Let’s Get Ruffled! Three tried-and-true ways to ruffle your fabric.

by | Mar 23, 2020

As Kim Christopherson says, “You can’t go wrong with ruffles!” And there are many ways to create a ruffle, from a ruffler foot to a serger and everything in between. Here are three easy ways to create ruffles with just your sewing machine–no extra equipment required. (These techniques work for both machine embroidery and sewing projects.)

Cut Your Fabric

A good rule of thumb is to cut your fabric two to three times longer than the area you’re going to cover with the ruffle. For a narrow, tightly-gathered ruffle, cut your fabric longer (three times the length). For a wider ruffle, cut your fabric shorter (about two times the length).

Ruffle One

  • Finish the raw edges of your fabric strip.
  • Set the stitch length on your machine to the very longest setting (a basting stitch).
  • Turn the tension up on your machine. As you begin sewing, ruffles will automatically appear!

Ruffle Two

  • Finish the raw edges of your fabric strip.
  • Set the stitch length on your machine to the very longest setting (a basting stitch).
  • Sew two rows of basting stitches across the top of the strip, about ⅛” to ¼” apart. (Note: We recommend sewing two rows so you’ll have a backup if one of the threads break!)
  • Keep your bobbin thread long.
  • Pull the bobbin threads to ruffle the fabric, making the ruffles as tight or as loose as you want them.

Ruffle Three (Kim’s Favorite!)

  • Grab the essential tool every sewing room should have: dental floss! (Warning: your projects may smell minty fresh!)
  • Finish the raw edges of your fabric strip.
  • Cut a piece of dental floss (a little longer than each strip).
  • Lay the dental floss flat along the fabric, about ¼” from the edge.
  • Set your machine stitch to the widest zig zag and the longest length possible.
  • Stitch over the top of the dental floss, trapping the floss inside the zig zag stitch (all the way down the length of the fabric strip).
  • Pull the floss to gather the fabric into a ruffle. Because the floss is strong, thick, and smooth, it’s very easy to pull and gather!

Watch this video to see Kim Christopherson demonstrating her favorite ruffling techniques!

https://youtu.be/9PU93bUoxKo

by Jenny Lyman

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