|2 1/4" wide, 3/4" knife pleated silk shantung ruffle trim|
|circa 1862, Met Museum Collection|
|Copying Ruffle Trim|
First, I took the 2 7/8 yard length of silk shantung that the pattern called for using as wide ruffles, cut out what I needed to cover my buttons, and then cut all of the rest of it into 2 3/4" wide cross-grain strips. My pattern instructions wanted me to do something weird with giant rectangles sewn into tubes, cutting lines transferred to the fabric and then cut apart on the marked lines. Um, no thanks. I cut my strips the way any self-respecting quilter cuts strips when she wants them to be accurate -- with a rotary cutter, an acrylic ruler, and a cutting mat. I left the selvages on (since the silk shantung ravels like your worst nightmare, seamed all of the strips into one LONG, LONG strip, and starched the giant silk fabric snake in hopes of getting it to behave better for the planned narrow hemming. Yes, I had grand plans of hemming nearly sixty yards of fabric -- make that nearly 120 yards of hemming, because the fabric strip had to be hemmed on both sides. I experimented with the 4 mm hemmer foot on my Bernina and the 2 mm hemmer foot on one of my vintage Singer Featherweights. And then I came to my senses. The fabric was way too ravelly, there was way too much of it, and way too little time. The Featherweight 2 mm hem was lovely, but it was very slow going to ensure that everything was feeding nicely into the little curved guide on the hemmer foot.
|Silk Shantung Frays Ferociously, First Pass Through the Serger|
|Second Pass Through the Serger, Tidy Rolled Hem on the Left Side|
I shaved off just the littlest bit on each side, and ended up with VERY labor intensive 2 1/2" wide black silk ribbon, basically. In hindsight, I should have just bought 20 yards of 2 1/2" wide ribbon! All of the effort I went to would be so much more worth it if I was making a custom ruffle that I couldn't buy, either the same green fabric as my dress, or a green and black stripe, or a plaid, or something cool like that. But I bought the silk shantung when I first bought the pattern, thinking it would be for those wide ruffles, and then I changed my mind, and then I felt obligated to make use of what I had purchased...
|Finished Ruffle Strips, Ready to Pleat|
So at the point that I had wrapped my continuous fabric strip into a giant coil as shown above. I had tested serger settings on some strips of green dress fabric scraps, and I decided that I liked the look of the resulting green ribbon strips with black thread edges. So I made a bit more of that to use for accessorizing my outfit later.
|Drapery Workroom Pleating Tape|
|Pinch and Fold on Blue 3 Line...|
|...Bring the Folded 3 Line to Meet the Blue 1 Line...|
|...Then sew down the center until you come to the next 1 line!|
I calculated that, allowing for extra trim due to the scalloped rather than straight application, I still had enough pleated ruffle trim for three rows of ruffles on my skirt and two rows of ruffles on each sleeve. After all of the hours I had put into making these ruffles "from scratch," I was not about to waste ANY ruffle trim!
But how to get those ruffles onto my skirt? Well, quilting tools to the rescue, once again.
|Base of Arc Ruler 8 1/4" from Hem at Scallop High Point|
|Marking Scallop Low Point|
|Pinning Pleated Ruffle Along Marked Scalloped Line|
|Plenty of Visibility with Open Toe Foot 20D|
|Easier to Keep Previous Stitching Line Centered on Needle with Foot 37D|
|Trimmed Skirt Panels, Folded Over 4x|