Embellishing a Ruana

Lesson 2: Seam finishes

Since there is no assembly of a ruana, your next step is to decide how you want to finish the edges. You have two basic considerations; does your fabric ravel or not?

See Lesson 1: Cutting the ruana (and making a no-sew fleece ruana)

If your fabric ravels:

Make fringe! – sew a narrow line of zig zag stitching 1-2” inside of the outer edges of the ruana. Carefully, using a seam ripper point or a bamboo barbecue skewer, pull the long threads out, leaving the short cross threads to create fringe

This is cut fringe in craft fleece. If you have a woven wool fabric, you can pull the threads to create fringe.

This is cut fringe in craft fleece. If you have a woven wool fabric, you can pull the threads to create fringe.

Hem the edges: Press up the edges ½ to ¾” (depending on fabric thickness), then fold the raw edge under, tucking it right next to your pressed fold and press again. Topstitch.  While you’re stitching you can miter the corners or you can fold them down.

Accents to seam finishes: Sew a row of buttons 2” apart along the hemlines and front edge of your ruana. Dig into your ‘random button container’ (you know the one, with the onespare button from the shirts you got rid of long ago) and sew different (small) buttons along the hemline.

Sew silk or poly fringe band along the edge

Band the bottom edges: Hem the two long side edges, leaving the bottom and front bottoms raw. Take a band of fabric twice the width that you want your finished band to be plus ½” (e.g a 4” band = 9” wide fabric) x the length of the panel plus 1” (two front panels, one back panel, all 9” wide.) Sew one side of the band right sides together to the bottom of the ruana. Press toward the band. You should have ½” raw edge of the band on either side of the hemmed sides of the ruana. Fold up the band in half, matching the raw edges and sew each side, making sure it’s the same width as the hemmed panel you’re working with. Turn the band right side out, press under the raw edge and either topstitch, stitch in the ditch or slipstitch the panel band closed.

Make your ruana reversible:
Cut two ruanas from woven fabric, such as lightweight wool plaids or solids. Lay them right sides together and stitch around the entire ruana, leaving a 6” opening along one outer side hem panel. Turn the entire ruana right side out, press and slipstitch the opening closed. You can add fringe to this by sandwiching purchased fringe between the bottom layers. To keep the fringe in place while sewing and not have it catch in the seam, tape it down to the right side of the fabric with painter’s tape before sandwiching your fabric pieces together.

Add leather or faux leather or suede trim. On a woven fabric, sew the band of leather or faux leather (about 1-2” wide) right sides together along the edges of your ruana. Flip the trim over, press (from the fabric side) and topstitch the raw edge of the leather down on to your ruana. You will have to do this in strips as the leather or faux leather will be thicker and not as easy to miter (faux suede may be easier to miter the corners.)

 

If your fabric does not ravel:

Make your ruana reversible with knits – using two lightweight knits such as rayon/lycra jersey. Lay them right sides together and stitch around the entire ruana, leaving a 6” opening along one outer side hem panel. Turn the entire ruana right side out, press and slipstitch the opening closed. You can add fringe to this by sandwiching purchased fringe between the bottom layers. To keep the fringe in place while sewing and not have it catch in the seam, tape it down to the right side of the fabric with painter’s tape before sandwiching your fabric pieces together.

Cut your ruana and leave it raw edged

Cut fringe into your ruana (such as with craft fleece) using the tutorial in our No-Sew Fleece Ruana video

Cut the edges with a wavy rotary cutter blade

Punch holes in the edges using a flat decorative hole punch (the kind that you hammerdown)

Felt your fabric – wool jersey is especially nice; cut your hems with a decorative rotary cutter, punch holes and then felt the jersey – your ruana will be smaller depending onhow much you felt (you can cut it oversized if you like.)

Stitch beads or tassels to the corners

Make the ruana come to points in the front and add a decorative tassel

Cut the ruana sides and back as a big curve (curving down to the straight front opening and making the back a large rounded rectangle)

Add flounces. For easy flounces, if you have Base Wear Two skirt, use the flounce pattern from the skirt. A flounce is a complete circle; when opened and sewn together into strips, the narrower inner edge of the flounce allows the wider edge to ruffle beautifully. Serge this to the edge of your ruana. You can flounce on a flat edge or the curved edge (as indicated above.)

Visit our Pinterest board at https://www.pinterest.com/christinejonson/ruana-inspirations/ for more great ideas.

Show off your creations at our Facebook Group (free, and private): https://www.facebook.com/groups/635865426515467/

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