Adding Trim to the Geranium Dress

I’ve made quite a few versions of the Geranium Dress for Clementine that feature trim along the armholes and bottom of the bodice (here, here, and here), and I wanted to show you how! It’s super easy and it really looks great. My favorite trims for necklines are ricrac and pompons, and lace or piping would be really sweet as well.



Note: This tutorial assumes you already have the Geranium Dress pattern, which you can buy here (or download the free Little Geranium pattern if you want to try it out in the 0-3 month size)!

Step 1: Baste trim to armholes

After sewing the bodice shoulder seams together as instructed in the pattern, machine-baste a piece of trim along the armhole between the dots you marked from the pattern, with the part of the trim you want to show on the left side of the needle. In other words, on the opposite side of the stitching as the armhole. At each dot, leave a short “tail” on each end of the trim (you’ll see why in a minute).

If you are using Little Geranium, which does not have the sleeve dots marked, just eyeball it; you want the trim to end roughly at the curviest part of each armhole.



Make sure you line the trim up so that your basting stitches land 3/8″ from the edge of the armhole. Why 3/8?” Because that’s the seam allowance for this pattern. The exact position of the trim will of course depend on how wide your trim is and how much you want to show on the outside of the dress. In the case of the white pompon trim, I had to place it about 1/4″ away from the edge so that the stitches would be in the right place.


When sewing ricrac, it can be a bit tricky keeping the ricrac lined up properly. I find it’s easiest to use medium-sized ricrac because then you can line up the edges of the “bumps” on the ricrac with the armhole edge.


Now repeat for the other armhole.


Step 2: Sew bodice and lining together, sew side seams

Now sew the lining to the main bodice as instructed (HINT: You can use the stitching lines from attaching the trim to sew the armholes, just sew directly over them!)


Make sure that the ends of the trim get pulled towards the seam allowance when you do this. This will prevent the ends from showing on the outside of the dress.


Step 3: Baste trim to bottom edge of bodice

Once the side seams are sewn, you can baste the trim to the bottom of the bodice. Pin the lining out of the way to make sure you don’t accidentally attach the trim through both layers, just the outer bodice. This time, you’ll attach the trim so that the stitches are 1/2″ away from the bottom of the bodice (the seam allowance for attaching the skirt is 1/2″). When you get to the back, stop about 1/4″ short of the edge and leave a short tail on your trim in the same way you did at the armholes.



Step 4: Attach skirt and so on…

Once you’ve done that, you can attach the skirt to the bodice (use the trim stitching lines again as a guide) and finish up your dress as instructed in the pattern. It might also be fun to add trim to the hem, don’t you think?


I just love how smart this looks. Trim definitely takes it to the next level!

13 thoughts on “Adding Trim to the Geranium Dress

  1. I was about to buy the pattern but unfortunately my daughter is too big for it. Do you have any plans on providing the pattern for 5-12yr? If not do you have any good resources you could point me to to “grow” the pattern?
    Love that Maria Horner voile fabric bought it in indigo blue….

  2. Can you tell me the yardage needed for a 2T dress? I was going to get an estimate from the sizes that appear to have a link, but I can’t get them to work. Sorry to bother you with this!

  3. Such a great pattern. I bought it a few days ago and just posted on my blog the dress I made my daughter from it. It is one of my best dresses I have made. I am keen to make myself the washi too – My sis has your pattern. I would love you to have a look at my geranium dress! I have put it in the flickr pool too:) Suz

  4. ok! newbie sew-er here! another question I have for you, is what do you mean when you refer to ‘baste’ something on? Is this just an American term(I’m in Australia!) for ‘sew it on’? Sorry if this sounds ignorantly silly!!lol! Thanks!!

    • Hey Beulah — “baste” is just a nice loose stitch to hold things in place. Set your sewing machine to the longest stitch length for this! 🙂

  5. I absolutely adore this dress! I’ve seen a few versions with long sleeves that would fit perfectly into my fall sewing. Any plans for a sleeve add-on pdf? Thanks for designing such lovely patterns 🙂

  6. I have made a few Garanium dresses now. i love your pattern as it is perfect for a beginner like me. But i would also love to make a winter version. Do you have any advice onbehouwen to add sleeves?

  7. New to sewing as well… Instead of ric-rac could I use Bias tape? if so, would that change the way it is attached at all?

  8. I recently purchased the Geranium pattern and have made one dress- it’s adorable and I’m in love! I plan to make my daughter’s first birthday dress from the pattern, too; but I’m wondering about how to affix the ric rac to the bottom of the bodice? I only see pom pom instructions here. As you can surely guess, I’m pretty new to sewing. Thanks!

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