Making Trim for the Marie Antoinette Costume

Nothing is more fun than dressing up for Halloween! I’ve been dreaming of this Marie Antoinette costume for years, but a lucky find of inexpensive fabric (and my BERNINA 350 PE) finally made it possible. A costume like this, even out of inexpensive polyester upholstery satin and trims can really get pricey. It simply takes a lot of material to make a full gown with an underskirt.

But when i found this crinkle ivory taffeta, I knew I could make my own trim, and as many yards as I needed. It was easy and fun!

I simply cut 2 inch strips and folded them in thirds. Even though this fabric is already crinkled, I created gathers by lengthening my stitch length to a basting stitch and tightening my tension. The loose stitch coupled with the tight tension gathered up this lightweight fabric automatically. This is a great technique in an application where the gathers don’t have to be perfect. The crinkles in my fabric camouflaged any imperfections.

The most important step when trying this technique is testing, testing, testing. Take a scrap and try different tensions to get the best effect. Honestly, that is my tip for every project and every fabric—always do a little test by running that material though the machine for a moment. My B 350 has so many settings that can be adjusted for just the right stitch for every situation. I love to take advantage of those amazing features.

After my little trick helped complete my trim so quickly, I was free to use it liberally all over the gown. I loved emphasizing the overskirt by trailing it down the edges, and then adding just a touch of pink ribbon to make the blue more vibrant. I added that thin ribbon with my blind stitch so that I didn’t have a harsh sewn line down the length of the it. I kept the edge of the foot just to the side. while every few stitches it zagged over and secured the ribbon. A very nice finish and so much easier than hand sewing!

I also used the trim around the sleeves. I loved making the sleeves a feature of the gown with the trim and bows. This costume pattern, Simplicity 4092, is not historically accurate in the least, but still included some period features like the curved elbow sleeve.

With this elegant gown and a few flowers and butterflies in my hair, I will be feeling every inch the French princess this Halloween!

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