To Trim or Not To Trim?


01 Sep To Trim or Not To Trim?

Summer clothes are sew much fun to sew, I will make them until the end of the season.

While writing The Tunic Bible, I developed a new appreciation, perhaps an obsession for working with trims. Using the ‘right’ trim whether it’s inexpensive twill tape or an ornate applique easily transforms a garment from plain to sensational. Mood Fabrics has it all from lace to ribbons to chains and appliqués!

To transform my latest tunic in Mood Fabrics luscious fuchsia lightweight linen, I selected an this Oscar de la Renta 2″ medallion design cotton lace. It’s fabulous. When clicking on the link be sure and click on the fabric estimator; a nifty chart for estimating trim yardage.

IMG_0160To frame the medallions on the dress, I turned the placket to the outside of the dress to create texture, and then topstitched to outline the shape of the placket. After experimenting with the trim placement, I placed a small strip of steam-a-seam on the back of the lace to secure the placement before stitching the lace to the fabric with a zig-zag stitch. (White thread on the spool and pink in the bobbin. )




IMG_0144_2I centered the trim directly over the machine stitched hem around the bottom of the dress.

IMG_0162Wearing linen requires a certain state of mind for sure.  One must be willing to embrace the wrinkles and enjoy the beautifully rumpled look at day’s end! I pre-washed the linen with fabric softener twice before cutting, but that is certainly not a rule since the more you wash it the softer it becomes.

Would you believe I bought 8 YARDS of this wonderful lace? Obviously, I did not see the Fabric Estimator, and had enough for two garments!

For a more subdued look, I applied the lace medallions to a striped cotton shirting tunic. Check out Mood’s 400 striped cotton shirting choices here.

IMG_0103Stripes present so many design possibilities! Cutting the placket on the crossgrain created a subtle fabric contrast, and a great backdrop for the lace.

IMG_0109 2

Because this garment is ‘tunic length’ as opposed to dress length, I outlined the side slits with the medallions, punctuating the garment with a hefty dose of this feminine trim!


To Trim or Not To Trim?

Tunics with Trims!-001….An Easy Decision!


  • Mary Funt
    Posted at 06:51h, 01 September Reply

    I love your trim choices. The tunic is a perfect neutral canvas for so many different embellishments. I’m really looking forward to seeing what other sewers create with this and am combing through my own stash of fabric and trims.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:12h, 01 September Reply

      Thank you so much, Mary! Your point is so true – this tunic neckline begs for embellishment! With your impressive sewing skills, I’m sure you’ll make a beauty. Can’t wait to see it 😉

  • Joy Campbell
    Posted at 07:08h, 01 September Reply

    Both garments are lovely! Love the pink linen.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:14h, 01 September Reply

      Thank you, Joy! I’m pleased with both tunics but the pink is more my color, and I’m giving the green one to my red-headed friend 😉

  • Make It Any Wear.
    Posted at 07:23h, 01 September Reply

    My favorite make of the summer is a shirting dress with lace trim, all bought at Mood. Great minds think alike. I need to get it up on the blog.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:02h, 01 September Reply

      Look forward to seeing it!!

  • Sew Jean Margaret
    Posted at 07:41h, 01 September Reply

    Both are lovely and the white trim adds a fresh summery vibe.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:03h, 01 September Reply

      Thank you, Jean! The white makes each fabric pop differently 🙂

  • Cheryl Lemmons
    Posted at 08:28h, 01 September Reply

    Wow! The trim takes this from a really nice dress to a very special dress. Love both of these! Can’t wait to see the book.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:04h, 01 September Reply

      Thank you, Cheryl! We’re quite excited about it 😉

  • Joyce Love
    Posted at 08:31h, 01 September Reply

    Both are fabulous! And are the fuchsia sandals just a happy accident or did they inspire the dress? 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:08h, 01 September Reply

      The fuchsia sandals were just that – a happy accident. I bought the ‘Palm Beach’ (predecessor to Jack Rogers) on the bargain table of a shoe store two years ago. I thought they were JR, but the shoe salesman corrected me, telling me their history ~ a favorite of Jackie Kennedy’s he said 😉
      I knew I’d have shoes to go with this dress. Many thanks for the comment!

  • Patricia Flournoy
    Posted at 08:38h, 01 September Reply

    wow just adds a bit of Summer Sunshine! Terrific idea…

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:09h, 01 September Reply

      Thank you so much, Patricia!

  • MaryEllen
    Posted at 09:46h, 01 September Reply

    Love both of these . I have some linen from Ireland I got this summer., these give me so many ideas for using . Trims add so much & you are so inspirational . Anxiously awaiting my copy of the Tunic Bible !! When is grandbaby due ?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:12h, 01 September Reply

      Many thanks, Mary Ellen! I really love the durability of linen and can’t wait to see what you come up with for yours 🙂

  • Eileen
    Posted at 09:57h, 01 September Reply

    Sarah, don’t give that green tunic away…..I love that color on you….and the pink dress… girly girl gorgeous! I cannot wait to get your book. I think it will inspire creativity. Off topic, would you please share your lipstick color? This must be a pink on the coral side? How many tunics can one girl have? You have shown us that the answer is MANY!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:59h, 01 September Reply

      Thank you, Eileen! I have a friend who will look fantastic in the green and have already passed it on…… but the pink is a different story 😉
      I wear two lipsticks…… Bobbi Brown Spring Pink and Clinque Runway Coral. Sometimes I mix the two.
      Julie and I wrote the book to inspire creativity and even state that in the introduction and I hope you’ll enjoy it. As far as how many tunics can one girl have…………. You’re right MANY but never TOO MANY!

  • Rose Britton
    Posted at 09:58h, 01 September Reply

    Wow! Two striking new garments — inspirational. Eagerly awaiting The Tunic Bible!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:00h, 01 September Reply

      Many thanks, Rose! We hope you’ll enjoy it 🙂 🙂

  • Kate Collinson
    Posted at 10:25h, 01 September Reply

    Beautiful and inspirational, as always! I have a naive question…. How did you stitch down such a wide, rounded trim? You mentioned your zigzag stitch (presumably fairly wide), but was it necessary to stitch around the curves of the medallions to prevent their pulling away from the fabric after use, washing, etc.? Thanks!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:06h, 01 September Reply

      Many thanks, Kate!
      I should have been more specific on stitching the trim. I used a long but narrow zig-zag stitch. I stitched the outer side of each row first rotating the garment at the end of each row (lower edge top, lower edge bottom, outside placket, inside placket). I did stitch around the curves, but it wasn’t difficult since it was only half of a a time 😉 (Using matching thread in the bobbin makes the stitch unobtrusive.)

  • Susan B
    Posted at 10:37h, 01 September Reply

    I love both the dress & the tunic – but that dress is perfect on so many levels!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:07h, 01 September Reply

      Thank you, Susan! I’m loving the dress too 😉

  • Dana Tougas
    Posted at 10:43h, 01 September Reply

    I never quite know how to use trim. Thanks so much for the post. I love the pop of white trim on the fuschia. I’m looking forward to the book release.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:13h, 01 September Reply

      Many thanks, Dana!
      Taking a close look at RTW tunic designers who are know for their trim use has been so helpful, I really hope you’ll enjoy the book 😉

  • Maggie ecger
    Posted at 11:55h, 01 September Reply

    So neat. Really like what you did.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:14h, 01 September Reply

      Thank you, Maggie!

  • Ann Thanos
    Posted at 12:26h, 01 September Reply

    As I view your inspirational posts with beautiful summer tunics, it is becoming cruel and unusual punishment to wait until November to receive my copy of your book! You have absolutely mastered that certain je ne sais pas quoi, which makes a tunic special.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:18h, 01 September Reply

      Such a nice comment, Ann – thank you so much! The book release is October 1, and I hope the Amazon orders will be available before November 1. 😉

  • Lisa C in Dallas
    Posted at 13:17h, 01 September Reply

    Absolutely stunning. I second Kate’s question about sewing such a wide trim. Down the sides or middle? Again – stunning.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:19h, 01 September Reply

      Thank you, Lisa!
      I should have been more specific on stitching the trim. I used a long but narrow zig-zag stitch. I stitched the outer side of each row first rotating the garment at the end of each row (lower edge top, lower edge bottom, outside placket, inside placket). I did stitch around the curves, but it wasn’t difficult since it was only half of a a time 😉 (Using matching thread in the bobbin makes the stitch unobtrusive.)

  • susan gill
    Posted at 20:07h, 01 September Reply

    love both tunics but I think it is cute that your shoes match your pink dress

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:51h, 01 September Reply

      Thank you, Susan! I had the shoes way before the fabric 😉

  • Karen Helm
    Posted at 12:02h, 02 September Reply

    Love that trim and how it works so well with both fabrics. Hoping you don’t get too much rain from the storm du jour – but then again it might be a good reason to stay in and sew!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 15:21h, 02 September Reply

      Thank you, Karen! I believe we will have a day’s worth but certainly not like the coast 😉

  • Eileen Payne
    Posted at 23:32h, 02 September Reply

    Love your tunic and I think I may have found the trim for my Lilly Pulitzer inspired dress

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:10h, 03 September Reply

      Thank you, Eileen, and good luck with the dress! I’d love to see it when your finished 🙂 🙂

  • Linda
    Posted at 18:41h, 03 September Reply

    Love the trims, they look great! And the pink sandals match perfect!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:02h, 04 September Reply

      Thank you so much, Linda! The sandals were waiting for a garment like this 😉

  • Sharon kane
    Posted at 12:59h, 07 September Reply

    Lovely garments! And once again, showing the close ups allows us to see the finer construction details (matching stripes, even positioning of medallions) which makes garments look couture. Great job Sarah!

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