Before the name “fagoting” was deemed politically incorrect by some in the heirloom sewing industry, well known designer Kitty Benton published several patterns named for this technique. There were patterns for fagoted bibs, bonnets, round yoke dresses, collars and more.
Fagoting, or “bridging” as it is now sometimes known, is the joining of lace to lace, lace to ribbon, or the joining of any two finished edges with any one of several handwork stitches. By enlarging the above photo, you will see that several different stitches have been used to join the pieces. To maintain an equal distance between the two edges, the pieces are hand basted to a paper pattern with lines defining the space to be filled with the stitches.
After taking a class from Kitty, I was intrigued with fagoting and intended to fill my grandmother’s hope chest with a multitude of fagoted items. After our home sustained major damage from Hurricane Charley in 2004, this bonnet is the only surviving item of the few I did complete.
As the joined pieces are held only by decorative handwork stitches, the item is potentially fragile. Often, bias tubing is used for the pieces to be joined (see photo below) and stitching done in heavier thread makes these items more durable. The back of this horseshoe bonnet is self lined and turned with the raw bottom edge caught in the seam of the bottom binding.
Last fall when I taught in Puerto Rico, I was delighted to see this beautiful two year old wearing a fagoted yoke dress. Her aunt had made it for her and it couldn’t have been lovelier. Notice that her hairbow is a perfect match to the soft gold color of the dress.
Now, I’ve put a similar dress on my grandmother’s hope chest project list, because I still hope for another granddaughter.