodice to the top edge of the midriff.
4) Hem the midriff. Clip and fold the bottom edge of the midriff as the instructions indicate, but then tuck the raw edge under, pin and press.
Stitch along the inner fold to hem the midriff, pivoting at the center.
5) Hem the front skirt. Hem the top edge of the front skirt in the same manner.
6) Baste to paper. Using scrap paper, trace the bottom edge of the midriff piece.
Then draw a set of lines 1/2″ lower.
Pin the front bodice along the upper line, carefully aligning the bottom edge of the bodice with the drawn line.
Do the same with the front skirt, using the lower line.
Baste both pieces to the paper.
Note: Definitely test a swatch first to see if your machine will scar your fabric once the basting stitches are removed. Mine didn’t, so I was able to machine baste. If your fabric is quite delicate you may need to hand baste.
7) Hand stitch. To keep your stitches even, mark them with a ruler, starting from the center and working out to the edges. I placed my marks 1/4″ apart, though my stitches were staggered 1/2″ apart so I ended up using every other mark.
Working from left to right, use embroidery floss to sew a fagoted stitch across the gap. To do this, sew through the hemmed edge from back to front.
Then pass the needle under the floss before going on to the next stitch.
Gently pull taut and repeat.
Once you’ve finished, remove basting stitches and paper.
8) Sew the side seams. Sew the side seams as the pattern instructions indicate, but make sure that as you pin and stitch you preserve the gap of the fagoted seam.
9) Finish. Finish your Cinnamon slip according to the pattern instructions.