Saturday, April 20, 2013

More ruff construction

I have been grabbing photos here and there during the construction of the ruffs.
The top photo shows another ruff being laid out on the original pattern so that the markings for the folds can be made. Once all the circles have been marked (I think I cut 11 circles for this ruff), the next step is to thread a needle with a heavy thread- we use a button thread (Coats and Clark  Dual Duty Plus) and stitch down through one mark and up through the next to accordion pleat the ruff.
Tie off or wind the thread ends around a pin and then start sewing the inside edge of the ruff to the prepared neckband. You can see the stitches in the second photo. Sorry, I didn't get sewing action photos during the construction of the ruffs.

The third photo is another circular ruff we made. This one is in black linen with the same crin as a support structure. The difference here is the edge finish. This one has a piping edge, so that entails finding a fine cord - we ending up using yarn- inside a folded bias to make the piping first. The crin was stitched to one layer of the linen, then the piping was sewn to the edge, then the second layer of linen was used to "bag out" the outside edge. The tedious part of this process is the trimming and the pressing of the seam allowances along the outside edge, and then edge stitching the seam allowances down before you can join all the layers on the inside edge. You need to be careful to cut the one set of circles that form the top layer just outside your drawn line thereby making them just slightly larger, because you have to allow for the turn of the cloth taking up an incremental amount of the fabric.  The piped edge does make a beautiful finished edge to the ruff, but it also adds almost a days work compared to the sewn edge finish. The bottom photo is our spiral ruff in place on the doublet. I think I may need to provide a little supportasse at the back to make sure it doesn't ever flop downwards at the back due to its size.
The ruffs are snapped to the collars of the doublets so they can be removed for dry cleaning and other maintenance such as make-up removal.
I have also made straight ruffs that had a softer fabric sewn to the inner circle to allow them to come from the inside of the doublet collar, so there can be many variations on the theme.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ruff- moving onwards

 The ruff continues..........

Jumping ahead! The sandwich of silk and crin was basted together, then machine stitched to hold all the layers securely.
The outside edge was finished with a baby lock edge in metallic thread, silver on one side and gold on the other. The 1/4" seam allowance on the outside edge was cut off in the process.

The inner edge of the circle is not happy to be serged, and believe me, we tried. It was easier to use the industrial zig, and sew a very close zig over the machine stitch, then cut off the seam allowance by hand. A bit tedious, yes, but less
tedious than fighting with a serger!

After the edges are finished, marks must be made for gathering the edges into the figure eight formation. For this ruff, we knew that each section was cut to be 10 wedges, so the sections were remeasured and compared to the original pattern. The outer edge had stretched ever so slightly as may be expected with circles (bias). We decided to divide the sections into ten to maintain our plan, and marked both the inner and outer sections accordingly. Then, by hand with a strong thread, pick up those marks and create an accordion fold of fabric. Secure the thread, set aside and admire!

The next step is to prepare a neckband. We used two layers of grosgrain ribbon so it had some inherent strength. This is also a good time to sew snaps to the neckband, because it is irritating and awkward to sew them on later.

Once that is prepared, mark the neckband top and bottom edge every 1cm ( that is our chosen spacing), offsetting the marks on one edge by half.
For this particular ruff, K started setting the ruff to the band at the centre back. I had cut an extra four wedges at the front as insurance and I wanted the ruff to be symmetrical from the back. once we fit it to the garment, we could remove any extra.
 In even sized ruffs- that is with a single depth overall, you can start at one end and make your way to the other, but a good rule of thumb is to cut just a bit more than you think you need, because it is nothing to cut away excess, rather than trying to add more in.

Almost done by this point!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ruff, second post

 I have to say that it is difficult to get photos of the ruffs being made. I get something cut, then voila, it is being sewn together and I am cutting something else.

Here, I caught a quick photo of K- sewing together the Crin interlayer of the ruff.  This is the substance that will give the ruff structure. The Crin and the silk are cut exactly the same, there is a 1/4" seam allowance left on the inside and outside of the circles, that will get cut away as the edges are finished.
 The Crin is seamed by overlapping the seam allowances and stitching through the layers, just to keep it as flat as possible.
The silk layers are seamed together with a scant 1/4" seam allowance. The joins between the sections are carefully marked to prevent confusion.
Once all three layers are seamed together, the task of sandwich making begins. I was careful to make sure all the sections had matched grain lines, so the circular aspect was maintained.
The three layers are pinned, then basted together by hand. You can see the basted section being rolled up as K bastes. It is very important to keep the length under control while you are working on it.
After they are prepped, K will overlock the outside edge with metallic thread, and satin zig stitch the inside curved edge which is what will be sewn to the neckband. The inside curve is zigged and cut away by hand. We tried numerous samples trying to overlock the inside edge, but it wasn't working very well, so zigging was the next obvious finish.

Ok, off to cut something else, actually another ruff, then a cape, and some sleeves and a waistband, a collar, as well as some pockets for a variety of items, and talk to boots and shoes about sword belts ....well, you get the picture- it is busy!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Figure Eight Ruff

 One of the things on our to do list is making a large figure eight ruff.
 It has been a few years since we made one, but luckily Susy had kept samples from the last time as well as notes that she took during a mini course with a colleague. We actually have three figure eight ruffs to make, all slightly different, from black linen with a piped edge to this large graduated one.

This particular ruff was requested to be made specifically to these dimensions. The size at the neckband should be 2.5cm. The size on the outer edge (the figure eights) should be 7cm. The depth at the front should be 4 inches and gradually increase to a depth of 5 1/2 inches at the centre back.

The edge was to be baby locked in metallic thread.
The fabric is a satin weave silk organza. For structure, Susy made a sample with  an inner structure of heavy nylon crin. Odette 611 from Fucotex to be specific.

So I divided the neckline into sections and determined the depth of each section. I made five different "wedges" to correspond with those depths. I then figured out how many wedges would be needed to fit into each section of the neckband and drew them out as partial circles.
Once that was done, I taped the sections together and modified the outer edge so the 4 inch wedge section would blend into the  4 3/8" wedge section gradually, all the way to the 5 1/2" section. In other words when it was all taped together it was a spiral.
So far so good. Triple check everything. Once you start there is no going back.
Well there is, but it is messy, disheartening and time consuming. So I walked it through with the team, asked them to ponder anything I might have missed while I went to lunch before I started cutting out all the layers.
First- cut all the structure fabric, which is stiched together into a spiral. Then cut all the fashion fabric- double- a layer for the top and one for the underlayer. They will all be stitched together,  into spirals, before they are all sandwiched together.
Pictures to come.