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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Technicos: Ruffling those Scales

My beruffled sample
Looked nice, crisp and flat after a final seam allowance trim
I'm back from my unexpected family medical visit, though I will be making regular return trips for a bit. Good thing I put the Enchanted By Sewing podcast on hold until next month, so I can play catchup. During that visit I got behind in my samples for sewing class. It's tempting to hurry through the pile, but I found that careful work was a bit of a tonic after the stress of dealing with emotions and multi-tasking of the past week-plus.

I wasn't expecting the ruffles to be a big deal. Ruffling was the first sewing skill I ever learned. (I described my experiences in the 'cast as a little girl with a great big needle, a long thread and dolls that wanted dressing back in Episode 2: Romancing the Dress.) That's probably why I chose to get this sample done first, easiest first right?

The ruffles weren't a pain to sew, but I did focus on a few things I hadn't learned in my long unstudied sewing career. This ruffling experience reminded me of learning versus practicing piano scales. Every pianist learns to play her scales, she gets the idea of the relationship between one note and another just as I long ago learned the basic idea of sewing ruffles by pulling a thread. But it's aware practicing and  attention to details, that turns the pianists pressure on the keys into a thing of beauty.  I realized while working on this sample that it wasn't enough that I knew how to gather fabric on a thread. It's repeated practice with this basic skill, and attention to what makes them look crisp that improves my sewing performances.

While I was sewing, pressing and trimming, I found myself singing a little tune from one of my daughter's favorite Disney movies, the "Aristocrats"

Do mi do mi do so mi do
Every truly cultured music student knows
You must learn your scales and your arpeggios
Bring the music ringing from your chest
And not your nose
While you sing your scales and your arpeggios

If your faithful to your daily practicing
You will find you progress is encouraging
Do mi so mi do me so mi fa la so it goes
When you do your scales and your arpeggios

Do mi so do

The goal was to create two ruffles. The top one (shown on the far left) is a self-faced ruffle, pretty on both sides. The lower (rightmost ruffle) is a narrow-hemmed embellishment.

Narrow-Hemming Trick

In order to turn a very narrow hem I've learned to run a row of stitching along the hem before pressing it under, then under again and pressing. My narrow hems now come out a lot straighter.

The pen is pointing out the midway little clip spot I used to help me align the ruffle as evenly as possibly.

Getting those ruffles to fill more evenly

I laid the little clip in line with the midway point on my supposed garment (imagine the yellow material is an apron skirt that I'm going to embellish with a fuffle on the hem. Then I pressed the ruffles. This is a new-to-me trick. It sure helps get them in place so I don't get too much ruff in one spot and too little in another

Nearly there, But Kind of Thick Behind
Removing Ruffle Bulk 
The ruffles are sewn down and pressed, but they look kind of thick, don't they? I flipped them over and trimmed the seam allowance for a nice improved flatter look.

Flatter and Crisper

Do mi do mi do so mi do

Every truly cultured sewing student knows
You must learn to trim and press your ruffles-Oo
Keep those folds from bulking up the seam
And on thy clothes
While you trim 
and press those lovely ruffles-Oo

If your faithful to your steady practicing
You will find you progress is encouraging
Do mi so mi do me so mi fa la so it goes
you trim and press those lovely ruffles-Oo

Do mi so doi

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