Monday, June 1, 2015

Fancy Finishes: Ric-Rac!

Here's a quick and fancy finish in the simplest way possible... using Ric-Rac!  

Today's tutorial is sponsored by Riley Blake Designs featuring fabrics from their new line by Zoe Pearn, Summer Song 2 and a few of my favorite notions they call Sew Together.

RBD's 1-1/2"-wide Jumbo Ric-Rac is my favorite for a quick finish - I think it resembles scallops without all the effort!  
"Simple Sadie" pattern
This "Simple Sadie" is the perfect quick quilt (8 seams, total!!)  Collect some large-print fabric that is just too cute to cut, add a border, then embellish with Ric-Rac or other notions instead of binding!  

This fabric is so adorable, even the selvages are just too cute!!
1-1/4 yards main print; (Summer Song 2 collection by Zoe Pearn for Riley Blake Designs)
   Cut:  1 @ 34 x 42" rectangle, 4 @ 5" squares
5/8 yard border print;
   Cut:  2 @ 5" x 34" strips, 2 @ 5" x 42" strips

1-1/2 yards backing  (RBD Gingham or Swiss Dots)
1/3 yard binding (optional) OR 6 yards Jumbo Teal Ric-Rac
48" x 58" batting  
GLUE STICK!  (a few, maybe!)
Removable fabric marking pen
I also added a little Hot Pink gathered gros-grain ribbon (6 yards) at the seamlines (do that before adding the ric-rac).  Simple cuteness.  

Here are a couple of samples I made to see how much of the ric-rac I wanted to reveal.  If you line up the edge of the jumbo ric-rac with the raw edge of the quilt then take 1/4" seam, you get windows! ↓↓

I love it, but couldn't figure out how to get the corners decent.  So I opted for the scallop look.  Whatever is laid out on the quilt body, that's what will show, minus the seam allowance, once the seam is sewn.

Cut out fabrics as indicated.  Stitch side borders to quilt center.  Stitch 5" squares to each end of the top and bottom border.  Match seams and sew top and bottom borders to the quilt.  If adding gathered ribbon trim to the seamlines, use a glue stick to position, then machine-stitch right down the center.  It is also helpful if you have pressed your seams open.

Mark each corner of the quilt top with a removable marking instrument to indicate the 1/4" stitching lines.  I like my Frixion gel pens, with heat-removable ink.

Cut ric-rac to fit each side with a bit of overlap. Use a glue stick or pins to position the ric-rac in just the right place.  Remember, what you lay out on the body of the quilt is what will be flipped to the outside edge once the seam is sewn, so be careful to keep that inside corner free of trim.  

Careful to keep the inside corner free. 

Stitch to baste the ric-rac in place with a scant 1/4" seam allowance.

Now, to get that no-binding finish--the Knife-Edge or Envelope Finish.  This technique works best on small projects, crib-size or smaller.

1)  First, lay out the backing with quilt top right sides together and pin.

2)  Stitch all the way around the perimeter of the quilt, using 1/4" seam allowance (from the edge of the quilt top, not including the ric-rac).   Leave an 8- to 10-inch opening on one side for turning.  Trim the backing if necessary.  

3)  Next, place quilt, top side down, over a piece of batting, about 3" longer and wider than the quilt.  I like Hobbs' Polydown for a comfy baby quilt.  Gives a little extra pouf.  Pin through all three layers.

Stitch along the same stitching lines used to sew the top and backing together.  Pivot at the corners and leave the same opening.
Trim the batting to about 1" from the stitches.  Clip the corners or try turning the corners using my No-Clip Corner technique.

4)  Turn the quilt right side out through the opening.

5)  Hand-stitch the opening closed.

Now with all the outside edges completely finished, the quilt is ready to tie, tack or "quilt as desired", How do you think I should quilt it?  By machine?  Big stitch with perle cotton?  Should I tie it?  I want this to be a snuggly soft quilt, so the quilting will be minimal.  The batting label will indicate how far apart the quilting can be.
"Simple Sadie" 43" x 53" baby quilt
featuring Summer Song 2 by Zoe Pearn for Riley Blake Designs,
and Sew Together notions.
Back to Ric-Rac! Looking through pictures, I realized that I've used ric-rac in quite a few of my projects!  Not just the Jumbo stuff, but others in the same family - the 3/4" small, and the 1" gathered gros-grain ribbon that gives a ric-racky appearance.  More ways to fancify!

This sweet Bloomin' Posy topper also features coordinating 3/4" ric-rac.

Tried to set my serpentine stitch (darning stitch) to apply the small ric-rac.  Worked pretty well with a stitch length of 2.5 and a width of 5.0.  Or you can just stitch a straight line down the middle.

Small ric-rac accent
Jumbo ric-rac makes a quick finish on this PJ pillow.  And more gathered ribbon for the purse handle.
Jumbo ric-rac alaso makes great flower stems!  In both the "Sheep Shape" quilt and the "Hexagarden" below, after basting in place, I used an edge-stitch to sew down each side of the stems.

Hope you enjoyed this little Fancy Finishes tutorial and showcase of a few of my favorite things!  


  1. I love Ric Rac on a baby quilt and it is easier than Prairie Points or like you said Scalloped Edges

  2. I haven't used the Jumbo Ric Rac yet but after see your beautiful project I will have.

  3. I'm not sure if I'm just having an off day or what-but Ive been wanting to know how to do this Ric RAC finish for awhile-but I dont understand this? I didnt quite get when or how the batting went in and when you did your quilting? Help

    1. Thanks for the question, Morgan! The batting is actually stitched to the quilt before it is turned right side out. The quilting is done after the outside edges are finished. I've edited to include a couple more pictures and descriptions to clarify.

  4. Nice tutorial, I'd like to try this. But I do wonder how you make the rick rack end at the corners like that.

  5. The ric rac looks so nice on the quilts. I love the little purse handle.

  6. Wonderful fun quilt! You are the ric-rac queen! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Ric Rac is so much fun. I want to find some wide cotton ric rac to play with a little fabric dying on!

  8. I love all that Ric cute!

  9. I followed your instructions and am happy of the results! Thank you much!


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