Ruffles Everywhere

A good friend of mine recently gave birth to beautiful twin girls, and while we were visiting, I asked her if there was anything she needed for the girls.  Her response was more bibs.  I love to make a variety of baby items and have made a lot of things for my daughter and my friend’s new babies as well.  So of course I am up for the challenge. I wanted to make 2 bibs that were similar in style and color, yet different.  As I started to do my research on Pinterest, I remembered bookmarking a post on a ruffled bib shortly after Chloe grew out of needing one.  They are the cutest thing ever and instantly decided that is what I would make. Jess, over at Craftiness Is Not Optional is fantastic, and I have made several of her other tutorials before for Chloe.

The first thing I did was to try and decide on materials.  As I raided my fabric stash, I found everything I needed.  For the back of the bibs, I found some pink sparkly knit; for the front, I found two different patterned knits that both match the backing material, for the ruffles, I upcycled some old tee-shirts of mine.

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I was going to need a pattern and didn’t have one already drawn, so I went and found one of Chloe’s bibs and traced it on craft paper.  I wanted it to be a little longer though so I free handed and extended the bottom.  Then I traced about 1/2 inch around it for a seam allowance and then cut it out and I was ready to start cutting fabric.

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Next, I cut out my main bib materials.  I cut one front piece and 1 back piece, but because the bib is not symmetrical I cut the backing pieces in reverse so it would line up right when it was time to sew the bib together.  I worked on both at the same time and took pictures of each step.  However, I didn’t always take the pictures on just one of the bibs so one step my show one patterned fabric and the next will show the other.

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Next, I took the old shirts and turned those into my strips for the ruffles.  I ended up using 5 materials and needed 2 strips of each color. I first cut the hem off my shirts, I then made sure it was folded so the side seam would not become part of my strips.  I wanted my strips to be 12 inches long and 3/4 inch wide.  Since I was making 2 bibs I cut my pieces 1.5 inches wide and then cut that in half to so I would have 4 pieces instead of 2.  Once everything was cut and organized I was ready to start ruffling the strips.

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There are a couple different way to make ruffles and I use a ‘cheater’ method.  On my sewing machine I set my stitch length to as long as it goes and turn my machine tension way up.  This way as I sew through each strip down the middle it ruffles itself.

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Now I forgot to make sure I leave the threads long at both ends of the strips so if I needed to make adjustments, I would be able to.  Instead, I sewed them together in a daisy chain to save on time.  Of course it really didn’t save me time, it actually cost me more as I had to figure out how to adjust the ruffles where needed.  Live and Learn is one of the mottos that applies to my sewing and crafting projects.  I sometimes screw up more than I do right but I always learn and do it better the next time.

The next step was to layout all the ruffled strips on the bib and pin them down.  I wanted to make sure to use a different arrangement on each bib so it would set them apart a little bit. After they were pinned, I sewed each ruffle as close to the first seam as possible at a regular stitch and tension setting.

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As a side note, after I finished this step I looked behind to me to find my helpers sleeping on the job.  Yuna and Piper love to help when I sew, unfortunately they are not that helpful.

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I next grabbed my backing piece and placed it right side up and then took the ruffled piece and place it right side down right on top of the other piece, so that the right sides of the materials were facing.  I pinned all around the bib leaving about 4 inches or so at the bottom unpinned so I would remember not to sew there.  I left that space so I would be able to turn the bib right side out.  I don’t have any pictures of this but I tried to put my velcro on the inside so it would be sewn in to the seams and be fancy.  But it was such a failure I had to pull it all apart and do it the simple way.  After sewing around the bib a 1/2 inch from the edge, I used my pinking shears and trimmed all the edges before I turned it right side out.

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After I pressed my seams and folded in the opening so it would close up properly, I then top stitched 1/4 inch all the way around.  Then I added my velcro pieces.  One piece of velcro goes on the front and the other piece goes on the back.  So you should have velcro on both sides of the bib.  I always put the soft piece on the backing, not sure why, but it’s how I do it.  Then sew on the velcro and the bib should be all done!

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Typical me, I realized then that since I can’t seem to sew the same line twice, the two stitches on the ruffles looked sloppy, so I went back with my seam ripper and pulled out the longer ruffle stitches so it would look cleaner.  I can’t wait to give them to my friend and see how cute they look on her cuties!

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