Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Hear Ruffles Are In Right Now...

With Valentine's Day approaching, I have been trying to think of festive things to do and make. Aside from the give cookie making and decorating and card making my mind has come up with a couple things. Not the first, but the first to be done was this skirt. So simple and yet so cute! With appliqued hearts and twelve feet of ruffle I transformed two vintage sheets and a bed skirt into an adorable skirt for Wednesday.

Ruffel Skirt

I have been watching all of these gorgeous handmade ruffle items exploding everywhere and the other day it occurred to me that in the jumble of fancy feet for my machine was bound to be a gathering foot. I was right, I went looking and found it. It was kind tricky though because it is the slightest of curves that make it seem different than a normal presser foot. But I found it, used it, fell in love with it and now I am going to show you how to use it! Another bonus, this is yet another stash buster craft. having just pulling some vintage sheets out of my collection to play with.

Because I had never attempted this sort of thing before it didn't occur to me until after to make another tutorial so my pictures might seem a little too few or of weird steps int he process. Feel free to ask more questions.


At least two different fabrics, more if desired.
Skirt piece 36"x12"
Ruffle pieces totaling 12' (144") ruffled (quick tute for that to follow)
fabric scraps for hearts
3/4" elastic measured and cut to fit child's waist

Construction Instructions

First off, how to make 12' of ruffle using a gathering foot.

Cut 2" strips

1.To achieve the look of the torn ruffle, I ripped an old bed sheet in 2" strips. I ripped half the bed sheet. You may need more if your ruffles are fuller and more condensed.
2. Sew pieces together end to end for one really really long strip of fabric.

Gathering Foot
This is a gathering foot. It is my new favourite toy. I mean tool! All you do is attach the foot, put one layer underneath instead of the usual two and 'sew'. Sounds too good to be true right? Not so. Adjust your tension accordingly. The looser the tension, the looser your ruffles, the tighter your tension, the fuller the gather.
Pressure Regulator
I did this on the tightest tension with the presser regulator 3/4 of the way down to achieve the hand-gathered look, but if you press it down fully you get a perfect, professional looking ruffle.
Two ruffles
Don't forget, the fuller the ruffle the more material you will need to achieve 12'.

After you have your twelve feet of ruffle, you are ready to move on to skirt construction.

Measure & Cut
1. If you are using a bed sheet, measure and cute your fabric to 36"x12" along a hemmed edge lengthwise. 36"x13" if you are using fabric yardage.
2. If you have to hem the bottom do so now.
3. Pin ruffle to the skirt starting from the bottom up one row at a time. (Like shingles on a roof.)
4. Cut ruffle at the edge of skirt base so that you do not have 9' of ruffle trailing behind you at the sewing machine.

Ruffel Skirt
5. Sew the first row ruffle along the stitching in the ruffle, at about 1/2" above the bottom of the skirt.
Ruffel Skirt
6. Continue adding each row of ruffle until they have a nice full layered look like this.

Ruffel Skirt
7. Once all of the layers have been attached. Cut out your appliques. (I used two hand drawn hearts the largest being 3.5" at the widest part.) Sew them on to the skirt. I used a quick straight stitch. After they were all attached I went back and tried REALLY hard to add some red punch in the form of zig zag stitches but my skills are not yet there and it just looked like poop. I ended up wasting an hour sewing and cutting out thread it I think four times. I hope you have better luck. I still may add it in the form of hand sewn embroidery floss though, I haven't decided.

Side seam.
8. Fold fabric in half end to end. Pin and then sew down the side, including the ruffles at the bottom.

Elastic casing
9. Fold down fabric at the top 1.5" to create a casing for the elastic. Pin if you need to. Sew approximately one inch from top leaving about a one inch hole at the end for elastic insertion.

10. Cut elastic to desired waist size. For Wednesday I cut mine to 13" and that was perfect.

11. To feed elastic through casing, I like to attach a large safety pin to one and feed it through. The pin gives a great handle through the fabric. I also like to attach the other end right to the skirt so that the tail does does end up inside the casing to be fished back out.

12. After elastic is fed through sew both ends together and sew up seam with elastic inside.

And VOILA~! You have yourself a gorgeous ruffled skirt. Total time from beginning to end? Maybe three hours tops. And that includes toddlers, coffees and ruffle making.

Ruffel Skirt

First thing in the morning, complete with bed head and stained t-shirt she models for me, happy to walk all over my fabric on the floor from the night before. But later when I did her hair, got the sunniest room ready with a white back drop would she even go near the room let alone do a photo shoot for me? Not a chance! maybe for Valentine's day you'll get to see her, maybe I'll even have a coordinating shirt done. Hah!

As always, there are larger pictures in the set for closer inspection at my flickr.

Linking to:

Strut Your Stuff valentines @ Somewhat Simple
Make Your Monday @ Twice Remembered
Made By You @ Skip To My Lou
Get your Craft On @ Today's Creative Blog
Make it and Wear It @ The Train To Crazy
Hand Me Down Rehab @ Helping Little Hands


Kristi~The Slipcover Girl said...

omygosh...that is the cutest stinkin' skirt! great job!

Steph @ somewhatsimple said...

this is so cute! thanks for the tutorial!

Cyndi L said...

Oh that is SO cute!! What a lucky little girl Wednesday is...and what a lucky mom to have such a cutie to make stuff for :-)

The Starr Family said...

So cute, so so so cute!I love this and can't wait to get a start on it! Thanks a bunch!

Maggie said...

WOW! I absolutely love this skirt! You did an amazing job...Beautiful!!!!


LAURA said...


Melissa said...

Thanks everyone for the sweet sentiments. I really enjoyed making this skirt and cannot wait to make more!

BJ_Mama said...

THIS IS GORGEOUS!!! Thanks for the tutorial!

Unknown said...

This is so beautiful! I love super girly stuff and this is perfect. Great job on your tutorial - super easy to follow!! said...

omi goodness... beautiful project and very inspiring!!! I am going to try to see if i can do this... you make it sound so easy... but i dont know if I can!!! my organic sewing abilities might lead me to actually try learn to read a pattern... heh heh . Thanks for sharing this!!! x

Christie said...

This is one of the darlingest skirts I've seen. It was the perfect type of skirt with that fabric. MOST wonderful. We ( my littlest one and I) are VERY jealous! ;)

Kirsty said...

Very sweet. Just a perfect twirly girl skirt.

yardage girl said...

Very cute - nice work!

june at noon said...

Wow, what a sweet little skirt. What's not to love about ruffles?

Katherine said...

totally cuttie!

Carol said...

What a cute little skirt, I love it! I love using sheets for sewing! Stop by and visit me!

Unknown said...

Very cute idea! Wish I had more of an ability to sew...but oh so darling!

Deb said...

That is great! Makes me 1) wish I could sew clothing and 2) had girls. So cute.

Mariesa M. said...

What a cute skirt! I just posted almost the exact same thing on my blog (picture of sewing foot and all). I didn't know it was such a popular topic. :-) I love your blog, it looks like we have a lot in common!

julia said...

totally adorable

Tara said...

You have amazing talents. Looks like I will be contacting you for many of your ideas for the mag. Thanks.


Jessica said...

So cute. I wish my old sheets were that pretty!

Jen said...

stinkin' adorable!!!

Melanie said...

Absolutely LOVE it!! I just started sewing in October and I'm in love with ruffles. I just ordered a ruffle foot so this skirt is next on my project list. BTW, the frayed edges look incredible. I'm not sure which skirt I like more this one, or the rolled hem. I believe I will just have to make two- one of each kind. Thanks so much!

Amanda said...

Thanks so much for this, I had no idea it was so easy to make ruffles! Now my little girl has the cutest ruffled skirts and I love the frayed edges, they go so well with my usual unironed look!

Kristin Marriott said...

So cute! Thanks for the awesome tutorial : )