The Dark Side of Ruffles

Loved browsing all the various aprons and Christmas decor bloggers have been sharing  – but I have to tell you, everyone’s using them but no one is talking about the dark side of ruffles. The items for sale, the projects on blogs – they all look so lovely and so perfect. No one shows pictures of what happens when you wash and dry the item. It’s time to fess up folks.

Case in point: I had found this stunning fabric of ruffles stitched to a net backing at JoAnn. Wonderful! So perfect for a large Christmas tablecloth.  Isn’t it just to die for? When I laid it out to be sure it was what I wanted, I fell in love.  Next step, wash and dry the fabric.

Yes, this is the same fabric as the top photo. It shrank a lot, which home sewers can remedy by a prewash and dry before you sew with the fabric – let’s hope all those folks selling do the same thing. I’ve mentioned before in this blog – if sellers are concerned the fabric won’t look “new”, just iron with a bit of starch. If the ruffle fabric wasn’t pre-shrunk – where it is stitched to the backing will get all scrunched up as the fabric shrinks and you’ll have much smaller ruffles than you thought.

Worse, it was a wrinkled mess. Yes, there is that distressed look that’s popular – but if it was THAT popular – wouldn’t folks show you pictures of the items for sale after they’re all wrinkly and “distressed” instead of when the ruffles look so perfect? This can be solved by ironing. But, I for one am not going to iron every single ruffle of a tablecloth or rows of ruffles on an apron. I may make an exception for something like the cuff of a Christmas stocking that would only be about 6 inches wide and you only pull it out once per year.

I’d thought about taking the fabric to the sewing machine and just stitching rows across the ruffles at 3 inch intervals to try to hold them down a bit flatter.  If I wouldn’t also have to stitch rows along the lengths of the ruffles to tack in the netting so the ruffles aren’t so widespread, I might have considered it. But it will take too much to salvage this huge piece of fabric. Need to find someone local much more industrious than me to donate it to.

The other thing I also like to point out is that for those of you making gifts – will your gift recipients really want to have to spend that much time ironing to make something look good?  Food for thought.

So, with ruffles out other than for really minor trim or unless stitched down (the thought being they’d look better after coming out of the dryer if they couldn’t roll up on themselves as much), it’s apron time again.

Went with my favorite tried and true pattern set and instructions as I outlined here and here. Sometimes the bottom flounce is longer, sometimes shorter. The apron is always lined with muslin. Small rows of ruffles are definitely out for me. The Valentine panel was a find at Country Cloth in Angels Camp, it’s by Makower UK with wonderful with truly metallic gold accents. The flounce and bib fabric is from JoAnn – an accent for the fall fest fabric I use quite a bit. The deep red with metallic gold is so perfect for me. The binding is pre-made Wrights trim.

Special Thanks to Melissa at My Craftie Life for featuring this post on her blog!

This post is participating in the following parties:


14 comments on “The Dark Side of Ruffles

  1. Simply Life says:

    it’s true- what a good point!

  2. Susan says:

    I don’t know about the dark side……….but i DO LOVE THAT APRON!!

  3. I’ve never seen an apron so beautiful! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  4. Lily says:

    This is lovely, I’ve been looking for a great apron pattern. My daughter and I will have a blast making this together!

  5. Your apron is truly beautiful, and I’m glad you avoided the dark side in creating it! What a horrible thing to happen to such pretty fabric!
    Happy REDnesday!

  6. Allison says:

    Very nice apron! And that is a great point about the ruffles. I made some ruffles for a table runner. I made them out of a tablecloth but I didn’t wash the tablecloth before I used it. It got a little dirty at Thanksgiving but I just hand washed it and let it air dry. All was fine.
    Thanks for linking up!

    • Maggie says:

      Thanks Allison – got a bunch of stuff I handwash and air dry although not one person I gift to is willing to go that extra step (everyone IS busy, work & spend time with family or work & hadnwash, hmmn). Always pre-shrink my fabric so thought pre-shrinking the tablecoth fabric would be ok – but noooooo. Congrats that the runner worked. I have an “anne gish” like runner I want to make with ruffles I saw over Christmas – but if I do it, I’ll know what I’m getting into 🙂

  7. Jackie says:

    Thanks for this! I love the apron too – I’ve also been looking for a pattern for making aprons (so I can stop ruining my clothes while I cook) and I think I just found it :- )

  8. Kristen says:

    oh love the apron!! So cute!! If you have a chance come link up to handmade tuesdays @ ladybug blessings.

  9. How disappointed you must have been about your ruffled fabric. It certainly doesn’t pay to skip steps – like preshrinking the materials. I’m afraid more and more retailers are letting buyers suffer the consequences of “skipped steps” though.
    The apron is adorable – perfect for Valentine’s hostessing.

    Thanks for linking to the party.

    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

  10. Melissa says:

    Those are so fun! I LOVE the apron! I want to start collecting them. Thanks for sharing over at Tuesday Tell All.

    • Maggie says:

      Well Melissa – if you use my “blog search” for apron you’ll see I have quite the collection myself and I have a few more posts on aprons to do yet!

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