Fast, ruffled edge DIY fleece ruana

I love a good Ruana, a sumputous cape and or cozy wraps, especially in the fall. Something about wrapping yourself in a beautiful warm piece of fabric just reminds me of autumn. This ruana is made out of Mill Direct Textiles (authentic) Polar fleece –  the real stuff  – in a beautiful peacock blue. I sewed a center gathered at ruffle along a curved edge to create this fun look. While this required a sewing machine, because of the ruffle, it’s a fast and easy project that makes a great gift. But this one is all for me.

This sewing pattern is Christine Jonson Patterns Travel Trio Three that also has a slim fitting raglan tee shirt,  an A-line skirt, a shirred turtleneck and a raglan turtleneck. Today is a cool, cloudy fall day with the maple trees ablaze with color. It feels like the kind of day you want to curl up and sew, a steaming cup of coffee at your side. It’s about my perfect thing to do on a day like today, followed by wrapping myself up in this gorgeous teal ruana and going for a walk with my dog. The best part about sewing these is wearing them! I love to wear my capes and wraps over a slim fitting sweater or T shirt and jeans and a pair of beautiful suede boots.

The ruffles were challenging, I’ll be honest. I don’t have a ruffler foot for my machine (and I’m unsure if it would work on this thick 200 weight fleece). So I ruffled five long strips about four feet in length (each). They ruffled down to about 30 inches each one and then I carefully sewed each one together. But as I got to the edges, the gathering thread (I did only one) started pulling out. I should have done a double row of gathering stitches – sometimes this does not work at all on thick fabrics like fleece, so I opted for one. But I ended up having to re-gather a couple of the strips. I also had to pin them all down, and as a I sewed, I flattened the ruffle on each side as it went under the presser foot.

About ten years ago this week, my husband and I took our then seven-month-old daughter to France. We spent a week in an apartment in Paris and a week in an apartment in Avignon in the south of France. It was a gorgeous fall trip, and while in Avignon, we stumbled across a farm market. There, a woman was making curved Ruanas with ruffles that looked pretty much just like this! They were beautiful – she had them in every color imaginable – camel, merlot, navy, red, citron, cerise pink, and of course, this beautiful teal. At the time, I said to myself, “oh I can make that”, which is every crafter’s promise (often unfulfilled). And it’s taken me a decade to make my rendition of it.

We walked around that market in the sun, the toasted hillsides and tall cedar trees rising above the terracotta roofs of the houses alongside the big parking lot where the market was held. We bought fancy soaps, now long since lathered up and loved, we bought delicious food (which we ate in our apartment) and I bought several lengths of fabric, A shower curtain with Provençale designs hangs in my guest bath (along with framed photos of that trip), blue-and-yellow-and-black print placemats and napkins now faded, and loved, lay folded in my table linen drawers in the kitchen.  While this fleece didn’t come home with me from France, the memory of that ruana in the stall at the market, that I can see so clearly, is now a reality.

I’ll love this ruana tomorrow with a cream sweater, jeans, a pair of light gray suede tall boots and a lovely scarf tied around my neck. Very French girl chic. Go, make yourself something lovely!

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