This one won’t win you any points for historical accuracy or art. It’s more for those times when you need to put something decidedly ruff-like around a neck, and you need to do it in a big bad hurry. Say you’ve got a kid who needs a halloween costume, or, I dunno, a designer who needs 10 clown ruffs to put on a pack of galloping ballerinas doing a piece inspired by Pierrot and Columbine…. Ahem. Yes. Well. If you’ve hit the “Done is Beautiful” point, this is the ruff for you. If you’re looking to make a ruff The Right Way(tm), you maybe oughta take a pass…. ;)You will need the following measurements:
In a perfect world, you will know the neck measurement of the ruff-ee. (I wasn’t in a perfect world when I did this. I was in a costume shop, where the phrase “Just make it to fit you. That should work….” is not uncommon. This is where costume shops are a little like old-school tailor’s shops. We don’t have dress forms for all of our “clients”, nor (much to our chagrin) do we always even have a measurement sheet (that we can find), so there’s a lot of looking around for anyone or anything that looks to be about the right size and shape. If you get close enough, you can always tweak the fit later. This was utterly-horrifically-mind-bogglingly-SO-FREAKIN’-WRONG to my little just-got-me-a-fashion-degree brain when I started. It’s gotten more ok over the years. The mind adapts…)
So… My neck is 14.5″ at the base. To make something that looks convincingly like a ruff, you’ll need a strip of fabric 7″ wide and 45″ long, a yard or so of 1/2″ wide tape or ribbon (I’m using twill tape), and a sewing machine. I’ve serged off the edges of my fabric strip. You could roll them if you weren’t in a hurry. Then again, if you weren’t in a hurry, you probably wouldn’t be doing it this way…
We’re using two lines of stitch because it’s going to make the ruffle much easier to control. In the end, it’s faster to put the second line in than to work with the fabric when it only has one line of gathering stitches. Crazy, right?
Ok, the last couple steps probably look a little bass-ackwards. Here’s the thing: normally gathering things down is really fussy, and you either have to check the length a million times or you’re gathering to something, which is actually worse because you’re working gathers around pins and junk. We used the ruler once, and we haven’t had to pin a gosh-darned thing. It’s just faster that way.
Do not set the iron on the ruff. I mean, not unless you’re actually trying to make ye olde pancake-ruff, which never really caught on as a fashion trend….
And there you have it…. Sometimes, you just need the look.