Superb Scruffy Ric Rac! Blogged here.
Scruffy Badger is known for her love of ric rac. If she has a needle in her hand, she probably has a pile of ric rac nearby. Our Butterick apron calls for the addition of ric rac so I asked the woman herself to give us some inspiration – and she hasn’t let us down…
Embellishment with rick rack or is it ric rac? I dunno! I use both. I just know that I have a fondness for the curvy bumpy stuff: it’s relatively inexpensive, comes in all sorts of fabulous bright colours, can form the cutest scallops when used like piping inside a seam or underneath a hem and it’s pretty easy to work with.
My earliest memory of rick rack was as it was used by my Mum to hide the worn line on trousers whose lives were prolonged and hems let down as I’d grown, home-made cords as I remember! [Note from Ed: can we see the photos?!]
Aprons and rick rack also have an illustrious past, present and future. When searching for some inspiration I came across a few lovelies without having to look too hard- try this link to find the results of a Flickr search.
I picked out the following to provide some options for stirring your own particular form of creativity:
- A pretty edging on this really simple but very striking craft apron by Jennifer Ramos.
- Another use of ric rac to provide that perfect joining detail between two different but contrasting fabrics by Terrace-Hill
- This apron is rather glorious in its celebration of ric rac – By Kellie C on Flickr.
- You can even draw pictures- how about this cutie hello Kitty by Loverdovers clothing on Flickr.
- I also found a great tutorial for creating this beauty in polka dots and ric rac by Flamingo Toes here,
After all that inspiration I had to make my own! And while I was making them (yes, it was impossible to only make one!) I took a few pictures to help explain how I use ric rac in case it helps?! Not saying that it’s “the” definitive method, there may be other better ways out there, but it works for me.
So I chose first of all a pattern from the Liberty book of Home Sewing, but you can use my method for the apron of your choice, and at the end I’ll show you how I applied the method to a different style.
Using some contrasting yet coordinating fabrics in navy and white (ok,the perpetual favourites that are gingham and polka dots!) I decided to add a heart pocket. Here is the finished result.
I’ve edged the apron “body” with jumbo yellow ric rac and also surrounded the pocket with small yellow ric rac.
The instructions call for this apron to be lined, and in my view that’s an easy way to give a neat (and absorbent!) finish. Just cut your lining the same size as the piece you intend to surround with ric rac. So you have your apron pieces cut out, with a lining. Next step is to cut pieces for your heart pocket.
To make a heart pocket I drew my own template and cut out two pieces of fabric, one for the outside and one as lining. Now we have all our pieces we can start on ric rac attaching – pocket first.
I like to mark the seam allowance on the pocket front (not lining) and I usually do this by sewing a line of stitching using my machine and taking full advantage of its seam guide. But you could mark it by drawing a line with a pen on the right side of the fabric.
This stitching line then forms the placement guide for your ric rac. You want the centre of the ric rac to cover this line on the right side of the fabric. Pin the ric rac along the line, following the curves, through the centre of the ric rac. To determine where you need to join both ric rac ends where they meet, you need to play around a little and not pin all of the ric rac down so that you can pinch the ends together and experiment with where your ric rac seam needs to be in order for the ric rac to fit your shape when sitting flat. Pin the ric rac join , “right” sides together. Starting at about 3” from the pinned “ric rac join” baste the ric rac along its centre, finishing about 3” from the other side of the ”ric rac join”. Sew the “ric rac join” with your machine, then finish basting the ric rac to the heart pocket.
Next you place the pocket lining over the top of the pocket, right sides together. Flip it over so that you can see the back, the wrong side of the pocket front and pin together. You will see your ric rac (hand) basting. This is the line of stitching you will be following using your machine. You now need to sew along this basting line through all thicknesses, but leaving a 4” gap for turning. I tend to leave my gap on a straight edge as it is easier to make a neat finish when sewing closed later.
So now you can turn the pocket right side out through your gap once you have trimmed the seam, notched the curved edges, cut into the gap between the heart’s curved top and cut carefully close to the pointy end. You should now see a beautifully scallop-edged heart. Press and admire.
Now I find that if you have made your turning gap in the right place you don’t need to hand sew it closed as you can sew it closed at the same time as attaching the pocket. What might be the “right place” you might ask? Well, lower down one of the heart’s straight edges that is not the top (as that would be left unattached to the apron as a pocket opening, wouldn’t it!). So pinning your gap closed first, pin the pocket onto your apron where you want to place it – this is purely up to you – could be at a jaunty angle even! Determine where you will need to stitch to make it into a secure but functioning pocket and pin along your stitching line.
Next sew the pocket to the apron close to the pocket edge following your stitching line. You should now have a pretty pocket attached to your apron!
To edge the body of the apron with ric rac, follow the same principle for marking your seam line, pin then basting the ric rac along its centre line to the right side of the apron along this seam line, making a “ric rac join” in the same way as you did for the pocket where the two ends meet. Now if you are edging your apron without a frill, you just pop your lining on top, flip it over and pin together from the front (wrong side). This is then ready for sewing with your machine, apron front on top, follow those hand basting lines. If you have a frill as well, follow your instructions for making the frill, then pin it to the apron front, right sides together, then pop the lining on top.
Flip it all over so that the apron front (wrong side) is on top and pin the layers together, ready for sewing through everything, following the hand basting line that you made by attaching your ric rac.
Sew the lining to the apron along the sides and bottom edges leaving the top open for turning. Trim corners and seams then turn et voila! A scalloped edged apron! Continue to make up your apron following your instructions but I reckon you’re not far away from being able to wear it with pretty pride.
Here’s my other apron:
I couldn’t resist making a ric rac rainbow on the pocket! I also used the method above for making a scalloped edge around the whole pinny. This is also lined. I should say that if you want to avoid lining you can just attach ric rac to a hem you are sewing. Just press and pin your hem then place your ric rac to the back of the hem so that half of it pokes out to the front with a scalloped edge. Depending on the depth of your hem you may be able to sew ric rac and secure hem in the same line of stitching – or need to sew your hem and attach ric rac separately.
I hope this has given you some ideas and maybe you’ll try something you’ve not had a go at before? I warn you though, you may well become obsessed with pretty edges ….
Thank you so much, Scruffy Badger! Hasn’t she gone to a lot of effort on our behalves, readers? Now, where’s that ric rac…