finishing the seam allowance when attaching a ruffle
7 years agowendy @wendyls
I’m looking for a tidy way to finish the seam allowance of a ruffle that’s attached to the bottom of a skirt and any suggestions would be greatly welcome. Anyone have any neat tricks? I’m currently using a zigzag stitch but I’m finding it a bit sloppy (or maybe I’m a bit sloppy?!). I’m working with light weight cotton but don’t want it to add too much bulk seeing as the gathered edge of the ruffle already makes it a bit chunky. I’m thinking of trimming the edge of the ruffle and then folding over the other edge, thereby encasing the messy part (I’m sure this has a name, sorry) and possibly top stitching it into place. is this something that is done? I’ll probably try it anyway but thought I’d ask here first. I’m not sure if I’m being overly fussy about this or not. I just find it very satisfying when everything is tidy on the inside.7 years ago
Do you have a foot with your machine that will do a narrow double hem? Check your tool box and manual.
Save some scraps when you cut out and have a play with different size zigzags,I find that works really well if you can get a good stitch.7 years agoJan M @Jan M
If I am understanding correctly, I think wrapping the flat portion of the seam allowance over the gathered portion will only add more bulk.
When I try to tame gathered seams, I straight stitch through all thicknesses of the seam allowance, about 1/4″ from the original seam stitching. I trim just outside, but right next to, that line of straight stitching. Then, I zig zag the seam allowance. The “zig” would hit just outside the original seam stitching, and the “zag” would go just off the edge of the seam allowance. You will have to play with your machine settings to find the correct width and length of zig zag. The line of straight stitching should help to compact the gathers a little. Trimming off all fuzzies or ravels will help neaten everything. Press your seam allowance up, toward the skirt. You may still find that it helps to topstitch through the skirt and seam allowance to hold the seam allowance in place. Hope that makes sense!7 years ago
Whoops,sorry,I thought you meant hemming!
Binding this will give you a perfect finish too,and give nice body to the hem.
Rather then ‘wrapping’ it around the seam,sew the raw edge of the binding to the ruffle/skirt seam.press the lot up towards the skirt and top stitch the bias binding top edge.
I have seen a lot of vintage dresses finished this way.7 years agowendy @wendyls
Thank you both! I’m going to try the trick with the bias binding, it sounds like it should do the job without adding too much bulk. I’ve tried straight stitching it and trimming and then finishing with a zigzag, but it always seams to get a bit hairy in the wash. I also like the idea of top stitching because I think it should help my ruffle sit nicely and not flare out too much.
As a novice sewer, it’s great to be able to ask a question here and get advice from those with more experience. This forum is a fantastic resource. Thanks again for taking the time!7 years ago
Thats my pleasure Wendy!
If you get stuck,sing out and I will sew a little demo and pop it on flickr for you!
I look forward to seeing what you are making.7 years agoViolaisabelle @Violaisabelle
I would also suggest binding the seam. Another vintage method for finishing that type of seam is to sew the ruffle, wrong sides together, so that the seam is on the outside of the garment. What you do next is bind that seam with bias tape to enclose the seam so that you have a nice finish both on the inside and outside of the garment. When you stitch the bias tape on, you do so on the top and bottom of the tape. I have just uploaded a picture of an apron I did, with a decorative binding that matched the pockets and straps of my apron. Click on photo to make it larger. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33022738@N08/5819747509/in/photostream It’s a fun way to play with your fabrics and finish the garment nicely. 🙂
Carol7 years agoTamara @justsewit
Jan M made a very good suggestion for lessening the bulk of the seam. Using a rotary cutter carefully to trim the seam to the second straight stitching line is a great way to get rid of the “hairy” bits that makes the work look unsightly – I like to use this method when zigzagging a finish on the sewing machine, especially with heirloom garments.
If you don’t want to just leave it at that, you could add a binding and with the link Violaisabelle put on her post, you have the choice to make it a feature at the front or a nice tidy finish behind and also using either contrast or matching bias fabric which of course takes no time to make up yourself.
Is your frill doubled over? This would be adding to the bulk BUT it gives a much nicer finish than if you did a narrow hem or a rolled hem on the end – no risk of mucking this step up then.
What pattern are you using? Is there any room for a small fancy band in between the main dress and the frill? This would be different of course and give another aspect of a tidy finish to your frill. It could give a vintage feel to a modern pattern without it looking too old fashioned.
I would go with the bias finish for something different and tidy if you have a bit more time up your sleeve, not that it takes a lot of time but just edging it with two straight stitch lines 1/4″ away from each other and trimmed and zig zagged will look just fine if you are pressed for time, the bias just adds that bit extra.
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