Click here, for Tip #1, adding ric rac to a hem.
Now for tip #2, embedding ric rac in a seam. We do this all the time (thank you, Amy!) and have found this to be the easiest way. And guess what...there are no pins involved! Really. I mean it. Anybody want a peanut?
The first thing you need is this Clover chalk tool. It can be found with the quilting notions at a fabric store and even places like Eagle Creek Quilt Shop carry it. I could only find yellow at JoAnn, but ECQS has white so that is on my t0-get list now. In fact I should have mentioned this in my favorite tools post.
It's got a tiny little metal wheel inside and is filled with powered chalk. I recommend NOT opening it to see what's inside. Just trust me on this one. ;)
Now just lay your straight-edge ruler along the hem the same distance as your seam allowance (mine is 1/2") and run the chalking tool along the edge. Try to make your line thin by only going over it once. Mine got a little thick which made it a bit more trouble. But that's ok, it gave me the opportunity to show you how I solve that later. Silver lining? I think so.
Now lay the fabric on your machine and line up the indents of the ric rac with the chalk line. That chalk line represents where you will sew the seam in a few minutes. Of course, make sure you've already trimmed the end and heat sealed it and have it laying the correct direction for starting so you don't see a "tail" above your seam. This next photo doesn't show it laying on top of the line, because then you wouldn't be able to see the line. Go ahead and sew the ric rac down so it stays on that line. I saw to the right of center so the stitches will be in the seam allowance later.
A few inches before the end, trim your ric rac so the ending tail is also caught in the seam. Heat seal that end before finishing your row of sewing. Now you are ready to lay your top piece of fabric on it. Ok, so there are pins involved in this step. But so far I've saved you from having to pin every single indent on the ric rac. That's how I used to do it and it was such a pain. Literally. Plus, it was difficult to sew over those pins without the fabric moving a tiny bit and that is all it takes for ric rac to go off mark.
Now check your work to make sure it's looking good.
Yay! Looking good!
Ok, so it's not exactly perfect all the way around yet. That wider chalk line kind of did me in.
Just mark with a pin the beginning and ending of that trouble spot.
If the ric rac is hanging out too much, just sew the distance you think it will take to correct it, on the outside of the seam. Meaning...make the seam a little wider.
If the ric rac is not peeking out enough, just sew a new seam inside that seam allowance and remove the bad portion of your original seam. Don't forget to anchor your stitches at the stop and start ends again.
Then flip it open and use a dry, clean washcloth to rub out the chalk lines and press it open. Double check that everything looks good and finish it up.
Now go out and buy yourself a fancy new chalk tool!
p.s. Another way to do it if you are sewing a piece where you can make up your own seam allowance, is to just baste stitch the ric rac with the edge of it along the cut edge of the fabric. Then just make your seam allowance the distance needed. For jumbo ric rac, that would be 3/8". And actually, I could have done that for this dress, just didn't think about it before I cut the butterfly band. It would have messed up the proportion I already had figured out, to use a 3/8" instead of a 1/2" seam allowance. We are always learning, aren't we?