Back to School Blog Hop – Basics of Ruching!

Welcome back friends to my little blog where I’m participating in my good friend Sam Hunter’s Back to School Blog Hop! I’ve been a participant for several years in a row with Sam’s wonderful blog hop and I am so so so happy to teach you something near and dear to my heart – Ruching!

Ruching (pronounced rooshing) is a very old fabric manipulation technique that’s been used on gowns and quilts and home decor since the early 1700’s. Ruching can refer to any kind of fabric gathering technique, but here we are going to be specifically gathering strips of fabric. In Quilting, ruching was used on Baltimore Album quilts in the 1860’s. In historical clothing, you can see lot’s of gowns from this same era featuring ruched strips of ribbon adorning them as trims.

Your materials list is very simple: needle and thread (I like Jeana Kimball Wool Needles #7), a strip of fabric about 22 inches long and 2 inches wide, a pencil, an iron and ironing surface, and a Smocking Template to make some marks (I like using my mini smocking template for this technique, but you can use the large one too). Optionally, you can get some Thread Conditioner, like my Mind Your Own Beeswax, to strengthen your thread.

To begin, iron your strip so that the raw edges are in the center. The wrong side of your fabric, should yours have one, should be encapsulated in the middle, and you should only see right sides up.

Next, you need to mark your fabric on the side with the raw edges with a pencil, just at the top and bottom of the strip in a alternating pattern. This is so you have something to sew towards as you make your gathers. The smocking template makes quick work of this, but you could alternately use a ruler.

With your needle threaded (and optionally waxed), start in the bottom corner of the strip, and take an extra stitch so your knot doesn’t pull or pop out. Then take running stitches at an angle toward the opposite side of the strip to the mark you made with your pencil.

Here’s the trick of this whole process. No matter if your needle ends up on the top or bottom side of the strip, you want to make sure that your next stitch loops the thread over the edge of the fold of the fabric. I flip the thread over and start stitching towards the next mark.

After about 3 or 4 “zig zags” on your strip, you can start gently pulling the gathers. You do not want to wait until the end of sewing the whole strip to do this, or your thread will break in the middle! (Ask me how I know!) After you pull them and gather the fabric, take an extra stay stitch at that spot to keep them in place.

Keep going until you have gathered the whole strip! Now here’s where you can see some variations. If you skip a space on your smocking template when making your marks, you will create much wider gathers. This can create softer flowers or shapes. Remember, the raw edges and the marks are technically the back of your strip. You will use the other side as the “right” side.

Also, if you want the colors in a particular strip, you can select a fabric that has a print, but the print itself will be lost in the technique and just leave behind the pretty colors.

Once you have your strip gathered, you can hand applique it down like you would any other fabric. I use the points of the ruching as the spots that get tacked down to the background. I like to spiral them into flowers, tucking in the raw ends to hide them. But they can be stems, or swags, or whatever you like!

Ruching can add some beautiful dimension to your next quilting or garment project! I hope you give it a try! If you like this technique, you will love my online class! Check it out here.

Be sure to check out all of the other blogs participating in this year’s Back to School Blog Hop! Go back and read the previous days and be sure to check them out further along in the month!

Day 1 – September 1 – Sam Hunter: Sewing Long Seams Without Stretching – huntersdesignstudio.com

Day 2 – September 2 – Susan Arnold – Joining Binding the Easy Way – quiltfabrication.com

Day 3 – September 3 – Angie Wilson – Fussy cutting tips and techniques – www.gnomeangel.com

Day 4 – September 4 – Andi Stanfield – No-Mark HST: Let your machine be your guide – truebluequilts.com/blog/

Day 5 – September 5 – Bobbie Gentili – Say YES to Y-seams – geekybobbin.com

Day 6 – September 6 – Mel Beach – 5 Reasons to Say Woo Hoo! to School Glue – pieceloveandhappiness.blogspot.com

Day 7 – September 7 – Laura Piland – 7 Ways to Use a Laser on Your Sewing Machine – www.sliceofpiquilts.com

Day 8 – September 8 – Suzy Webster – How to solve loops in free motion quilting – www.websterquilt.com

Day 9 – September 9 – Tara Miller – Accurate Stitch-and-Flip Corners – quiltdistrict.com

Day 10 – September 10 – Latifah Saafir – Accurate Seams Using Masking Tape! – latifahsaafirstudios.com

Day 11 – September 11 – Sarah Ruiz – The Magic of Glue Basting – saroy.net

Day 12 – September 12 – Jen Shaffer – Ways to stop your ruler from slipping while cutting – patternsbyjen.blogspot.com

Day 13 – September 13 – Cheryl Sleboda – Basics of ruching (a vintage fabric manipulation technique) – muppin.com

Day 14 – September 14 – Raylee Bielenberg – Choosing quilting designs for your quilt – www.sunflowerstitcheries.com

Day 15 – September 15 – Jen Strauser – Accurate and Attractive Machine binding – dizzyquilter.com

Day 16 – September 16 – Jane Davidson – Matching points for all types of intersections – quiltjane.com

Day 17 – September 17 – Teresa Coates – Starch and starch alternatives – teresacoates.com

Day 18 – September 18 – Jen Frost – Benefits of spray basting – faithandfabricdesign.com

Day 19 – September 19 – Sandra Starley – Getting started with Hand Quilting – utahquiltappraiser.blogspot.com

Day 20 – September 20 – Karen Platt – Drunkard’s Path Made Easy – karenplatt.co.uk/blog/

Day 21 – September 21 – Kris Driessen – All Kinds of Square (in a Square) – scrapdash.com

Day 22 – September 22 – Sarah Goer – Planned Improv Piecing – sarahgoerquilts.com

Day 23 – September 23 – Kathy Bruckman – Organizing kits for on-the-go sewing – kathyskwiltsandmore.blogspot.com

Day 24 – September 24 – Cheryl Daines Brown – The Secret to Flat Quilt Tops: Borders – quilterchic.com

Day 25 – September 25 – Cherry Guidry – Pre-assembling fusible applique – cherryblossomsquilting.com

Day 26 – September 26 – Laura Chaney – Getting started with English Paper Piecing – prairiesewnstudios.com

Day 27 – September 27 – Ebony Love – Cutting Bias Strips from a Rectangle – lovebugstudios.com

Day 28 – September 28 – Tammy Silvers – Working with heavier weight threads in your machine – tamarinis.typepad.com

Day 29 – September 29 – Kathy Nutley – Create a perfect facing or frame with 90 degree angles – quiltingsbykathy.com

Day 30 – September 3 – Joanne Harris – Using Leaders and Enders – quiltsbyjoanne.blogspot.com

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Using your Heirloom Smocking Template with Paint!

When Pokey Bolton mentioned during my DVD blog hop that she wanted to use the smocking techniques with Shibori methods, I could NOT wait to try it out on some smocked samples I had laying around.
I used the Heirloom Smocking Template to draw my grid, and the instructions for several different smocking techniques (some are on the DVD and also available for download from my shop), and then got out my paints. These are quick to smock up, which I do in front of the TV!
IMG_4509In these examples, I used some sparkly acrylic fabric paints to lightly brush over the surface of the fabric. You do not need a lot of paint, and you just lightly brush it over the tops of the raised areas your smocking creates.
IMG_4507Then I let it dry and unpicked the stitches from the back with my scissors.  I ended up with a surface designed fabric that I can’t wait to use in a project!
IMG_4541

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Blog Hop Stop #10 – The Buck Stops Here (with a GIVEAWAY)!

Welcome to the last stop on the blog hop tour for my DVD “Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today’s Quilter“!  I’m so incredibly grateful to the fine folks on the blog tour so far.  They are all friends of mine that I have come to appreciate over the years. So here’s one last shout out to them, so go on and visit them.  It’s ok, I’ll wait.

June 9 – Susan Brubaker Knapp – http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com/
June 10 – Maddie Kertay – http://www.badassquilterssociety.com/
June 11 – Faith Jones – http://www.freshlemonsquilts.com/
June 12 – Lynn Krawczyk – http://smudgedtextilesstudio.com/blog/
June 13 – Julie Creus – http://www.latodera.com/blog
June 16 – Catherine Redford – http://catherineredford.com/
June 17 – Megan Dougherty – http://thebitchystitcher.com/
June 18 – Pokey Bolton – http://pokeysponderings.com/
June 19 – Jamie Fingal – http://www.jamiefingaldesigns.com/

Ok, now that you have seen how awesome my friends are, I’m happy you’re back for the giveaway.  The thing about making a DVD is that you work real hard making the samples, get all gussied up and do the taping, and then…. well you wait. And when it comes out, you have no idea if people like it.  So, if you have already gotten the DVD (or instant digital download), and you want to let others know what you thought, pop on over to the Interweave shop and leave a review! I really hope you love the DVD as much as I do, and I am happy to hear your thoughts.

And I also want to thank you all, my readers and friends, who have encouraged me to share my art with the world.

14QM15StoreImage_SmTmp_LandingSo, onto the giveaway!  I’m giving away a copy of the DVD!  WAHOO!  And Also one of my Heirloom Smocking Templates too!!  Now you will be all set to do many of the techniques on the video.

Here’s how to win it:

1.  Please only enter one time.  Multiple entries will be disqualified. (Comments are moderated, so you won’t see your entry online right away)
2. International entries are welcome!
3. You must leave me a way to contact you, so please leave your valid email address when leaving a comment.
4. The drawing will be open until Friday June 27th at 5:00 PM CST.
5. The winner will be chosen randomly the evening of June 27th.  Check back to see if you are the winner!  GOOD LUCK

COMMENTS ARE CLOSED, the winner will be posted shortly!

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Announcing the Blog Hop for my DVD!

I admit that I don’t like to watch myself on TV. I’ve acted in productions throughout high school and college, and have lots of public speaking experience through my day job in the comic book industry. But when I’m recorded, I just can’t bring myself to watch it. I am my own worst critic. I see everything that’s wrong with my own work, and a recording of me speaking is no different.
We had a little fun when I sat down to watch my DVD. I thought it would be neat to record myself, watching myself. Then my dear husband edited it down to just the “good parts”. If you want a little laugh, take a look here:

I’m happy to announce my blog hop for my DVD starts TODAY! WAHOO!

First up is Susan Brubaker Knapp. I’m a huge fan of her work. Her painted surface quilts and gorgeous stitching are a real treat. I think what I like best about Susan is that she’s one of those folks who shares her knowledge with others. When I met her finally on the set of Quilting Arts this past March, she was just the person I expected her to be: kind, helpful, interesting, and extremely talented! Please check out her blog over at http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com/ and take look at her artwork. While you are there, comment on her blog post to win some cool prizes!

Each day of the hop, I’ll post here, but here’s the list so you can follow along. Check them all out, they are all super fabulous folks who I’m proud to call my friends!

June 9 – Susan Brubaker Knapp – http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com/
June 10 – Maddie Kertay – http://www.badassquilterssociety.com/
June 11 – Faith Jones – http://www.freshlemonsquilts.com/
June 12 – Lynn Krawczyk – http://smudgedtextilesstudio.com/blog/
June 13 – Julie Creus – http://www.latodera.com/blog
June 16 – Catherine Redford – http://catherineredford.com/
June 17 – Megan Dougherty – http://thebitchystitcher.com/
June 18 – Pokey Bolton – http://pokeysponderings.com/
June 19 – Jamie Fingal – http://www.jamiefingaldesigns.com/
June 20 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://muppin.com/wordpress/index.php/blog/

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Who has Two Thumbs and is Excited for Her DVD? (THIS GIRL!)

Oh my gosh. It’s here! I feel like I just taped it! (Well, really I sort of did!)  So here I present to you: Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today’s Quilter!
14QM15 Just a few short weeks ago I was in the studio and nervous as hell, and now the DVD is ready for PREORDER?

Here’s the write up:

Quilting Arts Workshop: Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today’s Quilter
Smocking, Pintucks, Gathers & More
with Cheryl Sleboda DVD – 76 minutes
 
Take your next sewing project to new heights by adding an unexpected twist—fabric manipulation!
Learn the basics and beyond of vintage sewing techniques that can transform your quilts from flat to fabulous.
Award-winning quilter and heirloom sewing expert Cheryl Sleboda takes the mystery out of smocking, pintucks, pleats, and gathers, and will soon have you applying these simple and effective techniques to your own quilts and home décor projects.
After an overview of the history, tools, and materials used in dimensional sewing, Cheryl deftly describes and demonstrates each technique. Her shortcuts and tips simplify the most mystifying designs into easy-to-follow steps. Imagine creating smocked inserts for a sampler quilt, or a charming vintage-inspired pillow with a contemporary flair. Soon you’ll be creating your own dimensional designs using the time-tested methods demonstrated on this video.

I’m so excited I can barely stand it! And of course, it’s got a skull on it… it wouldn’t be mine unless it did, right? 🙂  Want to preorder one for yourself?  Check it out here!!

I’m planning all sorts of cool stuff and giveaways and more for the release, so I hope you will stay tuned.

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