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Conversational Threads

Lil’ Girls Sash w/o a Pattern

WandaJ | Posted in General Discussion on

I need your help in thinking through making a sash to go on my granddaughter’s dress without a pattern.

1) Do I cut the sash on the bias or straight grain of the fabric?

NOTE: The fabric is silk dupioni.

2) Length: I am thinking that the length of the sash should be: the waist measurement plus …? how many additional inches to get a nice full bow.

NOTE: The width I plan to make the bow is 4″ with a 1/4″ seam on each side of the length and triangle shaped end.

3) If there is anything else I need to know please post that too along with your input.

Thanks for your help.



  1. damascusannie | | #1

    Boy, do I know about sashes! I had six little girls to dress every year for Christmas and Easter!

    I cut sashes on the straight grain and every pattern I've ever used was along the straight grain as well. I'd go with three or four times the waist measurement (it would be easier if I knew how old this lucky little girl was) to get a nice big bow, with fairly long tails.

    The only other thing I can think of is that with the silk, you may want to edge finish the narrow seam--zig-zag or overlock. Also, stitch your corners twice to reinforce them, and use a short stitch length (12-16 sts/inch).

    I always left an opening about one third of the way along the length for turning and then either top-stitched the whole sash close to the edge, stitching up the opening as I went, or carefully hand-stitched it closed. By placing it in this spot, it usually ended up in the knot of the bow, or sort of under it.

    1. WandaJ | | #4

      Thanks for your willingness to help me out. My granddaughter is 7 yrs old and has a 28" waist. If I am understanding you correctly the bow should be 56" to 84" long.

      When giving instructions for the width of the bow you never said to turn it. Does that mean that the bow/sash is a single layer of fabric versus doubled and finished?  I had a hard time visualizing it as I was reading, particularly, when you stated that you sewed up the opening. If making the sash/bow doubled, how wide did you make it if you wanted a 'big pretty bow;' and what if anything did you use to keep it from drooping?



      1. damascusannie | | #5

        I always cut two pieces, placed them right sides together, stitched and turned.I liked that better than a single layer because it would stay nice and full when tied, plus there's no right side or wrong side to show when the bow is tied. If anything it's less work than turning a hem all around. You could add a layer of lightweight fusible interfacing to one side to add even more stiffness if needed. I liked them to be 3-4" wide, depending on the age of the child. For a 7-year-old, I'd cut it at 4" just like you planned.

        1. WandaJ | | #6

          Thanks a lot. It seems I am at least within the target range of making a 'nice' sash/bow for the dress. Now, I have to cut and make the bodice (lined), make the collar (and the piping for it), attach it to the dress along with the sleeves, and make the sash/bow of course, along with inserting the zipper, with pickstitches.

          Do you think my granddaughter will wear it at 11:00a.m., tomorrow for her school Christmas Concert?

          Yes she will, yes she will.....

          1. damascusannie | | #7

            I saw your other post about it and it sounds beautiful--she'll be the prettiest girl in the Christmas program!

          2. Ceeayche | | #9

            Of course she will be ready!  I've got faith in you!

            I always double my sashes (no matter what the patter calls for) rather than just top stitching the edges.  It gives them more body.  Sometimes the single layered ones curl up on the tips (depending on the fabric).

            By the way please share a picture when you're finished!  I've also been following your posts and I'm emotionally committed!

          3. WandaJ | | #10

            It's not your faith that's failed it's me and external circumstances. No, I did not get the dress finished for my gd to wear in the school's Christmas Program. That's OK, as she was not disappointed. She spotted a cherry red skirt with box pleats that has holly and berries between the pleats that I purchased at summer's end that was hanging in my room. And, she wanted to wear that with a white jewel neckline, long sleeve top. That made for a really cute outfit and I found after I got to the program that she would have been overdressed (which, I sometimes thought would be the case) if I would have finished the velvet and silk dupionni dress for her to wear.

            Also, her younger sister did not have fits because I had not made her dress too, and presented it at the same time.

            I did not get the dress finished because my son had to go to the local hospital, and then be transported to one out-of-town due to problems he had with the 2 stints placed in his left artery near his heart during early winter of this year. Of course, I went with him 'all the way...' until his release this past Thursday night. He's doing well I am pleased to say.

            At this point I'm back to working on the dress. What I really don't understand is why a 'simple' dress is taking so long. It's bodice is tucked, sleeves puffed, and a gathered skirt with a zippered back. Now, given the questions I've asked you know I've made some changes to the 'bland' pattern by using a combination of velvet and silk dupioni, and I added an underskirt in black batiste and am in the process of making a bodice for an underling of this same material.

            What I think is making it seemingly painstaking to make a 'simple' dress is the combination use of silk and velvet. For sewing I found that I needed to use my walking foot. Believe me when I say don't attempt using these types of materials with just pins holding the fabric together when sewing , as it will be a horror show to do so.

            And, then I am using my overcast stitch with each of the silk seams and hem because of the raveling. Adding to that I am making the sash/bow, which is not called for by the pattern. Oh, I too added a velvet bias binding around the collar. This task was not my idea of a picnic either as the velvet did not seem to want to go around the collar's edge with any amount of ease.

            Too, I had to make a new velvet bodice by grading up the pattern as the first one was to small. I'm trusting now in everything I've ever read about measuring the body and the pattern and, then making the appropriate adjustments "before'' cutting the fabric. It is a Simplicity Pattern that I am using, which usually is very easy to sew and runs a bit larger, but this one became difficult to sew and it did not seem to run larger. The measurements for the finished bodice did not match the statement on the pattern envelope.

            What I need now is for everyone that's helped me on this to come on over and help me finish this dress, and start on an identical one for my oldest gd's sister so they will both be ready by PM on Christmas Day.

            Edited 12/20/2008 11:24 pm ET by WandaJ

          4. Josefly | | #11

            That sounds like a very frightening experience with your son. I'm so glad to hear he is better.Your process with your granddaughter's dress has been interesting. It must've been frustrating to complete the tucked bodice, with puffed sleeves, and then find that it's too small. Your "simple" dress is not really simple from a sewing standpoint, by my standards, especially with the fabrics you chose, as you've mentioned. The puffy sleeves, the tucks, the velvet piping around the collar's edge, the added sash - those are elegant touches which may seem simple, but do require some doing! (I once sewed a dress with matching jacket with velvet and swore I would never attempt it again, especially as I didn't have the pressing aids which would have made the project more successful. I don't mind sewing with velveteen, however - it's so much easier, though it does leave all those little bits of fuzz from the cut edges while handling the fabric, which need to be picked up with a lint brush.) Congratulations on trying it out. I'm sure the dress will be gorgeous and your hard work will pay off.Did you use the dupioni or the velvet for the bodice? If it was the velvet, could that have made the bodice fit too small? Sometimes a bulky fabric requires a larger size.

          5. KharminJ | | #12

            Good Sewing JuJu heading your way! The second dress will probably be *much* easier, because you're now well along on the dreaded "learning curve"!I don't recall if you've mentioned whereabouts you live, but I sure hope your weather is better than mine - It's currently Zero degrees Fahrenheit and very windy in Chicagoland.Bright Blessings to you, your son, and your whole family!Kharmin

          6. fabricholic | | #13

            Did your son have the stints replaced? I hope you post pictures of the dress or dresses. It sounds gorgeous. I love velvet. Nothing looks so elegant. My mother used to make me dresses with a reversible jacket of velveteen and the print silk or poly for the other side. I don't remember what the print was made of, because I was only 7. I just remember it was so pretty. I had a purple one with a purple print and a green one with a green and white check. I hope your DGD remembers her's just as fondly.

            Edited 12/21/2008 7:36 pm by fabricholic

          7. WandaJ | | #14

            Thanks for the complements and empathy while I attempt to make this dress. So far, I am getting ready to put in the zipper (ugh...), which is not my best suit in the area of sewing (sometimes I think none are...). And, then it's on to the sash/bow that started this thread.

            I too believe the 2nd dress will be easier if I can get some much needed P E A C E and S P A C E of my own!!. And, yes, I think I'm on a learning curve with regard to working with both the velvet and dupionni.

            The later I have worked with and come to think of it I made my daughter a black velvet dress trimmed in pink satin ribbon with a white satin collar that was trimmed with lace when she was a little girl. I have a picture of her in that dress and she was adorable (as the dress was too :-}!

            Now that I'm thinking on this subject I am reminded that it seems as if I did not have much trouble (25 yrs ago) making her velvet dress. I believe the older I get and the more techniques I learn about sewing and try to employ them the slower and pickier that I am getting. Sometimes it seems as if I can't remember anything. While I don't think it's early dementia it's just too many other things going on in my life that causes an inability to concentrate.

            None-the-less, I still love sewing almost more than anything else I can think of to do. In that regard, my special friend (I am widowed) just doesn't seem to understand my attachment to sewing, but mind you he's a professional sax player and I encourage him to play more and more gigs so I can sew and sew and sew. I think that's a crock and that when you are sewing mates, children and parents just want your undivided attention.

            My goodness what did the early pioneer women do for space and peace :-} when they wanted (or, had) to sew?

            Regarding my son, he tires easily, but I think that may be expected for the first few days as he had another catherization. During the procedure it was found that the existing stints of which there are 2 are diseased. The existing stints cannot be replaced nor can stints be placed over them. It was decided by the surgeon to treat the diseased stints with medication (Plavix), with hopes that the disease will diminish. Should this not be the case it seems as if there may be other options of which were not brought out. I hope that answers the question, as I'm trying to respond to all posts in one. If not, please do ask questions, or send them to my e-mail address and I will try my best to provide what I know as these are harrowing experiences for any of us, particularly, Moms like me.

            I will have to wait until my niece comes down during the holidays to photograph the dresses so they can be posted. Will someone direct me on how to post pictures on this site, or in this thread. I think I saw a discussion about this once but since I was not posting pictures, I did not read it. Thanks again.


            Edited 12/21/2008 8:32 pm ET by WandaJ

          8. fabricholic | | #15

            You have to have your pictures already in your computer, before you upload them. Go to post and look at the bottom, where it says attach files. Click on this and then you will click the browse until you find where your pictures are. Then click upload. It's pretty easy. You do have to have your pictures a certain size like medium thumbnail, I believe. Can't wait to see the pictures.

          9. WandaJ | | #16

            Thanks again for the help. I await my niece's visit and phototaking.

          10. fabricholic | | #17

            Me too. The photos, I mean.

          11. Ceeayche | | #18

            Miz WandaJ,

            Special prayers your way for the continued healthy improvement of your son. 

            My faith in you is not misplaced, you missed your initial deadline, but what a creation it will be when you get finished!  It does sound wonderful.  I add my positive sewing juju towards your efforts! And let your niece know we are waiting breathlessly to see the end result!

          12. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #19

            Wanda, life has intervened and changed your priorities.  I hope your son is soon well again, my prayers go with him and you and your family.  When this happens to me I give myself a kick and say to myself that the goal is unchanged, just the timetable!  Your skills improve, and you begin to be more demanding with your finished projects!  If you were to compare what you sewed today to what you did 25 yrs ago, you would be astounded at the difference in quality!  It is not that you are having more difficulty my friend-you are just more demanding!  Cathy

      2. Ralphetta | | #8

        If you cut the sash on the diagonal it will drape or droop...which can be pretty, but it's not the look you're wanting this time.

  2. Josefly | | #2

    If you're inserting the sash into the side seams, to be tied in the back of the dress, you may want to pleat the sash lengthwise, just at the point of insertion. Just one pleat, not sewn down at all, in the center, makes the sash narrow down a little for the knot, then the full width of the sash can be pulled out in the bow. Is this the dress you were talking about in another thread, with the skirt boucle?

    1. WandaJ | | #3

      Yes, Josefly, this is the same dress that I was talking about in another thread; however, I decided that the black boucle was to heavy for the dupioni, and that it did not make for a good match. The velvet is working out much better in terms of fabric weight. I am lining the bodice with batiste, as was the case for the gathered skirt, which gave it much more weight that came out to be giving the fabric depth. (I do hope I am making sense here), which makes the skirt fall really nice.

      Thanks for your tip.

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