Ruffles, Stitched by Hand


I’ve been making acres of ruffles. I have the punctured fingertips to prove it.

The ruffles are part of a wedding dress project I’ve been entrusted with. No, I didn’t make the dress, but I’m using raw silk and vintage lace to embellish it. The silk is new and the lace is the veil of the mother of the bride. She gave the okay to cut it, but that first snip was accompanied by a little gasp. After that it was easier. © Sue Schlabach

I wouldn’t dare show what I’m making before the bride—who will become my sister-in-law—has completed her walk down the aisle (in early June). But I’ve enjoyed photographing the process and like the abstract sculptural feel these ruffles have.

In February I went with my daughter’s class to the Billings Farm to experience a day in the 1890s. The kids learned to clean a barn stall, make butter, do laundry and make their lunch.

The last thing they learned was how to sew two quilt patches together. I sat in the circle and sewed a patch too. I hadn’t hand stitched anything in awhile, but still the needle and thread felt good in my hands. I helped the kids thread their needles and get started–watching both boys and girls doing their best to make it to the end of their six inch strip without a mishap.

Making small even stitches isn’t so important for ruffles, though I’m taking extra care for this special purpose. Even with a new millenium sewing machine, I still like what happens with a simple needle and thread and 36″ of bias-cut silk.

Magic every time.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Just A Smidgenreply
April 10, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Well.. the “unveiling” of this dress will be very exciting!!

April 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm
– In reply to: Just A Smidgen

Unveiling! Great bridal pun 🙂

Sue Adamreply
April 11, 2012 at 5:45 am

I am so excited to seeing, and you, and your family….have a wonderful trip. I am by the sea in Scotland, listening to sheep outside the windows and gulls swirling, and daffodils everywhere….

April 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm
– In reply to: Sue Adam

Ah, Scotland. I love the vibe of the place. The sounds, the smells. Soak them up for me and we’ll talk all about it when we meet at the wedding!

April 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Oh my goodness, your poor fingertips! This lucky bride can’t WAIT to see (and wear) the finished creation!

April 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm
– In reply to: Deb

Don’t worry, my dear, the punctures are at the surface and only make my calloused fingertips textured and dotted (so that they like to grab at all those yummy silk strands!). Only had one bleeder and it was from a pin! Ooops. xox

April 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Sounds really beautiful, I cannot wait to see the final project and I am sure the gain of the final product will far outweigh your fingertip pain!. Thank you for stopping by the Birdcage, I am glad you enjoyed.

April 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm

You are now on the road to Montréal. Unbelievable that we will see in 2 days, I am so excited !!! Safe travels, Sue !!!

The Reveal «reply
June 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm

[…] all those ruffles I was making in April? They turned into flowers. Dozens of raw silk flowers, that I overlaid on […]

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