A day ago, I was defeated by the unruly ruffle for my Blue Cheetah Blouse. Today, I have a beautiful cheetah ruffle!
You will recall that my first attempts at finishing the ruffle edges and attaching it to the blouse were disastrous. After sleeping on it, I did some online research and came up with the suggestions that I use a Sharp needle (instead of the topstitch needle that was suggested by the Superior Threads speaker at the SewExpo in Puyallup) and water-soluble fabric glue for help turning the ruffle edge. After consulting with the fabric store clerk, I switched from Mettler thread to regular Coats and Clark thread. The Mettler doesn't feed well in my machine and the bobbin doesn't wind well with it either. (Oh - the biggest piece of information you need is that I DON'T have a serger! I'm learning that a serger would have made quick work of this ruffle edge. Maybe someday!)
I happened to have a second front neck ruffle piece because, at the outset, I was too lazy to reposition the slippery fabric to cut only one piece! So, I only had to cut out new back ruffle pieces. Good thing, because this was the end of my fabric, aside from some scraps for testing thread tension. Adjusting the thread tension may have been the biggest help. I tested with the new thread and needle on scraps in the different thickness I needed (in other words, one layer for the ruffle gathering, three layers for sewing it on the blouse and stitching the hemmed edge). This fixed the bobbin thread bunching problem I was having.
My first thought was to use the hemmer foot I found in my accessories stash. I practiced and felt reasonably okay with trying it, but I really didn't want to mess up this last attempt. It's tricky, but I'll probably use it on a cotton woven project where I'll have more control. The finished edge is beautiful.
Instead I opted to hand turn the edge, using the fabric glue. I stitched about 1/4 inch. from the edge all the way around the ruffle. Then, I folded on the stitchline, pressed and trimmed to 1/8 inch. Next, I used the fabric glue and pins to turn the edge under again and hold it until I stitched it. It was still difficult and took forever, but it worked!! Here's the finished ruffle on the blouse.
The irony of it is that the finished blouse is almost too snug. In the muslin, I took up the shoulder seams slightly and narrowed the back just a hair. Really not much. The muslin fit perfectly, but the polyester version is tight in the armholes and the darts are a smidge too high. Either this fabric reacts differently than the muslin, or because, it's slippery, I cut it smaller than the muslin was cut. Rats. It's still wearable under a jacket. And, I learned a TON!
What worked: Water-soluble fabric glue! Doing some research instead of giving up. Learning how to use the hemmer foot. Using a Sharp needle on polyester.
What didn't work: Cutting the muslin out of different fabric. Possibly how I sewed the darts.
Next project: Buying fabric for Over the Top April!