Learn how to sew a flounce. The ‘flounce’ is the perfect accessory to exit from the center stage in a dramatic flurry of fabric and frills. The flounce makes a statement. It is exaggerated, full of movement, and swirls of fabric. The flounce in the dressmaking industry is cut from the curved flare of the fabric. The flare is created from circles of fabric and the inner circle is attached to the garment. Flounces can be added to hems, sleeves, cuffs and draped down the center front of the garment.
How to Sew a Flounce
How to Make a Flounce Pattern
The basic flounce pattern is based on 2 circles that look like a donut. The circle is measured, drawn accurately and then cut as a pattern for the flounce. It is a similar exercise to drafting a circular skirt pattern.
A flounce can be based on a full circle or a half circle.
You need to be familiar with calculating simple measures based on the radius of a circle. It is the inner circle of the pattern that determines the overall fit and fullness of the flounce.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Measure the length of the intended flounce and divide the measurement by 3.14. This gives you the radius for a half-circle. If you require a full circle divide by 2.
- Use the radius measurement you have to draw the first circle. This is the inner circle. Use a compass to draw this circle.
- Measure the height or drop length of the flounce and draw another circle round the inner circle to make a bigger outer circle.
Flounce Pattern Tips
Add on a hem allowance to your pattern and a seam allowance in the inner circle. Slash the circle open with a straight line. This is the straight grainline of the pattern.
Think about the amount of flare you want to have for your flounce. The smaller the inner circle the greater the flare. Other factors affecting the flare are the height or drop of the flounce once it is cut. You can lengthen the flounce by cutting and adding circles together to create a longer flounce.
Types of Flounces
There are several different kinds of flounce based on how they are cut.
- The shorter flounce or vertical flounce looks beautiful placed at a neckline. One circle will fit and lie very neatly. The end of the flounce may be curved to fit the design or left straight. The end will fall at a slant in line with the rest of the layers of the flounce.
- The double layer flounce is another version of the simple flounce. This is simply two layers of flounce with one being shorter than the other. Another variation of the flounce is cut longer and shorter as it tapers to the end of the flounce. The flounce can be cut on a ‘high low’ design and the finished flounce will start wide and become narrow.
- A square flounce gives an interesting edge. The pattern is based on the inner circle as a normal flounce is made, but the outer edge is a square, not a circle. The edges form points and hang like pennants.
- The spiral flounce is an interesting flounce with variations on the flare. You can get really creative with irregular circles and narrow to wide edges.
How to Hem a Flounce
The hem of a flounce is not easy to neaten because of its circular nature. A hem that is too bulky will affect the way the flounce hangs. The best suggestion is to hem the flounce with a serger. The hem is particularly important on a vertical flounce because both sides of the flounce will show as it hangs down the front of a blouse.
Depending on the fabric it is possible to line the flounce either with a self lining or with a lighter weight fabric. Using a lining means no raw edges will show and there is no need for a hem. This works best on fine fabrics with drape such as silk.
How to Get Creative with a Flounce
A flounce can be used to decorate almost anything. They look great on the front of a blouse. A single flounce down the center or multiple circular flounces under each other makes a very beautiful full finish to the front of a bodice. The peplum skirt uses a flounce to create the attached piece of fabric in a circular frill for the peplum addition to the skirt.
A top with a one-shoulder design looks really chic with a flounce to show off the design. One or more flounces look beautiful. A spiral flounce pattern gives more length to cover the shoulder and tapers to fit under the arm for the off-shoulder look.
How to Sew a Flounce
A flounced hem creates a flared look and is very feminine. The flounce adds detail to a plain skirt. The beauty of a flared flounce is it does not need gathering. The flounce cut out of a circular design has a natural flare created by the cut-out center circle.
How to Sew a Flounce to a Skirt
The grain of the fabric and the softness of the material creates the flared design without gathers. The inner-circle edge is attached to the hem edge of the skirt.
The length of the skirt needs to be shortened according to the length created with the addition of the flounce. These are all points to consider before adding the flounce. The length of the flounce will affect the length of the skirt.
A flounce is joined to an edge with right sides together. Use a narrow seam allowance of 1/4 inch (6mm). Wider seams are harder to sew.
Finish the edge with either a serger or zig-zag stitch. Once the seam is sewn, you can press the join with the seam allowance pointing towards the top of the garment.
Flounces vs Ruffles
Is there a difference between flounces and ruffles – Yes! The difference between the two is a ruffle is gathered to create the fullness. The main difference is a ruffle is a straight piece of fabric while a flounce is a circular piece of fabric that is cut to open the circle and allow it to be sewn as a decorative frill.
The gathers run along the top of the ruffle. A flounce is not gathered. It is smooth along the top of the flounce and the fullness is created by the bias-cut from the circular design.
A flounce is wider at the bottom than at the top.
How to Sew a Flounce – In Conclusion
If you decide to really get your creative juices flowing, the flounce is the way to go. There are so many variations and the draped effect of a flounce makes clothing look elegant and stylish.