Saturday, October 8, 2011


Here's my first ruffled tote.  Read on to see some of the steps involved in making it.
After seeing numerous ruffles and ruffled items from curtains, to skirts to bags on the internet, I was determined to create a ruffle project of my own.  With my insane bag obsession, I figured that would be the best place to start.  Here's a quasi-tutorial, but be forewarned, when it comes to crafting/sewing I don't use patterns or measurements, I just jump in with both feet, go for broke and learn from my mistakes.  So...... 
I started by selecting some fabrics to use for ruffles.  I wanted a fall/autumn bag that I could carry from September through Thanksgiving, so I chose hues in brown, tan and orange.  How much fabric did I use to make the strips?  I have no clue.  I just started cutting strips :)

I created a small hem down one side of my fabric and then began a basting stitch roughly down the center of the piece.

A basting stitch is a loose and wide stitch with thread leads on both ends and no back stitching.  See the thread under my thumb?  That's the bottom thread that I pulled on with my left hand while pushing the fabric  to the right with my right hand.

Once the fabric is gathered, it looks like this.  When I was pleased with how ruffly my fabric was, I tied off both ends so it wouldn't unravel.  Because I didn't use a super long piece of fabric I ended up with a shorter ruffle, widely spaced.  For a tight ruffle I would have needed a piece of fabric probably twice as long.  But this was trial and error so I worked with what I had.

Here are all three fabric pieces ruffled and ready to attach to my bag.

I had some oatmeal colored duck cloth (basically it's a light weight canvas) that looks white in this picture, but it's not, it's cream, that I knew would make a cute bag.  I cut my duck fabric just a little wider than my ruffles and started stitching them together, beginning by pinning my ruffle onto the canvas.

The orange fabric was my first ruffle and I'm wondering if I should have started with the bottom ruffle first, but since I didn't, I had to get the top ruffle out of the way so I could attach the second ruffle, so I just pinned the top one out of the way.  I then pinned my second ruffle on and stitched it into place.  I continued until all three ruffles were attached.

Here's the back of the canvas bag with the top edge ironed and pinned, awaiting the handles before sewing. 

Handles are fun because they're sooo easy.  I cut two, even lengths of canvas, folded the edges together, ironed them down, pinned them and sewed all the way around to create a nice, even top stitch.

In case you're thinking, "I thought she was done with ruffles, this photo must be out of place," let me assure you, since it was a work in progress, I analyzed it with the three ruffles and decided it needed a fourth one. So here is the photo of the other three ruffles pinned out of the way and a fourth ruffle being added.

Once the ruffles were finished, I attached the handles (yep, by eye balling them instead of measuring like I probably should have :) turned the bag inside out and double-stitched the side seams, then turned it right side out and voila!  My first ruffled project.  What do you think?

Check out the links below to find my project and inspiration for much more:

No comments: