Science of Sewing: Creating Custom Striped Fabric

I fell in love with this fashion plate and knew I had to make it into Captain America. But the problem was the striped skirt, I didn’t want the stripes falling into the seamlines and creating chevrons. Instead I decided to make my own stripes and sew them on to recreate the look. This was my process for getting crisp, clean, and even stripes all around the skirt.

1887 Fancy Dress Fashion Plate

Step One: Tear taffeta into 2″ strips. Yes, tear. Silk taffeta tears evenly on grain, creating perfect strips of fabric that you didn’t have to cut meticulously. It takes near zero time to do in comparison to cutting.

Step Two: Grab handy Bias Tape Maker: Size 1″. Feed 2″ strip into the bias tape maker and iron to create the folded under edges that are crisp and even.

Step Three: Pattern out where the stripes are going on the skirt fabric. It’s important to get these relatively evenly spaced (mine aren’t quite but that was because of the hem to waist length ratio per panel). Then make sure to make the two sides identical. Pin all stripes in place.

Step Four: Stitch Witchery is your best friend here. Take 2″-3″ pieces and space them evenly underneath the stripes to hold them in place. Warning: With Silk Taffeta, do NOT use a wet press cloth. Use the steam setting on Cotton instead. You’ll get the same results without risking stains on the taffeta.

Step Five: Sew the stripes in place about 1/16″ from the edge of the stripe on a medium length stitch setting.

Step Six: Sew skirt together and admire your precise and clean work!

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