For some months I have been enamored by the pre-ruffled fabric which is common in ready-to-wear garments and which is sometimes but not often seen in the sewing circles. Surely it’s not a product I’ve been able to find at the name-brand sewing and craft stores. So when I found four pieces of pre-ruffled fabric in a bin at Jomar’s recent half-price sale, I was thrilled. That is until I began to make garments from it.
Since I struggled to learn how to work with this unusual fabric, it’s only fair to share some tips with you. With about four yards of fabric in hand and because several pieces were 72″ wide, I was able to make one garment for each of the girls in our family – six in all. So now we’re all dressed in grey and black.
Cate's skirt - wide twill elastic on a single piece of rectangular fabric.
Mira's jumper/sleeveless dress. Learned that its tough to make anything other than a straight skirt.
My tank top. Edges are finished with black jersey.
Deb's tank top. This is tapered but the effect is lost with the ruffles.
Angela's skirt - slightly longer. Waistband of black wide elastic.
Megan's skirt. Yoke top made from black jersey and has 3/4" elastic at the waist (no zipper)
10 Tips for Sewing with Pre-ruffled Fabric:
1. Use simple designs, preferable with straight lines. The easiest and best look is to cut a rectangle of fabric and add a waistband to the fabric. Absolutely avoid darts or multiple seams. Even a tapered tank was more design than this fabric could handle.
2. Pin the ruffles in place prior to cutting as it’s really easy to remove a part of a ruffle that you’ll want later.
For this skirt, I sewed the elastic and then pinned the ruffles in place before cutting.
3. Because the backing fabric is made from nylon knit (think nylon stockings), it runs. Avoid pulling the fabric. Even removing stitches created runs in the fabric.
4. Machine baste all seams before placing the final seam (yes, that means all). I made the mistake of trying to sew the edging without basting first. When I removed the stitching it was a real mess.
5. Plan for the garment to be longer than you desire. Shortening is easy – just cut the nylon backing between the ruffles. Couldn’t be easier.
Fabric back - easy to hem by cutting away what you don't need. No other finishing is required.
6. When cutting, match the stripes perfectly.
7. Plan for where the ruffles will land on the garment. Here’s an example of a time when I cut away part of the ruffle.
Center front ruffle was cut away. Oops, but a little patch fixed it.
I have more, but since the hosting site isn’t cooperating, I’ll have more tips in the next post. Stay tuned!
Post-publication note: Part 2 is here