Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sew Basic Session #3: Ruffles and Topstitch

Ok, lovelies!  Here we are already at the third and final session of It’s Sew Basic!  If you are just joining us, you can catch up on the Intro, First Session and Second Session.
This week we are going to add a cute ruffle to our pillow case and add some topstitch detail to create a crisp, clean seam.
Let’s start with our two remaining pieces of fabric.  Place them right sides together and pin along one of the short lengths.


Sew a straight line with your stitch length set at about 2. 


Don’t forget to backstitch at the start and finish! 
Open up your seam and press.


During the first lesson, we cut two pieces of our contrasting fabric into 6”x20” pieces.  Let’s be crazy and cut one more of those pieces to really give our ruffles some, well, ruffle!  Attach it to the end of the piece that you just sewed in the same manner that you did the first. 
You should end up with a piece that is 6”x60”.

Fold the entire piece lengthwise, with wrong sides
facing each other.  Like this.

Now give it a good press with a steamy iron to make a nice crease all the way down. 

Some people use “ironing” and “pressing” interchangeably.  Did you know that there is a difference between the two?
Ironing is what we do to clothing and involves sliding the heated iron across the fabric to remove wrinkles.  When you are sewing, you will want to press your heated iron onto the fabric and lift it back up.  When working with delicate fabric, it is a good idea to place a piece of muslin on top of your fabric to avoid scorching.  And never, ever, ever press over pins!  Not only will they melt, but they can leave goofy little puckers in your fabric that are hard to get out.  As you sew more and more, you will find that pressing will give your piece a
more professional appearance, even if there are mistakes.  A good press with a steamy iron can cover a multitude of sins! 
Now you are going to set your stitch length to the longest stitch.  On my machine, this is a 4.   Sew down the length on the opposite side of the crease you just pressed, but do not do a backstitch.  Leave about 6 inches of thread on each end. 

Now we’re going to another length of stitches, just to
the left of the previous one.

Here comes the fun part! 
Take hold of the bottom threads and gently gather the fabric.  Don’t pull too hard or you’ll break your thread.  Scoot your fabric around until you get a nice, pretty ruffle.


Continue gathering until the length of your ruffle
is about 36 inches. 
Fold your ruffle in half lengthwise and pin.  Then set your stitch length back to 2 and sew a straight line.  Backstitch at the start and finish. 

Open it up and you will have a circle of ruffle!  Place the ruffle around the outside of the main pillow case (at the open end) and begin pinning it in place, lining the raw edges of the pillow case with the raw edges of the ruffle.



If your ruffle is too short or too long, adjust your ruffle so that if fits all the way around.  Start at one of the seams of the main piece and begin sewing.  Try to stay to the left of your ruffling stitches.  


Remember to remove the pins as you sew.  When you’ve made your way around the entire pillow case, backstitch and turn the ruffle right side out.  If you accidentally go over the ruffle stitch, it is ok.  If you want, you can remove it with your seam ripper after you turn your ruffle right side out.


On the inside, press the seam towards the pillow case.

The final step is to topstitch.  This will create a clean, crisp seam and adds a little extra detail.  It will also hold the raw edge of the ruffle in place.  You can use a contrasting color of thread if you feel like being fancy.  I used blue.

Topstitch all the way around your pillow case, and remember to backstitch at the start and finish.  You can see my topstitch detail in the photo below.

And that’s it!  Put a pillow in your case and admire your work.  Then put on your cap and gown because you are a Sew Basic graduate!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this project and learned something about sewing.  Perhaps this little series has sparked a new interest and hobby for you?  I’d love to hear about it.  Please leave me a comment or email me at tinanicole12 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Here’s a big thanks to my sweet blog friend, Meg for teaming up with me on this.  Don’t forget to visit her next week and link up your pillow case!


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