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Organza beaded “feather” edge

This beaded fabric ruffle is an adaptation of a trim I use in my soufflé sweater pieces. It gives a lighthearted edge to otherwise serious clothing, or can be used in layers to make a lush evening top or skirt.

For this example, we used a strip of organza, 10″ long and 45″ wide. This will ultimately yield a finished length of 18″ of trim, or a 3.5:1 ratio. Use this ratio to gauge how much organza you need to cut, for the edge you want to finish.

With the rotary cutter, or hot knife (for man-made fibers), cut a curve off the end of the strip. Then, cut out double-ended shapes, as shown. You don’t have to be a perfectionist here-these can be regular, or irregular. The only consideration, is to have them end about 1/2″-3/4″ in from the edges of the strip.

Once you’ve cut out the shapes from your strip, fold the strip in half, aligning the edges, as shown.

Machine sew these edges together, about ¼” in from the edge. This is the yellow stitching.
Using a ruffler foot, and a straight stitch length of 2.5mm, gather the edge. As much as possible, try to make the gathering stitches follow the machine stitching you made to hold the edges together. There will be a little “wobble”-don’t sweat that.
Press the seam allowances flat, along the row of stitching made when running the work through the ruffler-this is the red stitching. While pressing, try to make the ruffle sit in as straight a line as possible.
Cut two bias strips, 2″ wide, the desired finished length.

Pin the raw edges of the ruffle, to the cut edge of one bias strip-right sides together.

Using a zipper foot, stitch the ruffle to the bias strip, putting the cut edge of…

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  1. mcarr719 | | #1

    Kenneth -- beautiful embellishment -- do you stay awake all night dreaming up these techniques??

  2. Realyrosey | | #2

    Totally ingenious! Thank you for this. I might give this a try with chiffon for daintier applications. Hope it will work OK with the finer weight. Rosey

  3. User avater
    triangles | | #3

    You have two of the most creative hands I have ever seen when it comes to manipulating fabric. Truly remarkable, Linda in MD

  4. platexas | | #4

    Thank you Kenneth for another beautiful, designer technique. You are great! You so willingly share your knowlege, skill, and artistry.

  5. User avater
    clothingeng | | #5

    Loving this technique...my wheels are turning!
    Thanks ~cheryl

  6. MerrySunshine | | #6

    This is a beautiful embellishment; however, a photo of the finished garment would have been helpful too.

  7. adagiolane | | #7

    Hi Ken,
    Lovely! Question: Is the blue organza cut on on the crosswise grain (hence the 45" in this case) or is it cut on the bias?
    If cut crosswise, what cleaning instructions do you recommend to avoid fraying?

  8. User avater
    kennethdking | | #8


    Thanks for the kind words!

    Regarding the question of finishing and cutting, this organza is polyester, so I use a hot stencil cutter (the one quilters use for stencils) to cut the organza. That way there is no fraying--the edges are sealed. So, you can dry clean or wash ith no problem.

    In answer to the question: Do I stay awake nights? In short, yes.....

  9. Lady_Jaydee | | #9

    So...How come you didn't post a picture of the completed garment with this fancy embellishment? I have NO idea of how it will look on the completed garment or even if I LIKE it or not! I looks like a darn lot of trouble to create something that sticks up, does NOT look soft or comfortable and you have to worry about beads falling off. Show me the completed piece, otherwise why would I ever even want to try it??? It looks stiff and bunchy to me and the tweedy fabric shown does NOT go with a fancy gauzy trim. Creative? Possibly. Pretty? NO!


  10. katmc | | #10

    What a wildly creative trim! Kenneth, I've watched you on tv for years and admire your sewing ability as well as your creativity. Thanks for giving this to us.

  11. MaryGee | | #11

    Great substitution for fringe on these currently popular scallop layered tops :) THX for the ideas

  12. kimsidlehands | | #12

    When cleaning, don't the beads come off? There doesn't seem to be anything to keep them on the trim.
    It would have to be a real special garment to do this, like maybe a gown for a cruise!

  13. maddykool | | #13

    very nyc............y dnt i got such ideas !!!!!!!!

  14. User avater
    etchedinthread | | #14

    Kenneth, You are AWESOME!

  15. User avater
    kennethdking | | #15

    Regarding the question of beads falling: When you pull the end of the organza feathers through the bed twice, that keeps them on pretty well with friction. (I've never lost any.) But if you want a little "insurance", you can do a tiny dot of Fray-check on the hole once the bead is on, and that will set it.

    As for cleaning, a gentle hand wash for the garment is recommended.

    And, as for why I didn't show a finished garment--I'm limited to 20 photos for the post. Also, the readers of Threads are of such a high caliber, that I know they all will see a new technique and immediately get going with their imaginations and use the technique in amazing ways!

  16. Complexnatural | | #16

    Amazing!! Love it.

  17. mami50 | | #17

    Kenneth, thank you for your technique!, I lack words to thank you for all your advice, you're wonderful!

  18. MemeGeorgia | | #18

    Love it, love it. Has all sorts of ideas soaring. Thanks so much.

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