Flounce Instructions-New and Improved

For those of you that were inspired by Cande’s flounce philandering, she worked very hard to get a more clear and detailed version so you can do it yourself. Thanks for taking the extra time! I’m sure she would like to know if it works for you or if you learn something she didn’t cover.

Sew, You’d Like to Flounce in 7 Easy Steps!
Kenzie Carlson

It might not be the latest dance craze, but it’s a fun (and EASY) design feature that you can add to a garment.

At the July Fashion Club, I featured two garments which the patterns were modified to incorporate a flounce. The knit top had a flounce added to the neck edge; the woven button-down not only had the neck edge flounce, but also a flounce cuff. You can refer to the July Club Sheets from the Material Girls Sewing website for specifics on those garments. Here, I want to focus on making a flounce pattern piece.

An easy flounce pattern piece is, what I call, a donut flounce. It’s in the shape of a donut and, when cut open, the inner edge is pulled straight and several donuts can be sewn together to make a longer string of opened donuts! Sounds easy!

• Pattern tracing paper (non-paper, fabric is best)
• Scissors
• Rotary cutter (for smooth cutting edge, but scissors okay)
• Cutting mat (if using rotary cutter)
• Tape measure
• Seam gauge
• Straight pins
• Pen
• Ribbon or string (for non-math method)
• Calculator (for math method)
• Garment (or pattern pieces) to attach flounce to

STEP 1: Deciding on Length of Flounce:
• Measure the garment (or pattern pieces) where the flounce will be attached to. Then, make it a tad longer (for good measure!).

Good to know:
Rather than making one large donut to follow the whole neck line, make smaller donuts. This way, there will be more waves (fullness) in the flounce as well as better use of the fashion fabric by using smaller pieces (perhaps, good use of larger scraps).

In a case of a vee neck, you can measure the back piece (shoulder seam to shoulder seam) as one donut cut from a single layer of fabric. Then, measure ½ of the front (shoulder seam to center front) as one donut cut from a double layer of fabric. The donuts can be pieced together at should seams and center front. Summary: back = 1 donut; front = 2 donuts.

Or, another vee neck idea, measure from back center to front center as 1 donut cut from a double layer of fabric. The donuts are pieced at center front and center back. Summary: left half = 1 donut; right half = 1 donut.

For a rounder neck opening, measure the back piece (shoulder seam to shoulder seam) as one donut cut from a single layer of fabric. Likewise, measure the front piece (shoulder seam to shoulder seam) as one donut cut from a single layer of fabric. Piece at shoulder seams. Summary: back = 1 donut; front = 1 donut.

STEP 2: Making the Donut’s Inner Circle:
The inner circle of the donut aligns with the garment where the flounce is attached.

• You just measured the garment (deciding on the length of flounce) and added a tad for good measure (say, an inch). Now, add any seam allowance to piece the flounce to other flounces (say, a narrow seam allowance of ¼” ). Let’s call this measurement INNER.

Non-Math Method:
• Cut a length of ribbon (or string)as long as INNER.
• Shape nicely into a circle on the pattern tracing paper.
• Carefully, use the pen to trace the ribbon.
• Remove ribbon.
Good to know: Doesn’t need to be a perfect circle!

Math Method:
• Calculate the Radius (distance from the center point to the donut’s inner circle).
Solve for Radius: Radius = Inner / 6.28 (note: 6.28 = 2 * pi)

• Stick a pin through the zero mark on the seam gauge and into the pattern tracing paper. (We’re making a makeshift compass!)

Or, stick the pin into the pattern tracing paper and snuggle the tape measure next to it, so the tape measure can swing on it’s edge in a circle fashion! Ta-da, makeshift compass.

• Holding the pin steady with one hand, take the other hand and place the pen at the Radius number on the seam gauge (or tape measure). Best you can, swing the measuring device (marking a line with the pen) in a circle fashion around the pin.

STEP 3: Deciding on the Width of the Flounce:
• Add up and let’s call this WIDTH:
o Seam allowance to attach the flounce
o Width of the finished flounce (suggestions: 2 ½” for neck line)
o Hem (suggestions: knit – no hem; woven – ½” for a double turn of ¼”)

STEP 4: Making the Donut’s Outer Circle:
• Place the seam gauge (0” spot) on the donut’s inner circle.
• Place the pen at the WIDTH number on the seam gauge. If you’re lucky at that spot on the seam gauge, there might be a hole to stick the pen into!
• Keeping your eye at the 0” spot, move the seam gauge along the inner circle, marking the outer circle with the pen. Go slow.

STEP 5: Cut Donut Pattern Piece:
• Carefully (and slowly), use the rotary cutter to cut pen lines.

STEP 6: Cut Opening to Donut Pattern Piece:
• Fold donut pattern piece in half, making a ½ circle. Make sure to align outer and inner edges as best as possible.
• Finger press only ONE fold.
• Open pattern piece back into a full circle.
• Cut along finger-pressed line.

STEP 7: Check for Flounce Fullness:
• Open pattern piece so the inner circle becomes a straight line. Magically, the flounce fullness and waviness appears below!!

• Put the pattern piece next to your body where the flounce will end up at. Remember that the flounce will end up narrower than the pattern piece. So, envision what it’ll look like after the fabric is hemmed and sewn to the garment.
o Does the width look too narrow or too wide? Remake the pattern piece adjusting WIDTH.
o Does it look too full (clown-like)?? Remake the pattern piece by increasing INNER. Perhaps, too many small circles are piecing together.
o Does it look too flat?? Remake the pattern piece by decreasing INNER. Perhaps, make this pattern piece into 2 smaller donuts.

Good to know:
The beauty of using fabric-type pattern tracing paper (over paper) is that you can test what the flounce will look like before cutting into the fashion fabric. Granted, though, the fashion fabric will be different in drape than the pattern tracing paper, especially if using knit. But, at least, you’ll be in the ballpark!

TIPS for Dealing with Stabilizing and Hemming:
After cutting your fashion fabric (and before cutting it open to make it straight), it’s a good idea to stabilize the fabric. Cutting a circle shape means that you’re working with a bias and, especially with wovens, bias can get stretched.

Stabilize with a spray (or machine stitch the inner circle) before folding the donut in half and finger pressing the fold to make the opening cut line.

Stray stabilizer on wovens is handy for a nice, flat hem! After stabilizer dries, finger press the outer edge ¼” (it kinda stays!!) and, then fold that over another ¼” and finger press. Follow this with a hot steamy iron and it’s ready for machine sewing!

TIPS for Attaching the Flounce:
Remember, the flounce was cut with a tad extra length? It’s best to have a bit longer flounce than to end up short!

To attach multiple donut flounces, I found the most accurate (and less frustrating) method is to attach the flounces to the garment, then to each other.

To do this method:
• Begin (and end) sewing the flounce to the garment at about 2” in from the finished flounce-to-flounce seam. You’ll end up with the flounce ends not attached.

For instance, if you want the front and back flounce donuts to join at the shoulder seams, start (and finish) attaching the front flounce 2” from the shoulder seam on the garment.

• After all the flounces are attached to the garment, attach them to each other while aligning the flounce to the garment. This way, you’ll take up the extra length into the seam allowance between the flounces, which can be trimmed away.

• Now, attach the remaining flounce to the garment.