By: CT Baird

The fashion today is so very pretty and what adds to making it so very pretty is the use of ruffles. They do take a little time to sew but once the garment is finished are well worth the effort.

Once you learn the ins and outs of ruffles, then you can add then to a garment you are making without the ruffle being included in the original pattern. You just need to learn how to make the ruffles.

Ruffles, when produced by hand, can take some time, but worth the effort.

But...if you have a sewing machine with a zig-zag stitch, a ruffler attachment and a narrow hemmer, like a rolled hem attachment, then you can have a lot of fun making ruffles without much effort on your part.

The wider the ruffle, the fuller they need to be.

The rule of thumb is sheer fabrics need three times the finished ruffle and weightier fabrics only need two and a half times the finished length .

Once you have decided on your width and fullness of the ruffles, measure out on your fabric and start cutting out the fabric, remember to allow for hems.

I like to make a template from light cardboard, like manila folder thickness, of the finished width of the ruffle, use as a guide
to cut the fabric, allow for the hems. Then you can use the same template for pressing up the hems to sew. alternatively make two templates, one with hems added for the measuring and cutting and the other without hems for the pressing. This saves a lot of tedious measuring.

Join sections together, end to end, that's the width and make one continuous length

Stitch a narrow double folded hem along one long edge. If your ruffle is going to be on the outside, then you need to stitch both long edges with the narrow double-folded hems.

If you have a ruffler attachment for your sewing machine, then attach it and do a test ruffle so you can get the right fullness, follow the instructions for your ruffler attachment.

If you don't have a ruffler attachment, then you can make the ruffles this way. You need the zig-zag stitch for your machine, set to a very wide width and length. This will need a little practice too before you take on the ruffle.

You will need a strong cord, something like dental floss is good or a crochet thread. Lay this along the stitching line and being very careful not to catch the floss or thread, zig-zag over it.

When you have stitched the length of the ruffle, secure one end of the floss or thread by tying a large knot in it so it won't pull through. Now pull the other end of the floss or thread until you have the desired length of the ruffle and secure at that end.

Divide the finished length of your ruffle into 4 equal measures. If the
finished length will be say 36 inches, then mark out on your template 9 inches. Use this as a guide for getting the gathering even. Start by gathering up the ruffle in sections to the 9 inches and pin each section as you go, then machine stitch the ruffle, cord side up and keep gathers even on both sides of the pressure foot.

If you don't have a machine, then run a basting stitch along the ruffle sections and gather up using the same method as above to get them evenly gathered.

Now you can add ruffles to any garment you desire, it is all in the knowing how.

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