Beach dresses and rick rack techniques.

Over the weekend I took time to make the little girls some matching dresses for our upcoming beach trip.  It’s always hard to narrow down all the ideas.  After pulling out several different fabrics from the “stash”, I settled on a fun polka dot pique that has been aging in the stash for many years – probably 20+ years!!!  I knew it would be a hit with the mom’s as it is a poly/cotton pique and would require no ironing!  Definitely a plus!!!

I decided to use the Children’s Corner “Frannie” pattern.  It’s such a cute as well as quick summer dress.  I chose the view with no collar because collars just make me hot thinking about them given our usual summer heat.  They would probably be fine with the little girls, but I didn’t ask them!  LOL!  The cute appliqué on the dress is from the Lynniepinnie site.  I loved the girly looking whales.  I used elastic under the arms rather than the ties that the pattern suggests.  There was already enough bulk in the pique that I didn’t want to add more.


Going through the stash of rick rack, I found a perfect match with some jumbo rick rack  That is such an easy way to finish the bottom of the dress.  I love rick rack on the girls play clothes and use it quite extensively.  It also seemed to compliment the waves quite nicely.  However, I discovered that there was only enough of the jumbo rick rack for 2 dresses, so it went on the dresses for the 2 sisters.

A few interesting things about rick rack.  After laundering, the cotton rick rack seems to curl up much worse than the polyester rick rack.  The jumbo rick rack is polyester, so it should be fine.  I love cotton rick rack and have a lot of it.  It does come in many more colors that I can find in the polyester.  I also love that you can buy it by the yard and are not limited to the 2.5 yd. packages.  Often I need a longer stretch than 2.5 yds.  So, there’s both advantages and disadvantages to both.  Thankfully we have many options with all the online stores.

When I made the first (biggest) dress, I decided to insert the rick rack between the fashion fabric and lining so that only the “points” of the rick rack would show.  I have always liked seeing just the points.


Seeing the finished results shows a wide gap between the points.  It’s fine, but I thought I’d try it slightly differently on the smaller sister dress.  For that dress, it is also inserted between the fashion fabric and lining, but I allowed just a bit more of the rick rack to show so that there wasn’t a complete visual break between the points.  I think I prefer this look.


For the 3rd (cousin) dress I needed to come up with something else that would be complimentary and still use rick rack (my requirement!).  I was pleased with the results of this as well and think that the 3 girls will look just adorable in their new dresses.


For the bias band hem treatment, I first basted the lining and fashion fabric together 1/4″ away from the cut hem edge.  Then a 1-3/8″ bias band was stitched with the right side of the bias against the lining of the dress and with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  After stitching, I turned the dress inside out and pressed the bias down – away from the lining.  Then the dress was turned right side out and the bias pressed up at the seam line – I kept just a scant 1/16″ of the pink bias on the lining side with nearly all of the bias on the front of the dress.  Next, I pressed under the raw edge of the bias 1/4″.  After pressing all the bias band, I slipped the rick rack between the bias band and fashion fabric, pinning through both the bias and rick rack to keep everything secure for stitching.    I top stitched right next to the folded bias edge.  I loved that there was no hand sewing to this dress other than the button and buttonhole loop.

It’s always nice to have a few quick projects between other projects that are more time consuming.  These dresses fit the bill perfectly and now the little girls can match one day while we’re enjoying our beach vacation!

Now, what will you be doing with your rick rack???



7 thoughts on “Beach dresses and rick rack techniques.

  1. Genine

    What super fun summer dresses, Kathy. I love that bright spotty fabric and your jumbo rick rack is just the perfect finishing touch along with the gorgeous girly whale.

    1. Mary Lynne

      Great dresses! I notice that you used a poly/cotton pique. I know that 100% cotton is usually considered to be more ‘heirloom’ quality, but my daughter really prefers to do as little ironing as possible for her two girls. Do you have any tips for finding good quality blends?

      1. Kathy Post author

        Thank you Mary Lynne. I have found it quite difficult to find poly/cotton fabrics that are nice and with cute prints – pique or otherwise. This has been in my stash for over 20 years. LOL! I think that JoAnn’s carries some poly/cotton prints, but you really have to look for them. My daughters prefer not to iron as well. I much prefer working with natural fibers, but in the interest of having the daughters have just a bit more time to do something more fun than ironing, I’ll use the poly/cotton if I have a nice fabric.


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