A little over a week ago, I gasped when I saw the new shipment of knit fabrics over at imagine gnats — an array of gorgeous new colors and prints. When Rachael messaged me shortly thereafter I quickly agreed to help her try out some of the beautiful new fabrics. Who says no to playing with fabric, after all?
I was instantly drawn to a bright, bold print and knew it would be perfect for my middle girl. Rachael paired it with a coordinating solid and I set off to find the perfect pattern to use. My daughter is obsessed with ruffle pants right now, which helped narrow down my search; I decided on the Strawberry Fields Knit Triple Ruffle Pants by FooFoo Threads.
Then, I had a moment of slight panic when I remembered I’d be sewing with knits! I have handfuls of knit fabrics I purchased and then set aside because I prefer to sew with woven cottons. With Rachael depending on me to get this project done ASAP I knew I’d have to face it head on. Yikes.
A few days later, the mail lady delivered my pretty fabric and I was in love. The fabrics I chose were both Ponte de Roma knit — meaning they are a medium weight, with a beautiful drape and great recovery (you can stretch them and they come back to the original size really well). The colors were even more vibrant in person and they were silky soft. I had a feeling they’d be much easier to sew with then the lighter weight stuff I usually buy.
A quick run through the washer and dryer to get some measurements on shrinkage and I was ready to start sewing! Since I’ve made hundreds of pair of ruffle pants over the last 5 years, there wasn’t much need to the pattern. I used the pieces to cut what I needed, scanned through the directions (which are always well written, I love her patterns!) and off I went. My girl peeked in before bed to see what I was doing and was ecstatic to see I was making something for her.
Thankfully, the ponte de roma was fantastic to sew with! I used my serger for the main construction so the seams would have some stretch to them (a regular straight stitch has the tendency to snap when used on knit fabrics because the fabric stretches, and the seam doesn’t) and then topstitched ruffles with a twin needle on my sewing machine. The heavier weight kept the edges from curling and it didn’t get sucked down into my machine. One of the nicest things about knits too is the edges won’t fray; meaning there’s no need to finish the raw edges if you don’t want to. This not only makes it much easier to gather fabric for ruffles but it also meant I left the bottom edges of the ruffles unfinished. As I do with any knit garment, I used the walking foot on my sewing machine and ballpoint/jersey needles.
Start to finish I was done in just over an hour, and the results were fantastic!
The FooFoo Threads pattern is designed so the pants are more fitted through the waist/seat/hips and then widen out slightly through the leg. Not super skinny leggings, nor overly wide like traditional ruffle pants — in my opinion a perfect pattern for petite little girls. I will definitely be using this pattern to make her many pair of pants for spring/summer!
- They are both blends (95% polyester, 5% spandex for the print and 75% polyester, 21% rayon, 4% spandex for the solid) and a little heavier at 11-13oz/yard; it might get heavy if you use it for large projects but these itty bitty ruffle pants turned out at a reasonable weight.
- The fabric blends also meant less shrinkage when the fabrics were washed; the print shrunk from 36″ to 33.5″, the solid shrunk from 36″ to 34.5″. This is much less than most cotton knits.
- Both fabrics are a 2-way stretch (about 40-50% crosswise) and have 100% recovery.
- And they came out of the dryer wrinkle-free!
Overall, this project came together much better than I anticipated! The ponte de roma knits were great to work with. I’m already scheming items to make for ME with some of the other prints Rachael has in her shop.