Vintage Details: Surface Cording Tutorial
One of the proudest moments for any sewist is finally flaunting the creation that so much time, energy, and love went into making. Who doesn’t cherish that cheerful moment when a compliment is tossed your way, giving you the opportunity to boast that you (yes, you!) created a gorgeous, expensive looking garment completely from scratch?! Cue the “Ohhhs” and “Ahhhs” and “Oh la las” that make slaving away worth it! This tutorial may have three parts, but it surely won’t disappoint.
Of course, cording can be added as an embellishment to an already existing garment, but it’s also really fun to start by sewing a blouse from our pattern, Sencha. Beginning from scratch with Sencha allows you coordinate buttons and fabrics to truly create a unique blouse that is tailored to your personal style. The devil may be in the details, but a completely handmade vintage inspired blouse is worth it, right?
You will need:
-a blouse made from the Colette Pattern, Sencha (version 1 works best)
-a long strip of 1″ fabric made using steps 1-7 of the continuous bias tape tutorial (avoid fabrics that fray heavily, because the seams will likely split while you construct the cording.)
-1/8″ thick cord that is twice as long as your strip of 1″ fabric
-hand sewing needles
Step 1: You will start this tutorial by following steps 1 – 7 of our continuous bias tape tutorial, stopping right after you cut the strips of fabric.
Step 2: Press bias tape to ensure the seams are smooth and flat. Now determine the halfway point on your cord by folding it in two. Using your sewing machine, tack the 1″ strip of fabric from Step 1 at the halfway point on the right side of your cord. Just a few stitches should keep the cord in place.
Step 3: Fold right sides together around the cord and pin in place.
Step 4: Using your zipper foot, stitch as close to the cord as possible. It helped me to pull slightly on the left side the fabric with my left hand while using my right hand to nudge the bulky side with encased cord toward the foot. Backstitch on each end.
Step 5: Trim your seam allowance to about 1/8″. If your fabric frays at all, you may need to make it a little bigger, but no more than 1/4″.
Step 6: Now you will scrunch up the fabric a little at a time in order to pull the cord right side out. To make this easy, try pulling the fabric slightly over the tacked end of your cord. This helps keep the fabric from getting stuck while you gently pull the cord through.
Step 7: Pull the cord and fabric in opposite directions. Be patient, this part takes a few minutes! Try to be gentle so none of your tight seams rip from too much pressure. Your finished cord should slowly emerge out over the exposed cord.
Step 8: Trim the ends of your finished fabric covered cord.
Step 9: Now, the fun part! Experiment with different designs by pinning the cord onto the blouse, and don’t be afraid to rework the design until you love it. Loops, bows, hearts, and mini cinnamon buns are all really easy to create using this bias cut cording. If you want a symmetrical design, place a pin at the the center front and start the cording at its midpoint so there is an equal amount for each side. If you prefer, you may also draw the design onto the blouse with chalk.
Step 10: After you’ve settled on a design, use a a hand needle to secure the cording onto the blouse. A slip stitch around one side the cord keeps the cord firmly in place and is nearly invisible!