Friday, August 9, 2013

"The Stephanie Skirt"....with a dash of "Ruffling Foot"

The Ruffling Foot, an intricate little gadget.  The first time I laid my eyes on one was at the very beginning of my sewing adventures.  I think it was on YouTube.  I couldn't believe it!  It was the coolest little foot.

It looked like something a "Steampunker" would have invented.  The Sewist behind the machine shot out those perfect ruffles with ease.  Wow!  It was like lightning striking.  Right then and there I new I had to have one.

I did a couple of hours of research on the internet and I couldn't find one that would fit my particular machine.  The Janome 2212.  "Nutssss"!  So with a Heavy Heart and sniffles, I went to my local Sewing Machine Center in Marmora, NJ (This was before I found Karen's Kreations).  I went in and explained my dilemma and after a couple of phone calls to the experts he produced  the "Baby Lock" ruffling foot.  Yes!  I was back in my "Sewing Saddle Again".

We tried it out on one of their Baby Lock machines that was just about identical to my Janome 2212 and it worked perfectly  This was really cool.  The damage for this little item was $40.00.  I didn't care though, this was going to be my newest and bestest foot.

Now lets fast forward to 1 August 2013.  I had tried to use my ruffling foot several times since I purchased it, without any particular project in mind.  I just couldn't seem to get it to work properly.  Maybe I didn't have it adjusted right or I was inserting the fabric incorrectly into the foot.  It all became a mystery to me, so I just tucked it away into my Notions Suitcase and there it sat....and sat....and sat.... Every once in a while I would think about it and just shake my head.  Why couldn't I get it to work.  Hmm....

So on this particular day I was cutting out my pattern for the Victoria Jones Hawaiian Shirt, Pattern # 210.  I was finally able to start this way cool shirt.  I was so excited!  I've been holding onto this pattern for a couple of months.  I had the fabric all washed and dried and ready to go.  Yea!!!

Timing in life sometimes can be a very funny thing.  That's when Stephanie walked into my sewing room with a Joann Fabrics Bag!  She was out shopping for the day, and all of a sudden I felt that all to familiar saying slip into my mind "When you least expect it, expect it".  She looked at me with those beautiful "Big Brown Eyes" and her bottom lip just tucked a little over her top lip, giving me the "I Love You my Baby Look".  She began by telling me how she stopped into Joann Fabrics today and picked up another 3 1/2 yards of the Black Ponte Roma knit she loved so much and if I could make her a skirt for work.  With a really nice "Ruffle at the bottom".

My eyes immediately shot over to my notions case.  Did that inanimate object.  My Baby Lock Ruffling Foot, (the ruffling foot I still haven't to this day figured out how to use) somehow telepathically tell Stephanie she needed a ruffle at the bottom of her skirt.

Not only that!  Did my Ruffling Foot somehow find a way to break out of that dark abyss of my notions case.  Was I finally going to once and for all tackle this problem head on and figure out how to use this way cool piece of advanced sewing machine engineering!  All very good questions.

Also on top of that.  Was I going to have to put aside my Victoria Jones Hawaiian Shirt.  The one pattern I've been itching to sew ever since I got it, for another day.  Hmm...When you least expect it, expect it.

My exact words to Stephanie were "I would Love to"!  So I changed gears, finished cutting out the last couple of pieces of my pattern.  Hung it all up on my pattern rack and set out on the new task at hand.

I pulled out the Ruffling Foot and started cutting up strips of fabric to practice on.  Over the next hour I looked at every aspect of how the foot fit onto my machine and the way it worked.  After going through the whole operation very thoroughly, I had come across a couple of screw settings that needed to be adjusted for my particular machine.  Hmm.... Odd that I hadn't noticed that before.

So now, all of a sudden like magic it started turning out the prettiest ruffles you have ever seen,  "I'm loving it".  I must have used a whole bobbins worth of thread just sewing ruffles on all different types of scrap fabric.  It was pretty cool!

With the ruffling foot debacle finally put to rest.  I now had to come up with a pattern for Stephanie's Skirt.  So I pulled out her measurements and said to myself "Let the Drafting Begin" and after a couple of hours I was finally done.  I came up with a real simple, cute, skirt that I was sure she would love.

I named it the "Stephanie Skirt".  It was fun coming up with my own pattern.

I made the bottom ruffle strip 7" wide and 43" long.  In the end I had to cut four of these out just to make it all the way around the skirt.  It's amazing the amount of material a ruffling foot can manipulate.  Jennifer from Historical had a mathematical equation for working out the exact amount of material needed for ruffles.  I am definitely going to have to go back and review exactly the numbers she used on that.  It will definitely come in handy for my next set of ruffles.

The main body of the skirt I curved in at the top a bit.  I also marked it for a nice set of inseam side pockets.  Stephanie Loves her Pockets!  Another nice thing about drafting this pattern is I can use it for so many different skirts.  Just change the fabric and pocket placement and you have a whole new skirt.

The skirt came out really nice and looked great on her.  It was ankle length and had a very nice sway movement about it.  She absolutely loved it!

The ruffling foot did a bang up job.  I am so glad I finally conquered this little device.  Sometimes it just takes that little extra push to figure how to do a little more complicated task.  Sorta like the first time you ever put a zipper in.  After I attached the ruffles to the main body of the skirt, I toped stitched it down all the way around.

The final view of the full "Stephanie Skirt".  The side inseam pockets came out really nice.  They just don't show up in these photo's.  When everything was said and done it was really a cool experience coming up with a pattern you drafted yourself and then putting it together and have everything come together just right.

Stephanie's Kinder Goth's trying to supervise me as I took the photo's.

That is it, the end of my post for today.  We just have a couple of things left....first the big "Shout Out".

Today that is going to....Peter Lappin of Male Pattern Boldness with his New York upbeat style and his constant pursuit for perfection.  He is definitely always working on the cutting edge of sewing.  Plus he's just plain fun to read.  So if you get the chance you just have to check his blog out!

and also....

This week the "Two Thumbs Up" goes to Pattern Review for always being there for every sewist.  This one link probably has more sewists in its community than any other site on the net.  It's a one stop shop for everything sewing and a must join for any sewist.

Until next time....Happy Sewing!    Seam Ripper Joe