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premise: i have never been a “ruffle” person in my life. NEVER!! my mother and sister were both pretty surprised when i told them that i was working on a project made entirely of ruffles. but this is what happens: you look at other peoples’ blogs, poke through pinterest, and see all sorts of projects with these feminine characteristics that i’d never liked before. and i see that you can use them in a different way than i’d previously known, and i start to like them. and that’s what happened with the ruffle petticoat.
i first saw it on sneezerville (gracious, what lovely skirts that woman makes!). then on alisa burke. then somewhere else that i don’t remember anymore. later i saw a version with fewer ruffles on morning by morning productions. but it was the petticoat on suburbs mama that convinced me to make one too. first of all because… just look how cute she is dressed like that! but also because she made it completely out of recuperated t-shirts.
so i more or less followed her instructions. i took five, yes five, white t-shirts that were worn out in some spots that my mother and her husband had passed my way a while back.
one had a pocket, which i took out. i put it upside-down, opened the bottom hem a bit, threaded the elastic through, sewed the ends of the elastic together, and closed up the hem again. then i cut the t-shirt to get the skirt shape. i left part of the armpits to make it longer and make it wider at the bottom. then, using my rotary cutter, i started making 9 cm wide strips from the other t-shirts, using the part under the armpits.
i then ruffled the strips by sewing two parallel lines of the longest stitching possible without tacking down at the beginning and end. (i used another color to see the thread and take it out better, but i bet nobody would’ve noticed if i’d done it in white and just left it.) then you pull the threads very carefully to ruffle it, you pin them onto the base skirt, and you sew them on (i used a zig-zag stitch).
my idea was to use one circle-strip cut directly from the t-shirts for each layer, taking advantage of the fact that the white t-shirts didn’t have side seams. but i soon realized that the strips weren’t long enough to ruffle well. see above? already by the third row, the fabric was nearly flat.
so i took apart everything i’d done til then (the hero of this project was my seam-ripper) and i made longer strips by sewing together two t-shirt circles. this picture is when i was taking the ruffle stitches out from the doubled strips, which you can see are much more ruffly. i found it was easiest to pin the strips onto the base skirt evenly while wearing it, slipping the circle-strips over the skirt and pinning on half at a time, adjusting everything so the ruffles would be evenly distributed. of course, if i had a dress form, it would’ve been different.
this is what the armpit of the shirt used as a base looks like. you can’t see the armpit, obviously, when the strip is hanging down, but it is slightly fuller in those points.
i’m not 100% convinced with it wearing it just with a t-shirt, but it starts getting interesting adding more elements to the mix that cover the skirt a bit more.
it’s also pretty fun as a petticoat. you can let it hang out from under another skirt (here the dress that sherri made me) a bit more…
…or a bit less. here it’s under an asymmetrical skirt and i like how just a bit of ruffles stick out.
it’s cute from behind, too. you just have to careful of the extra bulk using it as a petticoat. you can see the bulk of the ruffles under lighter skirts (like my t-skirts).
someone home from school with a fever took advantage of the camera on the tripod and posed the way his mamma was.
and next is, of course, the jumping test! this skirt is very fun and also surprisingly heavy (the weight of five t-shirts, and all…), so it acts all fun when you spin or jump. conclusion? i like it, but it took me a TON of time to make this skirt, more than i’d ever imagined. plus i’m not happy with the length. i’d take off the lowest one or two levels, but i don’t have the heart to after all the work i put into them! i’m not a huge white fan and then the shades of the different whites don’t match up perfectly (i only realized after putting it all together). i thought that i could deal with that with a bit of bleach. i already have another version of this type of skirt in my head, but with fewer layers and more colorful. let’s see if i actually do it or not!