Tutorial: How to sew a fagoted seam
A fagoted seam is a decorative seam that joins two pieces of fabric together with a space between them and a row of hand stitching. It’s a very pretty detail seen most often in vintage clothing. It’s easy to incorporate this kind of seam into any patterns you make that have a yoke, or any other simple seam.
In this case, I’m making a silk blouse with a V-shaped yoke. So the two pieces fit together, forming a V-shaped seam. For the hand stitches, I used some perle cotton that matched my fabric, but you could use embroidery floss, heavy silk thread, maybe even very narrow silk embroidery ribbon.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- two pieces you’d like to join together
- heavy thread or embroidery floss for hand stitches
- hand sewing embroidery needle
- a piece of paper large enough to lay your pieces on
- a pencil
- a ruler
The first step is to turn the seam allowance under on each side of the seam. To do this, staystitch 5/8″ from the edge (or whatever width your seam allowance is), using a long stitch length. Turn the allowance down along this row of stitching and press. Machine baste the seams in place. Now you should have a couple of neat edges to stitch together.
Now use your ruler and pencil to draw your seam on the paper. In this case, I wanted a seam that had a 3/8″ gap between the pieces.
Lay your pieces over the seam you just drew and align the edges with your lines. Hand baste your pieces to the paper. The paper will insure that your seam is kept even.
Using your floss and hand embroidery needle, stitch the edges together using the fagot stitch. Don’t sew through the paper.
Here’s a diagram of how to do the fagot stitch, from one of my vintage books from the 1920s. It may take a little fiddling to get it right, but it’s a pretty simple stitch once you get going. Try to keep your tension even as you go.
Remove all of your basting stitches and the staystitching, and your seam is complete!
Here’s a shot of my finished blouse, so you can see the seam in context. Pretty, no?
And a bonus shot of the back. I couldn’t resist those pearly buttons on this vibrant silk! The silk is a bit sueded, it’s the softest fabric ever.
Let me know if you have questions or any other ideas about using this stitch! I think it would also look lovely with a bit of delicate lace or mesh behind it, or maybe even a contrasting fabric.