Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Funky Feet

Got a funky new presser foot this weekend: The Ruffler.
I've entered the next stage of decorating my sewing/craft/storage room, which is fabric basket liners and accents. Stage 1 was organizing the closet; 2 was curtains; 3, paint and shelf-hanging; and the next two stages after this involve re-covering a padded chair and re-finishing picture frames. Future projects include replacing the window and maybe hanging a built-in ironing board. Anyway, this weekend I was looking at making about a mile of ruffles for basket liners. I basted about six inches of my fabric strip and suddenly remembered there might be a presser foot to make this go faster. I looked it up in my handy-dandy accessories guide and called my Viking dealer.

"Hey, Donna, do you have a--" glancing at guide, "gathering foot?"
"Let me check..." Pause. "I did, but I sold the last one. What are you working on?"
"I need to make about a mile of ruffles--"
"OH! Oh, you need The Ruffler." I swear I heard the capitals on that. "Once you use The Ruffler, you won't even look at a gathering foot."

Turns out The Ruffler will do everything a gathering foot will and more, which was reflected in the cost (but I got a good discount, benefit of having a good dealer!). Unlike the simple snap-on feet to which I've become accustomed, The Ruffler resembles some sort of tiny steel trap or torture device. There is a scythe-like piece that tucks the fabric in every few stitches (you decide) for perfectly even pleats, and a turn of a screw determines the fullness of the gather/pleat. I could wish for markings on the screw, so I could record my favorite settings, but overall it's pretty cool. You put a flat strip of fabric in the front end, and ruffles (or pleats) come out the back! You can even ruffle a piece of fabric and simultaneously attach it to a flat piece.

My hot-pink polka-dotted ruffles will coordinate with pink polka-dotted piping (say that five times fast!) on the padded chair. I learned to make piping in class last Thursday, using another handy little presser foot, the zipper foot. After first learning to determine how much yardage I needed for my ruffle strips, cutting that off my polka-dot fabric, and then learning to make bias strips from what was left, I sat down to sew the piping. Tina said it was easier not to pin, just to feed the bias strip and cording as I went, and she was right. It was almost relaxing, sort of zen, kind of fun, and I wound up with something resembling a polka-dotted snake. It's just hard not to be happy coiling up a pink-polka dotted snake!


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