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Sewing with stretch knit fabrics: Flounces!

Christine Jonson Patterns

The Flounce is the IT design detail right now. How do you create a flounce? Why are stretch knit fabrics perfect for garments with flounces?

A flounce is not a ruffle. Let's get this one out of the way - a flounce is not gathered along it's joined edge with neckline or hem. It is a 1:1 ratio of neckline or hem edge to flounce edge, but flares out to 2:1 or greater along the loose, flounced edge.

Let's look at three garments with flounces:

The top garment is a straight, knee length skirt with a flounced hem (BaseWear Two). The middle image is a classic wrap top with a graduated flounced neckline edge (Ruffled Top and Swirl Skirt), and the last garment is a maxi skirt with a fishtail flounced hem that makes the shape of a 'mermaid' tail (Ruffled Top and Swirl Skirt). These details are not only easy to create, but add distinctive design details to classic pieces you wear in your wardrobe every day!

The top is a classic v-neck wrap top. Each side of the wrap is sewn into the side seam, the flounced band is added before the side seam is sewn and flipped over the top for a completely secure and enclosed neckline with no neckline hemming required!

The flounced skirt can be made in 15 minutes - it's a classic straight skirt in your choice of any length, that features an easy flounced hem that is raw-edged. This awesome skirt goes under a denim jacket and tee with sneakers for casual days, and dresses up for business dress events or under a cardigan or blouse for office workdays.

The swirl skirt is just divine. We show this paired with the Princess Wrap tee and sandals for a great summer look, but it also can go upscale in black with a black top and statement jewelry. You could overlay the skirt in a knit with a stretch lace (two layers), and wear it with a silk shantung cropped bodice top for a very popular two-piece prom look too.

The flounce is the IT look right now, create it easily with these three patterns.

You can also draft your own flounces, perfect for sleeves:

The joining edge is the inner circumference of a curve or circle (the longer the outer edge, the more ruffled the flounce, a circle has a greater ratio than a curve.)  The measurement of the inner side of the 'doughnut' of the pattern piece is the length of the hem or neckline you're attaching the flounce to. The outer edge and the flounce's depth is up to you - deeper = more ruffle, shallower = less ruffled. You can even do graduated flounces like the top, where one edge is narrower than another.

Why is a flounce perfect in stretch knit fabrics? Simple, you do not have to hem the outer edge! Knits don't ravel and cutting the flounce out with a rotary cutter gives a clean, stable edge.

To draft a flounce, grab a large round platter and a small saucer. Trace the large round platter on to newspaper, or pattern paper, and then position the smaller saucer in the middle. Draw around it. You now have a doughnut. Cut the doughnut out and slice through it to make a doughnut with a slide. Open the doughnut so the joining (inner) circle is flat. This is what you join to your garment. You can make flounces in all sizes (depending on what you need), and join two or more together at the short ends to create enough to go around a skirt or neckline.

Flounces are fun,  try it!

Ruffle Top & Swirl Skirt 419
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BaseWear 2 - 1025
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