Monday, August 31, 2009

Oops! and Ruffle Frustrations

In my last post I mentioned I had 28 yards of bias strips to gather up for the five rows of ruffles on the 1875 Lizzy skirt. Well... That was only the length of the striped fabric! I had another 20 of the solid blue color!

So, I actually had 48 yards (yes - forty-eight) of bias strips to run through my ruffler foot then pin and sew to the skirt base. (When all was said and done, I have enough pleated ruffle strips left that I don't have to cut and hem more for the bodice hem ruffle and perhaps even the sleeve ruffles. Yippie!)

Speaking of my ruffler foot - AAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!

So I took my machine in for a cleaning since it'd last seen a tech in, like, 2002. (I have a Viking so it's self-oiling but it does need to be cleaned every once in a while - you would think I'd pay attention to that. duh) Well, I've not had a problem, although the black case where I plug in my cords had a crack right through it and the handle doesn't sit properly anymore. But I didn't think that my special Viking ruffler foot would cause a problem.

Something was amiss as I started running my kazillion yards through the foot. About every, oh, 10 inches or so the needle thread would shred and break. Like it was getting caught when it was moving around the bobbin. I was so confused and frustrated. What would have taken about an hour was nearly 2 and a half to finish the strips. I had to go super slow and the thread would still break.

Apparently the needle was hitting the feeder on the foot. It dulled my needle like nothing else which didn't help the problem as I continued to feed my fabric through. Hopefully that'll not happen again and it'll play nice next time.

But it got done and here is the skirt with the glorious, sheer bias ruffles:

It did end up taking a few evenings and several hours (albeit watching Firefly episodes) to scallop pink both edges of each bias strip. With no sewn hem, the ruffles stay light and airy.


Anonymous said...

So beautiful!

How do you wash historical dresses?

Jennifer said...

Thanks! Still working on it...

I've prewashed all the fabric for this 1875 dress as it's all cottons. However, if/when it needs cleaning I may just take it to a good dry-cleaner. Depending on the bodice trim, I might hand wash that at home. The washer would destroy the delicate pinked ruffle edges.

I'm careful with my historical clothing to keep it as clean as possible. Although, I wear my historical pieces as clothing and not as a costume so I treat them as my own modern clothes.

For Civil War, I make them durable enough to throw into the washer and dryer after events (can't leave that campfire smoke smell in the fabric).

Sometimes, especially on my silk evening gowns, I have them dry-cleaned. Other pieces don't need to be cleaned.

It all depends on what you are making, where you are wearing your project, the fabric it's made from, and what you will be doing in it, like how active will you be, to decide how, when and if you should clean the outfit. There is no one answer for all.

cherri said...

What did you use to pink the edges on your 1870's dress?

Jennifer said...

I simply used scalloped pinking shears. I liked the look of the scallop better than the traditional "v" pinking. I cut my strips first then pinked so my scallop would be on the correct side.

You can also use a rotary cutter with a scalloped blade to cut out your strips. All my ruffles were cut on the bias.