The Swatch of the Month for May demonstrates our beaded ruffle stripe technique. This is a variation of our random ruffle technique, featured in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. You can add several rows of ruffles for a more elaborate textural design or use just one if you want to highlight the technique itself.

Detailed instructions on how to apply ruffles can be found on pages 107-108 in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. To add ruffles to your swatch, you will need to use tailor’s chalk to draw a line (or several lines) on the right side of your top layer fabric. This will be your guide for where to add your ruffles.

To make a ruffle stripe, cut a 1”-wide strip of cotton jersey, sew with a basting stitch down the middle of the strip, then pull on the ends of the basting thread to ruffle, or gather, the strip. Attach the ruffled stripes to your double-layer fabric swatch by first basting them down (along your chalked line) with an all-purpose thread and then securing them with a stretch stitch or another decorative stitch down the center of the ruffle. We used a zigzag chain stitch on our version of the swatch.

For our swatch, we have opted to add chop beads to the stitches securing the ruffle to the base fabric. The beading adds a bit of sparkle, dimension, and detail.



10” x 16” cotton jersey fabric swatch for top layer
10” x 16” cotton jersey fabric swatch for backing layer
1” strip of fabric for ruffle (the May Swatch of the Month kit contains 4 strips)
Tailor’s chalk
Button Craft thread
All-purpose thread
Chop beads
Basic sewing supplies: pins, needles, embroidery scissors.


Fabric – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Top Layer Fabric color – Navy
Bottom Layer Fabric color – Navy
Ruffle color – Navy
Treatment – Beaded ruffle stripe
Button Craft thread – Navy #13
Bead type – Chop beads
Bead color – Dark Gray

You can opt to purchase a membership to our Swatch of the Month Club. Each month of 2014, you will receive a new swatch that you can use to sample some of our favorite embroidery techniques. You can join at any point in the calendar year; you will receive swatches from all previous months in the year.

Those of you who have been participating each month have completed swatches using reverse appliqué, outside reverse appliqué, beaded embroidery, and appliqué. Follow our Journal posts each month for illustrations of these and other techniques and ideas for projects using your completed swatches, like DIY book covers and DIY swatch pillows.

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