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Try Machine-Sewn Fagoting for an Heirloom Embroidered Look

It’s quick to sew delicate, open seams by machine
Threads, Issue #210, Aug./Sept. 2020
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Machine-sewn fagoting relies on standard stitches to create an heirloom look. Pattern: McCall’s 6288, out of print. Fabric, cotton voile, Banksville Designer Fabrics, Norwalk, Connecticut.

Many of the stitches on your sewing machine may be used for fagoting, a technique used to create decorative seams in fabric or lace. With fagoting, space is purposely left between the two pieces being joined.

You can use fagoting to connect fabric pieces, or to join fabric to lace or lace to lace to create a look that appears to be delicately hand sewn. It is a beautiful effect that gives an airy look to blouse fronts, yokes, sleeves, collars, and lingerie.

Briar stitch
Briar stitch

Fagoting is stitched between two folded or finished edges. The garment must be planned to include a way to finish the raw edge under the fold. Ideally, most fagoting is done before the pattern pieces are cut. Since the technique is often used on garments with a hand-sewn look, the fabric may be sheer. In that case, simply overcasting the pressed-under edges is often unacceptable because this would show through the fabric.

There is more than one way to achieve beautiful results with this embellishment. I’ll share a gallery of methods for fabric finishing as well as stitch options. Experiment to find a combination that appeals to your fashion sense and sewing style. The results are sure to be striking from this heirloom-look technique, achievable with modern methods.

Select supplies

The correct materials and notions make fagoting easier and yield polished results.

Fabric: Look for a lightweight to medium-weight woven, but almost any fabric with body, or a fabric that can be spray-starched and pressed to give it body, will work. Always test on scraps first. You’ll have an easier time getting good results with straight or cross-grain seams, and between fabric pieces on the same grain.

Thread: Sew with cotton, or for more shine, rayon thread. Experiment with other decorative threads. For…

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