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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Selvage Finish for Ruffled Knit Slim Skirt

GREAT 10+ Year Wardrobe Staple Garment

I can’t believe this skirt has been in my wardrobe for 10 years now!  It was time to shorten it for the newer ‘look’, so I’m resurrecting (and adding to) my Blog post of August, 2007 today.

Blak Ruffled Skirt – August, 2007

In fact, I even made use of that ‘ruffled’ selvage edge as the finish on 2 of the ‘shell’ tank tops that I made of the same fabric.

selvage ruffle on top

I had limited yardage of this full-bodied black cotton/rayon/lycra knit in my stash.  I have TWO pair of pants and 3 tank tops of this great knit.  I wish I’d bought the entire bolt when I was offering fabric way back in 2003-2007 or so.  If you are a die-hard seamstress, and find a wonderful basic wardrobe fabric, BUY ALOT – and I mean, like 10 yards or so!!


The really cool thing about this fabric is its great,  somewhat ‘floppy’ selvage edge …which said “ruffle” to me.  Oftentimes when a selvage seems less than ‘flat’ and doesn’t want to ‘cooperate’, you just GRRRR at it.  Well, look again and see what it might become!

ruffle of selvage

So – I eeked out the front and back – gently curving the back hemline down some, and the front up a bit to center front.  Even 10 years ago, the ‘longer in the back’ hemline silhouette was good.


I cut a 5″ deep strip along the available selvage which yielded about 1.75 times the width of the lower circumference of the skirt.  That much fullness was fine, as this is a very full-bodied knit.

To gather, I did so on the serger.  It is ‘EASY PEASY ‘as my sewing industry friend, Marci Tilton, likes to say.

To gather on a serger, make these adjustments:

1.  Lengthen the stitch length.

2. Adjust differential feed to the highest number.

3.  Use a 4 thread stitch.

4.  Start AND end with about a 10″ long ‘chain’ of thread.

To gather, just pull on the NEEDLE THREADS to the desired length.  If you understand that the needle threads are what the looper threads ‘connect’ to, this will make sense.  In the same way you pull out the needle threads to ‘rip’ serging, you can also adjust the fabric fullness by distributing along the needle threads.  Pin ruffle onto the skirt edge, and tie or secure the needle threads to pins at the beginning and end.  Then, adjust the gathers equally along the hemline. Pin, then stitch.  The seam allowance will go UP, towards the skirt.  To keep it there, I topstitched as you can see in the photograph.


For the Waist elastic finish, I utilized  2″ wide black knit elastic following this technique.  To shorten, I did it from the top, so I just ripped off the elastic, fitted the skirt, putting the elastic back onto the top of the skirt.  I pulled the skirt UP until it was the length I desired, and marked the new top edge of the skirt.  Then, I followed the same technique I used when I initially made  this skirt as follows:

After joining the ends of the elastic so I had a stitched circle of elastic, I stitched on the elastic with a 1/4″ seam, placing the elastic on the OUTIDE of the top edge.  Note that I trimmed some of the seam allowances out – see photo below.

trimming to reduce bulk in seam area

Trimming to reduce bulk in seam area

Then, flip the elastic down into the inside.  The uppermost edge of the elastic then becomes ‘wrapped, and IS the topmost edge of the skirt. I don’t like the ‘look’ of an elastic ‘casing’ on my garments, so I then just stitch vertically at the side seams to ‘keep’ the elastic in place.

elastic flips to inside

Elastid flipe to inside, around upper edge.

So now – my skirt has ‘new life’ again.  HOWEVER, it will need yet one more trip to the sewing studio.  When I wore it, I realized that I needed to take it in at the waistline.  So OFF will come the elastic – to be done yet again to make it PERFECT.  Not fun, but the way I will MAKE MYSELF DO THIS is to discipline myself to accomplish this fix which will take maybe a whole 30-45′ BEFORE I let myself work on a new, fun project.

How do YOU discipline yourself in your sewing tasks?  Please comment to share below.  I do ‘approve’ comments before they can be seen.  I’m sorry to have to do this, but there are ugly ‘troll’s out there, seeking to use Blogs just to be ugly.  Sad, but true.

If you have any sewing questions, I’m most happy to try to answer.  Just send me an email and I’ll get back to you.  I may also use your question in an upcoming Blog Post.

Many great sewing products including books, DVDs, notions, and more are waiting here at my studio to come and help YOU in your sewing.  Hop over to to take a peek.  There are alot of great products at super low pricing in my SHOW Clearance Dept. HERE.

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