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Embellish a Neckline with Fabric Filigree

Use sculpted bias tubes to create nature-inspired, fabric filigree for an enhanced neckline.

The tendrils on fresh sugar snap peas inspired this botanical bias-tube embellishment. A bias tube is elegant in its simplicity, flexible in form, and potent with sculptural possibility. In this article, learn to make and apply the tubes to create the curled ends without wire. Also learn how to sculpt leaves in fabric and attach everything to your dress. Master the basics, and then apply this technique to other fabrics and necklines for garden-variety style that’s anything but ordinary.

Read article PDF or follow instructions below.

Make and curl the tubes

Flat bias-cut fabric on a two-dimensional surface can expand, contract, and shape ripple-free around a curve. The curved ends of the bias tubes use the same principle but are three-dimensional.

1. Cut six bias strips. Cut 1-inch-wide, 20-inch-long bias strips. Fold a strip lengthwise, wrong side out. Stitch 1/4 inch from the folded edge. Use a short stitch, and hold the strip evenly taut as you sew. Finish the raw edge with a three-thread serger stitch, if desired; the overcasting helps pad the tube.

2. Turn the tubes right side out. Any standard tube-turning tool such as a bodkin, or a small safety pin or bobby pins can help you turn the tubes more easily.

3. Clip and tuck. Clip one tube end straight across, tuck the raw edges inside, and sew the end closed with tiny hand stitches. Secure the stitches with a knot, but leave a 12-inch-long thread tail. Leave the other tube end unfinished.

4. Conceal the thread. Insert the needle through the closed tube end, and reemerge at the seam. Reinsert the needle a scant 1/16 inch away, and bring it up again a scant 1/4 inch away. Continue along the seamline for 1-1/2 inches.

5. Pull to curl. Pull on the thread, and tighten it along the seam to curl…

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