Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sewing with Ruffle Fabrics!

Rosebud, our most popular kit for 2012!
Ask anyone in the shop is I like these new Ruffle fabrics and they will tell you that Lorene LOVES them and has gone ruffle crazy! Yes, I cannot even begin to count how many things I have sewn in the last few months. They are so easy to work with and sew up super quick! I love the feel of them too ~ they are really soft and drape incredibly well . . . AND, they are not bulky! I recently made a short skirt using a nude color and wondered if I could use it as a slip. I wore it under an unlined linen skirt - it did not "show"! 

So, just what is this new fabric that has popped up everywhere seemingly overnight? 
Well, it is a knit. I am not sure how it is made as it is practically double layered - that idea does intrigue me. Most of the ruffle fabrics that you see on the market and in the department stores are made up of a blend of polyester, nylon with lycra. There are a few that have a small amount of rayon in them as well some with cotton - they almost feel like a tee-shirt jersey. So, considering the fiber content, they are definitely washable, although I would highly recommend hand washing on putting them in a lingerie bag and washing on the delicate cycle. Do NOT iron them. If you really need to press your seams or get all of the ruffles going in the same direction (because perhaps they have been folded up), do use a pressing cloth with your iron set at a cooler temperature than you normally use. 

As to "how to sew" with them, use a ball point needle as they are a knit. Lengthen your stitch length to between a 2.5-3 or use a stitch on your machine designed for knits; you could use wooly nylon in your bobbin. Both of these suggestions will allow the fabric to stretch a little along the seam lines. And, speaking of seams, choose a pattern with very few and let the fabric itself be the "design". For your seams finishes, you could also zig zag them or serge with a fairly open stitch. Most of the time, I use the entire width of the fabric so my selvedges are my seam finish.  If you do not finish your seams, it really is not a problem - it is not going to fray or ravel. But, it can snag, so do not send your little one out to climb trees wearing their new little skirt! But do apply some lotion to your hands if they are dry before working with the fabric ~ and make sure that you do not have any rough places on your fingernails!

Sew It Up's Petticoat Skirt!
A couple of other queries are to whether to interface and/or line the fabric and how to hem it. So far, I have not chosen any patterns that would require interfacing. I love making skirts! I have had several customers make tee-shirt tops and shells though and I have thought that perhaps a little clear elastic on the shoulder seams would be beneficial. Any fusible interfacing would probably distort the garment rather than stabilize it. As for lining, well, there are some of the ruffle fabrics that are more "see thru" than others. Most of the time I wear a slip anyway, so no need to line! As for hemming  . . .  you are going to love this! No hemming required! The knit curls up on itself on the "last row". Your "hem" stays soft and flexible. If you were to try to hem your garment, it would just be too stiff for the fabric in my opinion.

Are you ready to try sewing with it? So, besides making little tee-shirt dresses such as Rosebud shown above or the Petticoat Skirt, what can you make with it? Oh, my gosh . . . its almost like what can you not make with it! I'll give you a few more ideas later this week ~ promise!