Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ruffle T-Shirt

I've had this t-shirt dress in my closet for at least 10 years.  It is from the Gap and I wore it as a bathing suit cover-up in my early 20's.  It's hard to imagine having an article of clothing for that long.  Anyway, I have not worn it aside from pjs for years.  It was time to deconstruct it or donate it to Goodwill.

What did I decide?  To making this a t-shirt with ruffles.  The long length allowed me to adorn it with itself.  Does that even make sense?  I don't know but here it goes:

I cut it about where the waistline would be and hemmed the now t-shirt top bottom edge with a ballpoint needle and a zig-zag stitch with a contrasting color: khaki green.

I then took the bottom skirt part and with my scissors, cut it into one very long continuous strip as if I were peeling an orange.  I did not concern myself that the strip was not perfectly cut.  There were some fat areas and skinny areas and parts where the scissor cuts were a bit jagged.  I figured it would add some character.

Once this was cut, I needed to make this my ruffle.  There are a few ways to make ruffles:
  1. Put sewing machine on the longest stitch and sew.  Sometimes this is all you have to do and the machine gathers it for you.  If not, then try #2.
  2. Do #1, but have a double stitch.  Meaning sew one line then go back and about a 1/4" apart, sew another line.  Hold one end of the two threads tight then with the other hand slide the fabric away from the holding hand.  This allows you to gather the ruffle and make it as full as you need it to be.
  3. Lastly, sew a zig-zag stitch over another, separate strong thread, making a channel.
I chose to do the 3rd way.  Here is a link (Sew 4 Home) to a site that has pictures of what I was trying to explain.  They explain it way better than I can. :-)

The zig-zag method is the second easiest (the first being #1 where the machine just does it for you).  I took the fabric strip and a separate spool of button thread and set the machine to the widest zig-zag.  I placed the button thread down under the presser foot, on top of the material and held it in place and stitched the zig-zag down the entire length of the material.  You have to ensure that you do not actually stitch the button thread.  You are just stitching over it to trap it under the zig-zag.

When I stitched a few inches, I went back to the beginning and tied the green thread and the white button thread in a knot.  This will ensure that the button thread is not pulled out from the channel while zig-zaging and ruffling. I sewed the whole length of the strip.

Then I held the opposite end of the button thread, where I ended, and slid the material down near the knotted end.  This was a long process because my strip was ridiculously long.  I did not want to run out of ruffle so I just did the whole thing.

The button thread will need to stay in the channel to maintain the ruffle until it is sewed in place.  Sometimes it can be removed, but if it is sewed over during the attachment step, then it will have to stay.  I took this now ruffle and adjusted it so it was nice and even.  I took this over to the t-shirt and pinned it, button thread side down, along the neckline of the t-shirt. 

I started pinning it at the back of the neck and where the two sides met in the front where the v-neck was, I continued it down the front.  I sewed it in place and...

How do you like it?  It is not perfect, but it is darn cute!  I will love this shirt for 10 more years!  Well, that is highly unlikely that ruffles like this will be in style continuously for 10 more years, but they keep coming back, so why not later too?

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