Sunday, September 12, 2010

More Pettiskirt Ruffles!

If you missed the earlier posts chronicling this pettiskirt progress, click here to catch up.  Up until yesterday afternoon, the pettiskirt for Princess Petunia was still exactly the way it was when I last posted about it on July 14th.  After simultaneously ruffling and attaching the ruffle to the bottom tier of the skirt, I discovered that my ruffler setting was only giving me 2 1/2 to 3 times fullness for most of the hem ruffle, and I was discouraged by how many yards of carefully cut 2" strips of chiffon were left over.  I decided NOT to attempt to rip out stitches and redo the hem ruffle, but I've been distracted with work and the organized chaos known as Back-to-School...  Those are my excuses. 

However, when I looked at my blog traffic statistics yesterday morning, I was amazed by the volume of traffic my pettiskirt posts were getting, not just from people I know personally, but from people as far away as Japan, Russia, and New Zealand.  Somehow, knowing that there are so many other folks out there working on this project has given me the jolt of motivation I needed to get back in that sewing room, rip the dust cover off my sewbaby, and dive back into that mountain of ruffled chiffon.  I hope that all of those sewers who visited my blog in search of pettiskirt tips found some useful information here, and I want to thank them all for stopping by.  Apparently September is National Sewing Month (who knew?), so what better time to finish this up?  My parents are headed up to New Jersey to visit Janice the Manice's family in a few weeks, so that gives me a deadline for my project.  I'd like to send Princess Petunia's pettiskirt up with them when they leave for New Jersey on the 24th.

One of the problems with letting so much time lapse in the middle of a project is that, when you come back to it, your head's not in the game anymore and you have to reread all the instructions, figure out where you were, and what you need to do next.  I actually had to come back downstairs (no computer in my sewing studio -- YET!) and reread my earlier posts about this project to refresh my memory.  The next step in my project was to simultaneously gather and attach the bottom tier of the skirt (the one I previously attached the hem frill to) to the second tier of the skirt.  I expected this step to go a lot faster than the previous step.  After all, since each step is gathering four-to-one, you have only a quarter of the fabric to deal with each time you move up one layer in the skirt.  However, I found that I had to run the machine at a slower speed this time in order to keep the top layer of gathered fabric from catching itself under the needle.  I had to stop three times to rip out stitches because of that, and it was NOT fun.  VERY PLEASED with the decision not to rip out and redo the entire hem frill, by the way -- that was definitely the right decision!  But I just now remembered -- too late to help with yesterday's issues -- that I had temporarily reduced the machine speed on my Artista last time I was ruffling to reduce these kinds of problems.  So, if your machine has this capability, try reducing the motor speed to between 50-75%.  And, since I'm sharing tips, let me also warn you to keep an eye on your bobbin thread!  You will go through a lot of thread for this project, and it's best to make sure you have a full bobbin before you start ruffling up each layer of the skirt.  Running out of bobbin thread will slow you down.

In this photo, you can really see how I have the two layers of chiffon fabric feeding through my ruffler foot (except that the bottom layer is actually UNDER the ruffler foot because it is not gathering at all).  Again, I'm using that pink low-tack Olfa quilting ruler tape to mark my 1/2" seam allowance (more information about that product is available in previous posts).  I'm attaching the layers right sides together, as directed by the pattern instructions from Kari Me Away.  This puts the little 1/2" ruffled seam allowance on the INSIDE of the skirt, but it would be pretty to put that on the outside of the skirt if you prefer, as it makes a little mini-frill between each tier of the skirt.

Ta-da!  That's what it looks like when you've got the hem frill attached to the bottom tier of the skirt and the bottom tier gathered and attached to the middle tier.

...and that's the whole length of it!  Next, I'm supposed to cut this whole long thing into two equal lengths because I'm making a two-layer skirt.  The top tier of the skirt is a double layer of poly satin, and I'm going to serge the raw edges of that to ensure nothing frays before I gather the bottom two tiers of the skirt onto the top tier.  The end is in sight!  Also, I should mention that even though I have dragged this project out over months and weeks, it really hasn't taken me that much time.  I spent about an hour and a half sewing yesterday, and about the same amount of time back in July when I did the hem frill.  What took longest was cutting miles and miles of chiffon strips, so I highly, highly recommend that you buy rolls of pre-cut chiffon for this project.  Hopefully, next time I post about this project I will be at the finish line!


Janice the Manice said...

WOW! That's a lot of ruffles. Princess Petunia will be so excited. She now picks out her clothes every morning and rebells against pants of any kind. It's of vital importance to her that she be wearing a "pretty" (her word) dress or skirt. This will go fabulously with her "shiny and sparkly" (again, her words) silver, glitter sneakers. Now I need to search/ shop for the perfect shirt to complete the look. Happy Sewing!

Rebecca Grace said...

WELL... I do have all those extra 2" strips of chiffon that could be ruffled up and used to embellish sleeves or to make swirly little rosette flowers on a little T-shirt or something. The thought had crossed my mind; I just thought it best to focus on the skirt first and see how much time I have left once that's finished!

Sharon said...

Give me a call if I can help. It's lookin' good. - Grammy

Rebecca Grace said...

Grammy: I did buy those cute little dress patterns, too. I have to look at them again to see if they have long sleeve options for fall/winter or if they can be layered over tights and a long-sleeved T-shirt. Word on the street is that Princess Petunia will only wear the prettiest dresses and skirts in her closet... ;-)

Unknown said...

Rebecca, I did not see your earlier posts but I can't wait to see this finished. Hoping there will be a pic of Princess Petunia in it! :-)