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Monday, May 2, 2011

Fixing Clothing with Embellishments: Part I: Using Ruffles to Hide Holes

I know we have all had this scenario happen at our house.  Here's how the thinking goes: "Baby Jack's  favorite shirt got a hole in it.  It fits perfectly fine, but now we'll have to throw it away.  Oh, he'll be so disappointed.  I sure hope he doesn't notice it's missing from his closet."  Or maybe it goes like this, "Whaaaaat?  How did that happen?  We JUST got this shirt, and it already has a hole!  I wonder if I can return it...do I still have the receipt?"  Either way, you're totally bummed.  And probably about to throw the clothing (not to mention your money) down the drain.  But guess what?  Perhaps you do NOT need to throw it away.  In fact, you mostly likely won't need to!

There are so many easy ways to fix these kinds of items.  Especially when it comes to kids clothing in particular. Why?  Because you can get away with a lot of more embellishing "kid-style," if you will. You know what I mean....patches, ruffles, appliques.  These are all wonderful solutions for covering up holes or snags in clothing.

So, as I'm sure you've guessed, this recently happened at our house.  I had purchased a tank top from Baby Gap...before our daughter was even born, in fact.  I got it at the outlet, and in a size 12-18 months (yes, I like to plan ahead!).  So this Spring she is finally big enough to wear it.  So we tried it on, and guess what?  Not just one, but TWO holes were already in it (no wonder it was at the outlet, right?!!)!
one of the two holes I found....ugh.
As I sat muttering to myself {I won't go into what I was saying...it might have even been an expletive, not sure...but let's just say I wasn't happy - ha!}, I was just about to toss it. When all of a sudden, my crafty self came through and thought,"Wait just a minute here!  I can totally fix this!"  With ruffles.  Now how often can you say, "Ruffles to the rescue!"  Seriously!  I just looooooooooooove ruffles and am going to keep adding ruffles to everything for as long as they stay in style.
here it is...the fixed shirt...can i get a "thank you, ruffles!"?? :)
The other beauty of the fashions we're in right now? Raw edges. Mixing and matching.  Embellishing galore.  It's just the PERFECT time, style-wise (if you care about that at all!), to be able to change, upcycle and fix about anything!  Whoo-hoo! (Now if this style only NEVER went away, right?!)

So, as the shirt was made in a jersey knit (as most tshirts and cotton shirts are), I decided to stick with that same type of fabric for my ruffles I wanted to add.  I was ecstatic about using jersey knit, because when you cut this stuff it does NOT fray!!  This means a huge short-cut and time saver because you do.not.have.to.HEM.it!  Score!

So here are the steps I took to create this ruffled magic.  I do apologize for not having pictures of most of the process {including a picture of the original shirt - doh!}.  I wasn't planning to blog about this, but midway through my project, I thought to myself, "This is really something a lot of women should know about!  Ways to embellish and create and save money!"  So without further adieu...

First, I simply measured the length of the bottom part of the shirt.  Then I doubled that number (to get the length of the whole way around the shirt), then doubled it again.  {You always needs to multiple the total length you're going to ruffle by at least 1 1/2 times the length.  I like to go twice as long because it means even more ruffles!}

Then I cut 2 strips of jersey knit fabric.  One in white, and one in turquoise.  I cut each piece 3 inches wide and, again, 2 times the length around the bottom of her shirt.

Then I ruffled each strip with my sewing machine (click here to see a tutorial on how to make ruffles).  I did NOT secure the ruffles at this point.  {You could do that now, BUT you'll end up having to sew over the entire ruffled strip twice if you do that}.  So, for now, just sew on your basting stitch and gather & ruffle the strip of fabric now. 

Once ruffled, I placed the end of one of my ruffled strips (the white one) on the side seam of the shirt.  Then layed out the strip around the entire shirt {so that the ends of the ruffle met each other at the same side seam where I started} and made sure it fit around properly.  At this point, you will probably need to either ruffle some more, or let some ruffle out, if the ruffle is not fitting onto the shirt correctly {that is, matching up at the side seam}.  If the ruffle is hanging off the edge of the shirt, it's too long, and you need to ruffle your strip more.  If the ruffle is too short and not reaching the side seam, you need to let out some of the ruffle. Once I got it to fit around perfectly, I used oodles of pins to secure it in place!
 Go ahead and also pin the two ends of your ruffled strip together at the side seam.  Sew this together.  Be careful that you're sewing only the two strips together and not sewing it onto the shirt yet!
the two ends of one ruffled strip...pinned together and ready to be sewn

sewing the ends of the ruffled strip together...as you can see, NO shirt in sight here!
Now go ahead and sew that strip on.  Just sew right over your basting stitch.  Next up, the second ruffle.  I did the same thing with this ruffle, only pinned it below the first ruffle, of course.  I placed it so that the top ruffle would cover the top portion of this new one, but also so that this new ruffle would cover the bottom of the original hemline of the shirt.
here's how the ruffles look, placement-wise, on the shirt... the top (white) one is already sewn on...the bottom (turquoise) one, awaiting to be sewn.

here's how they lay when you put the ruffles down...you can see the white (top) ruffle just barely covers the bottom (turquoise) ruffle
Again, just sew the ends of it together first, then sew the entire ruffle on.  Trim your threads, remove pins, and presto!  Fixed shirt!  And in my opinion, this ruffling made the shirt look even cuter than the original!  Sa-weeeeeeeeeet!

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