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MCM Studio Designs’ Estherlyn Jumper Tutorial

Today on the blog I’ve invited Linda Lehn of MCM Studio Designs to share a tutorial with you! Hint: She’ll show you an easy alternative for making ruffles! Take it away Linda!

Thank you so much, Jaime, for allowing me to write a guest post!  I am delighted and honored to be here.

Today I am excited to share a tutorial for a modification that can be made to my Estherlyn’s Jumper pattern.  The pattern is available through Craftsy, my Big Cartel Shop and my Etsy Shop.

In this tutorial I will show you how to add ruffles to the front and hem of the jumper.
Thank you to Lily AnnaBella, Faith and Kristie Mason Photography for the modeled photos.
I have had this idea in my head ever since I first drew a sketch for this pattern.  I was really excited to get a chance to give it a go!
So here’s how you do it.
After cutting out the pattern, you will need to mark placement lines for the ruffles.
First make marks 3/4 inch (2 cm) above the bottom edge of the fabric at the center and side of the skirt piece. Do this with the skirt piece still folded in the center.

After that, to determine how far apart to draw your placement lines, measure from the mark at the center to the center top of the skirt piece.  Subtract 3/8 inch (1cm) for the seam allowance at the top.  This distance will vary with different sizes.

I decided that I wanted nine ruffles in between because I wanted my ruffles to be 2 1/2 inches (6.4 cm) wide. Nine ruffles that size gave me the closest to an even measurement that was slightly less than the 2 1/2 inches (6.4 cm).  This distance needs to be a slightly smaller width than the ruffle itself so that the ruffles will overlap.  It wasn’t exact, but it was close enough. It took a little calculating to get a measurement that was easy to work with.
Dividing that measurement by nine gave me approximately 2 1/8 inches (5.4 cm).
Take that measurement and measure up from the first line at the center and make a mark.  Do the same at the side edge of the skirt piece.  Continue making marks like this until you get to the top of the piece.  Once the right side done, flip it over and make marks along the other edge as well.
Use a design curve ruler and draw lines to join them.  Mark from the center to the righthand side.
Keep the marks on the design curve as close to 90 degrees at the center and side edges as possible.  Each row is slightly different.  You will need to move the ruler just a bit for each row.
Continue all the way up the front piece.
Flip it over and do the left hand side as well.  For the left hand side, the ruler will need to be flipped over as well.
You will also need to make a mark where the seam allowance will be on each side of the skirt pieces.  This will help you know where to begin and end gathering the ruffles.  Measure in 3/8 inch (1 cm) from the edge to place these marks.
At this point it is a good idea to finish the bottom edges of the front and back skirt pieces with a serger or other edge finishing method.
Cut the ruffles slightly wider than the measurement between the lines.  My lines were 2 1/8 inch (5.4 cm) apart, I cut the ruffles at 2 1/2 inches (6.4 cm).  The ruffles should be cut as width-of-fabric strips if you are using a ruffler foot.  If you are gathering by hand, you may want to calculate the length of the strips by measuring each line with a measuring tape and then using a 1.5 or 2:1 ratio to determine the length.  Each row as you go up will require less fabric than the one below it.
You will also need to cut two additional pieces for ruffles for the bottom hem of the skirt.  For mine, in addition to the nine that were needed for the rows in the front, I needed to cut two more, one for the bottom front and one for the back.
I used my serger to roll a hem on both long edges of the ruffles. You can also create a narrow hem on a regular sewing machine.  If you make a narrow hem, the strips will need to be cut even a little wider than I cut mine to accommodate for the hem. The width of the hem will determine how much wider to cut the strips.
Now you are ready for the fun part, adding the ruffles to the skirt piece.  I use a ruffler foot to attach mine.
This is how I line up the line on the skirt piece with the edge of the ruffle strip.  I keep them in line with the hinge on the ruffler foot.  This gives me about a 3/8 inch (1cm) allowance from the top edge of the ruffle.
When using my ruffler foot, I always set it to 0 tucks per stitch until I know that I have passed the seam allowance.  This keeps the fabric within the seam allowance flat and makes it much easier to sew the side seam of the dress.
Once I know that I am a few stitches beyond the seam allowance, I stop with my needle down and set it to 1 tuck per stitch. When I get to the mark for the seam allowance at the end of the ruffle, I stop and set it back to 0.
The markings on the ruffler foot tell you how often it will add a tuck.  Zero means that it will not add any tucks at all, 12 means that it will add one tuck every 12 stitches, 6 means one tuck every 6 stitches and 1 means that there will be a tuck for every stitch.  The amount of fabric that will be tucked is determined by how tight the screw at the top of the foot is turned.  Tighter means it will take a bigger tuck, looser means it will take a smaller tuck.  Stitch length plays a big part in the amount of gathering that will go into the ruffle as well.  I usually have to play with scraps a bit to make sure that I have the amount of gathering that I want.
It takes a little practice to learn how to use the ruffler foot. Your two pieces of fabric move through the machine at different rates.  I use my left hand to guide the ruffle and my right hand to guide the piece to which I am attaching the ruffle.
Start with the bottom ruffle and move your way up to the top.  The ruffle at the top should be flush with the top edge of the skirt piece.
There will be a lot of leftover ends to the ruffle pieces hanging over each side of the skirt.  Carefully trim them off.  This will be much easier to do from the back of the piece.  For the bottom ruffle, just extend the line from the side of the skirt.
Pin and then baste them down inside the seam allowance in order to make it easier to sew up the side seams of the dress.
Once the front skirt piece is finished, add a single ruffle to the bottom of the back skirt piece.  To do this, once again, make a mark 3/4 inch (2 cm) above the bottom edge of the back skirt piece, draw your line, attach the ruffle and trim it accordingly.
Once those pieces are complete with ruffles, finish sewing up the dress as the pattern is written using the partial lining option and omitting the hemming steps.
Instead of doing two buttons on each side, I decided to get really crazy and make my own buttons out of polymer clay and just put one large button on each side.
So, there you have it… a fun, cute way to snazz up your next Estherlyn!  Thanks for reading and I  hope that you have enjoyed this tutorial.