Sewing Hems With Decorative Stitches - The Bridging Stitch

Hi Everyone! Welcome to Part 3 of sewing hems with decorative stitches! Today Shari Fuller is going to use the dress from my Open Pelisse and Regency Dress pattern to show you how to make an embellished hem using the bridging seam technique and a couple of decorative stitches found on most sewing machines. 

Are you ready? Let's go...

Pattern used in this weeks video example:



Week Three Project:

  • Watch the videos and follow along to practice this stitch on your own.
  • Grab your sewing machine manual to figure out which stitch selection to use. You will choose the fagoting stitch or feather stitch.
  • The demo is done using the Regency Dress from the pattern shown above. You can do this same technique on and dress hemline, simply follow the same method to figure out the amount to remove to insert the ribbon or bias trim to your desired hemline.
  • For this demo: I will be adding two rows of 1/2” wide ribbon and one row of 5/8-inch wide bias cut fabric tubing with a 1/8-inch wide space between each row to the bottom edge of my dress skirting. Before I begin, I need to do a little math so I can cut my skirting pieces to the correct length. (see video for breakdown)
  • Total length to remove from skirting pattern pieces 1.5” (1 ½”). Use a ruler and a pencil to mark a line 1 ½” from the bottom edge of each skirting pattern piece. Fold along the marked line. This will be the new pattern piece for the skirting overlay that we will be working with.

  • Jump over the SWC Facebook Group for conversation and project sharing.

Part 3 Tutorial - The Bridging Stitch:

What is the Bridging Stitch?

Bridging Seam is an openwork stitch that joins two finished edges of fabric together with a decorative space between them. It is a charming little detail that was popular in the mid-19th through the mid-20th century but was also utilized in antiquity – particularly in Viking and Medieval clothing.

The bridging stitch (also referred to as fagoting stitch) is easy to incorporate as a simple seam in just about any design. Use it to embellish a new garment or to add length to or mend an existing garment.

The bridging seam can be used for both straight and curved hems. Ribbons or fabric cut on the grain can easily be incorporated into straight hems whereas bias cut fabric provides the flexibility needed for curved hems.

Do I need special attachments or tools to sew this stitch?

This is a great decorative stitch to sew with because it doesn't require special accessories! You use your standard sewing machine foot (for a zigzag or satin stitch). Choose your needle and thread based on your fabric choice. 

The feather stitch or fagoting cross stitch work best for this seam, choose which one you would prefer to use.


If you're interested in more decorative stitches and how to use them, I recommend this book - Super Stitches Sewing by Nicole Vasbinder. This essential guide to both machine and hand stitches will teach you how to use any and every stitch for professional-looking seams, hems, gathers, darts, and more. Unlock your full sewing potential with 57 machine stitches, 18 hand stitches, and tips to choose the correct needles, threads, and sewing machine accessories, complete with detailed step-by-step tutorials and illustrations.



Next Tuesday - Part 3: Shari has another exciting decorative stitch demo to share!



    April 22, 2020

    I purchased the Super Stitches Sewing book, and couldn’t be more pleased! I actually read through the entire book in one sitting. This is yet another book that you have recommended that has a new home next to my sewing machines. Thank you for this recommendation.


    April 21, 2020

    Shari, thanks for sharing this video, will try it with the next dress done. Can we know which pattern are you going to use next week?

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