Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pettiskirt Progress: The Ruffler Cooperates and Conjures Up Some Frills

I promised to post some big, high resolution images once I figured out where to put the fabric in the ruffler foot, so here they are.  I put the 2" frill strip between the ruffler teeth and loosely into the guide suggested by the pattern instructions, but I disregarded what the pattern said about putting the 5" wide bottom tier fabric into another slot of the ruffler foot.  Instead, I put the flat tier fabric completely underneath the ruffler foot, not in any grooves or channels or guides whatsoever, which is how the Bernina video I posted last time suggested. 

In this shot, hopefully you can see how the 2" ruffle strip sits in that little elbow-shaped guide (I know it's hard to tell with the sheer fabric).  You can't really use that as a guide, though; you have to eyeball the center of your frill strip as it's stitching.  You have to keep an eye on the flat bottom layer as well in order to keep that 1/2" seam allowance with the frill edge extending 1/2" past that, and once again, a long-ago impulse-buy from the notions aisle came to my rescue.

I switched back to my regular clear presser foot and used a square see-through quilting ruler to line up with the needle and the markings on the stitch plate, then used hot pink Olfa Glo-Line Tape to mark exactly where the edge of the bottom layer of fabric needed to be in order to attach the ruffle 1/2" from the raw edge of the bottom tier.  This narrow, low-tack tape is sold in a package with several different colors, and is meant to be used for temporarily marking lines on quilting rulers.  I hated the tape for its intended purpose, but I'm glad I didn't throw it away because the pink line was very easy to see through the blue chiffon and it made it much easier to feed the two fabric layers in more or less accurately.  It doesn't leave any sticky residue on your sewbaby, either.

Now, remember in my last pettipost I told you that I measured a 24" strip of fabric and made sure it measured 6" after ruffling so I knew I had the ruffler foot adjusted to 4x fullness?  Well, now is the part where you get to learn from my mistakes so your pettiskirt will turn out better than mine.  Look at how many ruffle strips were leftover after I ran out of bottom tier to stitch it to!  I was so busy keeping my frill strip feeding through so it stitched down the middle and keeping my flat layer feeding through next to my hot pink line, that I didn't notice that the flat layer was gathering slightly along with the frill strip and I wasn't getting the fulness I was supposed to get in the ruffle.  So next time, I'm going to do my test ruffling the exact same way I'll be stitching my project -- I should have measured a 24" strip of ruffle and made sure it gathered down to 6" when I was simultaneously stitching to a flat fabric layer, instead of just sewing the ruffle alone for the test.

I didn't realize anything was amiss until I was at least halfway through ruffling the frill onto the bottom skirt tier.  At that point I was able to compensate by putting a bit of resistance or drag on the flat bottom layer as I fed it through, which kept it flat and allowed the top frill to gather up a LOT tighter.  Since I'm making a double layer skirt, I'll just put the less-frilly layer underneath.  Here's what the not-frilly-enough wimpy portion looks like:

...and here's what the whole thing was supposed to look like, with the frill gathered to 4x fullness:

MUCH better, right?  I am tempted to pull out all of the wimpy ruffles and redo them, using up the rest of my frill strips, but it's about 20 yards' worth and I'm worried that I'll rip the chiffon and end up with an even bigger mess.  I don't have enough chiffon to cut a new bottom layer strip and start over from scratch.

When the whole thing is piled up on the table, you can't tell some frills are frillier than others.

That's just the bottom tier of a 3-tier skirt, mind you, and it's going on a little 2-year-old.  Hmmm...  Am I being neurotic about this?

Well, I have to take a breather from this project for a few days anyway because I have a ton of work to do on clients' projects, my house is a disaster, and I'm trying to find time to learn new interior design software, new embroidery software, and my new iPhone.  When I come back to the pettiskirt this weekend, I think I will unpick the stitches on my test sample and see whether I can remove the ruffle without ripping holes in the fabric.  Once I see how that goes, I'll decide whether I rip and redo or continue sewing and make the best of what I've got.


Janice the Manice said...

Ooohh, I am so excited to see the finished project... and that last picture of all the ruffles piled up together makes my mouth water. Princess Petunia will be the talk of the town as she practices her Polynesian hula dancing. She couldn't get enough of the routine we saw last night on "So You Think You Can Dance". We had to rewind and re-watch three times so she could shake her hips and toushy with the dancers!

dining table said...

I can now imagine how beautiful is that skirt going to be. With that kind raffles. I can say that it is a very gorgeous skirt. I can wait to see the finish product.

Ivory Spring said...

Rebecca - as far as I can tell, you are doing a wonderful job!

Thanks for your kind words on my baby's smocked bishop. I have put together garments before - but never once without any disasters or help from my teacher until this last one... I can tell you one thing, garment construction isn't really my thing to do. :)