Monday, March 30, 2015

An experiment - Ribbon/ Fabric Manipulation Technique

Posted by Kashmira

Many years ago I watched as my Grandma made dainty little flowers using a satin ribbon manipulation technique. It was simple enough to do, but gave a wonderful result. It involves:

A) Sewing a running stitch in a wave pattern along the length of the ribbon. (I've used contrasting thread for photo purposes.)

 B) Gathering it to form a scallop/ petal like effect.

C) Knotting off the two ends of the ribbon to form a petaled flower, with maybe a button center.

I've used this method to make satin ribbon flowers for earrings and such but I've always wanted to increase the scale and try this out on a piece of fabric. I decided to go big and experiment, but also wanted to achieve a complete project. And when I pondered on what to make with a strip of fabric, I immediately thought of a scarf. 

1) I debated on whether to use knit or cotton fabrics, but went with cotton as I thought it might hold it's shape better. I started by cutting fabric into strips 5" wide. The width of the fabric was 36" so I cut 3 strips in all to have a strip long enough to be manipulated and still have a decent sized scarf. 

2) Then I joined the strips together to make one long strip 108" * 5". It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to make it a double-sided scarf, so I did the same using another coordinating fabric.

3) I pressed the strips flat, opened up the join seams. Put the two strips of fabric right sides together and sewed around with 1/4" seam and left one short end open.

4) Then I clipped off the corners, turned the scarf right side out and ironed it flat.

5) Next I drew a wavy pattern, just like on the satin ribbon. 

6) At first I machine basted the wave but quickly realized it was getting problematic gathering the double layered cotton fabric. So instead I grabbed some embroidery floss, threaded it through a large sized hand-sewing needle and made a running stitch with 1/4" sized bites after laying the fabric strip flat on my work surface. 

7) I kept gathering the fabric to create scallops and adjusting the gathers as required. Once I was satisfied with the ruching and had reached the end I make a knot and cut the thread off. Next I machine sewed on the embroidery floss running stitch, through the ruching so that the scallops would stay in place.

That's it! The scarf was done in less than a couple of hours - with a few missteps along the way. Here's how it turned out. It's really quite frilly and while that's not everyone's cup of tea, I do think it's a dramatic look (project runway rubbing off!) and that there might be some girly girls out there who actually take a fancy to it! 

Considering this was completely an experiment, here's a couple of things I'd do differently:

1) I'd use more lightweight fabrics or maybe even try it with lightweight knits.

2) I'd use a narrower and shorter fabric strip. Narrower because the size of the scallops is quite big. Shorter because even after the ruching was done the scarf is still quite long.

Still, I'm not entirely disappointed with the outcome - I know a girl who likes her frills and when I gift this to her she will be thrilled!

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