How to sew a wide vintage sash | Duchess & Hare

How to sew a wide vintage sash

Bernadette Reinecke

I adore the charming details of little girls vintage dresses and patterns. One such detail is the very wide, single layer sashes that tie into big beautiful bows. The sashes, some cut with diagonal ends, had narrow hems, typically hand sewn, all the way around.

vintage narrow hem sash

Sash widths varied and it's not unusual to find 6" wide pattern pieces.  All that width was managed with gathers or pleats to fit the sash band.

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My favorite vintage sash style, is gathered or pleated ends that are inserted into front darts or front bodice design seams.


Fabrics not having a definite wrong side such as ginghams, woven stripes or plaids and solids are ideal for this style of sash.  The stripe above, while printed, looks nice from both sides and with careful tying the wrong side isn't noticeable at all.

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For this tutorial, the sash instructions are for a big bow sash just like the black and white gingham one shown below. The same construction steps will work for any width single layer sash but are best suited for making the wide sashes.


Step 1.     Cut a fabric strip the length needed plus seam allowance and 5 to 6 inches wide. With right side down, press up 3/8" hem on both long sides.

Press hem

Step 2.    For now, on one side only,  fold the long raw edge into the 3/8" crease and press. The hem can be pressed in along the entire length of the sash tie, or for just a couple of inches to get it started.

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Step 3.     Edge stitch along the folded hem edge, folding raw edge in as you continue to sew.  Note: A narrow hemmer foot can be used to accomplish this. Repeat steps 1 through 3 for the other tie before continuing.

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Step 4.    With right side up, fold and pin a short raw side to the long unsewn edge as shown. The wrong side of the turned section will be facing up. Repeat with the other sash tie being careful to mirror the first.

a mirrored pair

Step 5.   With right sides facing, stitch along the pinned section with a 3/8" seam allowance starting or ending at the outer edge of the narrow hem.

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Step 6.    Trim seam allowance as shown.

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Step 7.    Turn point to the right side and press seam.

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Step 8.    For a nice edge, fold seam allowance corner towards the inside and pin in place as shown.

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Step 9.    Fold sash end back over and pin to keep the corner in place. Fold the long raw edge into the 3/8" crease and press. The hem can be pressed in along the entire length of the sash tie, or for just a couple of inches to get it started.

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Step 10.    Edge stitch along the folded hem edge, folding raw edge in as you continue to sew. Be sure to continue sewing over the folded corner as shown below. For a nice finish, knot the thread tails and pull through to inside, trim excess.

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Step 11.  Press hemmed edges of ties. Gather or pleat short raw edge to width needed.

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Step 12.  Attach sash according to directions of the pattern you are following.

This would be a pretty sash to use for  Little Bow Pleat which is designed with the sash inserted between the center bodice and front side seam.



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