Variations on a Tee #2: Side Front Ruffle

Side Ruffle Tee Thumbnail

Source: via Trena on Pinterest

Pinterest really does have a use!  Although admittedly the time I spend on Pinterest is disproportionate to the actual creative output that results.

I pinned the top at left (from Etsy) a while back.  I just love the ruffle.  It's visually interesting without being too girly.

The asymmetric ruffle is a fairly common feature in RTW, as on this Travelsmith tee ($54), with its half neckline flounce that trails down slightly off from center front.

Source: via Trena on Pinterest

Another example is this RED Valentino top ($59.99 on deep discount at Bluefly), with applied ruffles in mixed materials.

Source: via Trena on Pinterest

A little wilder is this Shoshanna one shoulder top ($159, Bluefly).  It's hard to tell for sure, but it looks like the ruffle is a couple inches in from the side seam.  I like the way it meanders from the neckline to the hem.

Mark and Measure Cut Line

Slash and Spread Large Side

This is a fairly simple pattern to draft from a basic t-shirt block (which I now have, yay!).

Start by making a full front.  Mark a line from about an inch into the shoulder (exclusive of seam allowance) down to the hem, parallel to the center front marking.  Measure this line and make a note of it, as it's the length to which you will be gathering your ruffle.  Make hash marks along the line; mine are spaced 2 1/2 inches apart.

Cut the pattern apart along the line, then cut at the hash marks to the side seam allowance.  Spread at the slashes and lay the pattern out on more tissue, as shown above at the right (in the absence of pattern weights I used scissors and my pincushion to keep the pieces in place).

A note on grain: patterns I have sewn in this style generally have the grain marked such that the hem is trued up to run along crossgrain. Since this is just a casual knit, I laid it out in the most fabric-efficient way. It seems to sit fine, but note that "proper" grain should probably result in the hem being straight on the crossgrain.

Add Ruffle
Trace the pattern, making a smooth line on the spread edge.  Add ruffle allowance to your tracing.  My ruffle is 2 1/2 inches wide.  The ruffle ends at the shoulder seam allowance and hem allowance; you can see the notches at the top and bottom of the ruffle.
Front Pattern Laid Out

Measure  your curved center front edge.  Repeat the process on the other half of your front pattern, spreading the same amount.  Because your pieces are different sizes, the angle on the smaller piece is more extreme.  Also, despite my best efforts, I couldn't spread it to be quite as long as the larger half, so I had to take a few tucks when sewing the center front seam to get them to match.. 

Before assembling, finish the ruffle if you'd like.  My knit was a rather loose weave, so I serger rolled hemmed it.  Serger rolled hemming is such an easy finish it should be illegal.  The way it looks is so disproportionately high to how much effort it is!  I am LOVING my Juki MO 644-D for rolled hems.

I found it easier, to assemble the front before putting the rest of the top together.  Start by sewing the ruffle seam, between the shoulder seam allowance and the hem allowance, WRONG sides together.  You want the "seam allowance"--the ruffle--to be on the outside.  You will sew along the line where you traced the cut edges.  So in my case, I had a 2 1/2 inch "seam allowance." 

Be sure to leave the seam unsewn in the shoulder seam allowance/hem allowance.

A picture is worth a thousand words so I'll let the pic describe the next part.

Shoulder and Hem Technique

Essentially, clip into the seam allowance to the top and bottom of the ruffle stitching. Turn the seam allowances (shoulder seam allowance and hem allowance) to the inside. Stitch.

Ribbon Stay for Gathers
After the ruffle, shoulder seam allowance, and hem allowance are sewn and you have an intact front, gather the ruffle to your measured length.

As my red ruffle front dress was fresh in my mind, I used the same ribbon stay technique with the three rows of stitching--from the front in the ditch, and then on either side of the ruffle (also on the front--click on the link for details).  Because this wasn't quite so formal a project, I did the stitch-in-the-ditch by machine, rather than by hand as I did for the dress.

Next time I make this pattern I will consider using a firm elastic rather than a ribbon.  In my lightweight knit, the ribbon interferes somewhat with the flow of the top, though it does provide plenty of stability.

Now just assemble the t-shirt as you would any other.

Tee Shirt Variation #2: Side Ruffle Tee
Front with Skirt
I am having so much fun with t-shirt variations!  I'm counting my McCall 6363 knockoff as Variation #1.  I've already made another variation and have ideas for more.

I even have a special binder just for my t-shirt variation patterns.  As I posted a while back, I keep my traced off patterns in page protector sheets in 3 ring binders.  I was lamenting how costly the large 3 ring binders are, and people had a couple suggestions for obtaining them cheaper.

I was listing a bunch of stuff on Freecycle a couple weeks ago when it hit me that I should request some binders.  I have never actually asked for anything on Freecycle, though I've given away a TON of stuff (probably a literal ton, oy).

Well, within 3 hours of posting I had 3 large 3 ring binders in my possession.  It was amazing!  Freecycle is a great way to pass along your unwanted items.  I particularly like it for things that the Goodwill and other thrift-store type organizations would not be able to sell but are still useable, such as mostly full bottles of lotion or shampoo that I just didn't like or use.  Plus, people come to your place to pick it up!  For someone without a car, like me, this is a huge boon. 

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


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