Sunday, February 6, 2011

Rufflemania (Amy Karol made me do it)

Today, I was reading Amy Karol's book, Bend the rules of sewing, and decided to take a chance and try something new with ruffles.   Why not?  What was holding me back?  I had an idea and why not try it out?  Amy made me realize that it couldn't hurt to give it a try and it might actually turn out ok.  What is sewing for, after all, other than expressing creativity!  What you see here is the result.

The back story:

Last month, I entered a contest with my favorite online fabric store, Treasure Bay, and one a fabulous selection of Anna Maria Horner fat quarters.  I won seven fat quarters from her Innocent Crush (woven) collection.  When it arrived, my three year old got first pic and chose the blue fabrics as her favorites. I immediately thought of this boring Hanna Anderson Picture of a Great Tee she loves to wear.  We have so many of them that I knew it would be ok to turn it into a dress.



The process:

I started out by cutting the fat quarters into four inch by 21 inch lengths.  After washing, 21 inches is how wide they each were.  I made one tier of three, one tier of four, and one tier of five choices.  I ruffled and serged all that into a skirt, just as you normally would to make a twirly skirt.  

Before I attached it, I had some leftover fabric I wanted to use to decorate the top.  This morning, I spent the better part of several hours looking at ruffle tutorial online, read Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing book, took the dog for a walk, and developed the courage to try something new with this top.  I made it all up.  Forgive me if it looks terrible or makes no sense, but I am going to blame it all on Amy.  It is her fault I took a chance and tried something new and different.  I used all my creative powers because, in the end, that is what sewing should be about.  Amy is right. :)

I make some wee strips of fabric, seams inside, and then put them in the machine to hand ruffle.  I wanted them to lay flat on the shirt so I fed a fold into the sewing machine ever inch or so, like so:

I did not use any pins because I couldn't figure out how to do that!  I just winged it.  Or wung it.  Whatever......

Halfway thru, I realized I had made a heart-shaped oval.  I was ok with that.

I made more ruffles and kept going.  I ended up making a wee booboo up at the shoulder but nicely covered it with some ruffle so you can't tell. Neener neener.

I like the way it looks.  It is not perfect but I don't care.  If I wanted perfect, I'd be in trouble.  Who makes anything perfect anymore?!?!

Next, I attached the skirt and finished it with a rolled edge, now that I have mastered that stitch on my serger, and Voila!

A fresh from the bathtub fashion show.  The best part is that it is a super twirly dress!

So, now, go try something new!  Be daring!  Read an Amy Karol book!  Have fun! Isn't that what life is all about?




  1. This is so beautiful, and what a wonderful way to use the AMH fabrics.

  2. What a transformation, it's brilliant and I'm not surprised your little girl is twirling around! I've got the Portabello Pixie Claire pattern and aim to sew it up soon, is there a problem with the fitting?

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog today too!

  3. The PP Claire pattern is wonderful. The petal knot dress, however, is not as full in the skirt as my little one would like. So, I used a different pattern, below, to make it fuller. And I like the ruffle on the Romeo and Mae pattern, on the hem. Win win!

    But PP Claire is a great pattern!

  4. Thanks for that, good to get the green light on the Claire pattern!