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Playroom Pillow #1 | How to Sew Ruffles

Oh. Ruffles. I think I was raised to love ruffles. Pretty sure I wore them 24/7 as a little girl. & that pretty much hasn’t changed. I am SO happy they are back in style, because I just cannot get enough! I just bought this (but sleeveless & in crisp ivory–& for $30 at TJs) to wear belted over a dress I have…with boots of course. ;) But my wardrobe is not where the ruffles stop.

I taught myself how to sew when I was decorating caroline’s nursery (which desperately needs to be re-photographed). I sewed a number of things in there & one of them was a dust ruffle that (shockingly) required me to learn how to ruffle. I scoured the internet & picked my friend’s brains & soon learned how easy it is. SO EASY that I started & cannot stop myself…

Enter the playroom. I have a love hate relationship with these stupid denim couches. They were the first purchase we made seven years ago as a married couple. I thought I loved them. Turns out, I hate them. BUT…not caring about them happens to be really great when they get abused loved by kiddos in the playroom all day long. So, not wanting to get rid of them (they ARE gosh darn comfy) I decided to get creative. I rocked a hefty soak with my Rockin Green. & started thinking. I could slip cover them. I’d love them white. But that is bad news with babies. I decided that I was OVER the back couch cushions & wanted to replace them with giant pillows. So I pinched my pennies & saved my coupons & bought six 30″x30″ pillows (half PB outlet, half the company store) & enough fabric to cover them & started daydreaming.

I decided I wanted them ALL different, because, well, that sounds fun. I thought it would make for (a) a quirky & cute room & (b) a heck of a spot to take pictures. So I started getting inspired. Etsy. Pinterest. & I found my six designs. Caroline helped while I cut fabric. She thought it was really funny to pull it & drag it around the room as soon as I had it laid out to cut. ::sigh:: It took twice as long. :[ but it was way more fun. :]

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Many of you have asked if I’d help you learn to use the machine you have sitting in the closet & all I can say is get it out & play! Mine sat and intimidated me in the closet for two years. Brand spankin’ new & collecting dust. Then I got pregnant & decided to learn how to use it. I don’t use patterns. I use my scissors, calculator, post-its, a disappearing ink pen & a big ol’ ruler thing that is 8″ x 24″ long. I won’t claim I know how to perfectly sew. But I do ok–and have never had anyone but youtube teach me. So get googling! :) But I’ll help you make ruffles, because they are SO fun & so versatile.

HOW TO RUFFLE

step 1: set your machine to the dotted, straight stitch (see it to the left of the 5.0 above–it’s usually the default on a digital machine), with the stitch length is as long as it can go. My machine will go to a 5. In layman terms (because I do not know what the “professional” terms are) this is how short/long your stitches are. Pretty please correct me, sewers, at any point. But you want them nice & long & loose.

step 2: sew a straight line the length of the fabric you want to ruffle. (for these, I used about a 4″ x 45″ inch strip of fabric)

step 3: Once you have your fabric stitched, you will see that there are two threads hanging off each end. You’ll want to grab the fabric, holding one of the two threads tight & try to pull it away from the end of the threads. One of the two threads will give, it’s just trial & error to find which one. Be gentle as you slide the fabric down the thread, as it is pretty easy to rip the thread, & then you have to start over. :(

step 4: Keep gathering the fabric by sliding it down the thread until you reach your desired ruffling effect.

see! not so hard! :)

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& this is where I got fancy. I sewed four ruffled lengths down my pillow cover, just following my stripes as the measuring guide. I ran another shorter stitch down the length of the ruffle (after I had pinned it in place) and it was securely attached. I also lined the pillow cover with muslin, so this secured the muslin to the striped fabric.

I always sew standing up on the corner of my kitchen counter. It is exposed on three sides & is the perfect place to set my machine & still be able to see caroline playing in the other room. That is probably the thing I will miss most about this house when we move! I was wearing my favorite new shoes the day I was sewing. A Franco Sarto steal from Nordstrom Rack. I cannot get enough of rich metallics right now.

undefined I don’t mind my ruffles messy with raw edges if the fabric has some weight. I’ll show you how to sew tidy ruffles on another pillow cover I made. Short non visual how-to: fold a piece of fabric, sew right sides together. Turn it inside out & iron flat, seam off to the side so you have a nice plain area on the back to sew down the middle. Then ruffle it the same as above. I tried it & it worked. I’ll be making a pillow for caroline’s nursery like this soon. :)

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& here is the finished product! Front & back envelope enclosure. I still need to add some velcro on the back, as the poofy pillows are a little too poofy for it to stay neatly together.

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Chair before & after. There is a second big pillow on there now–tutorial coming soon. I played with pleating & loved the result. FUN!

But really, it’s all about that little girl. My little mommy. Loving her babies. & snuggling them right there, her favorite new place to lounge. :):):) Cannot tell you the happiness this brings me.

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& indeed. It makes the perfect picture taking spot! (ruffly pillow on the right, behind her.) & well, the girl’s got a ruffly wardrobe too. We can’t even have plain t-shirts. Must have ruffles! ;)

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  • Chelsea McCown - Wonderful post!! That pillow is ADORABLE!! I taught our MOPS moms how to hand sew a pillow the other week, it’s a wonderful skill to have.

    I used to do my ruffles that way, and it works well, but try thos as well, if you can adjust your tension, it’s even EASIER!

    http://www.madebylex.com/2010/12/how-to-ruffle-fabric-with-your-sewing-machine.htmlReplyCancel

  • Emily - You and I have the same sewing machine, except mine’s teal! My mom taught me to sew when I was 12, and my husband bought me my very own machine for my 23rd Brithday. I’m big on making quilts at the moment, but pillows are in the near future!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Chaney - You are so creative! I love that – and how cute is your little girl???ReplyCancel

  • Corrina - Thank you oh so much! I can’t tell you how giddy I am to make ruffles…there will be ruffles everywhere!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen Sheehy - Love love love!!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - It was so lovely to meet you from Becky’s blog. What a fantastic interview. Your blog is wonderful… I look forward to following along! :)ReplyCancel

  • Tammy - Cute pillow! I came across your blog from Becky’s article. Another trick for ruffles is to use elastic thread in your bobbin. Some stores carry it or you can find it on line from fabric.com.ReplyCancel

  • April - I just read your interview over at Becky’s blog! So nice to “meet” you! You are such an incredible talent! I really love your photography! Your daughter is adorable!ReplyCancel

  • Angela S. - What a cute pillow! Love it!ReplyCancel

  • molly flanagan - you are so very productive. i give myself a pat on the back if i happen to get all the laundry folded and put away in one sitting! these are adorable!ReplyCancel

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