In this article, you will learn the basic principles for making and adding a ruffle to any item that you can sew. You can repurpose a skirt or a dress, make a cushion, or a cute 1950s-inspired apron from some upcycled fabric. There are so many possibilities. Please enjoy the tutorial!
Before You Begin:
You will need 2.5 – 3 times the length of fabric for the ruffle that you require. For an example: to make 12” of ruffles, you will need approximately 36” of fabric.
In the example shown, the fabric was cut 5” wide, to accommodate a doubled 1/2” hem on each long edge. The finished ruffle will be 3” wide.
How to Sew Ruffles:
- Press both long edges under 1/2”, then 1” to create the hems. Pin down if you desire.
- Using a 2mm stitch length, sew the hems in place on both long edges of your fabric.
- Set the stitch length on your sewing machine to 4mm or longer. You will now use this stitch length to create the gathering stitches.
- Sew one line of 4mm stitching, just next to the hem on one long edge, through the single layer of fabric. Leave a thread tail of at least 6” at each end.
- Sew a 2nd row of 4mm stitching 1/4” from the first line of stitching, through a single layer. Leave a thread tail of at least 6” at each end.
- The hem will be outside of these 2 rows of 4mm gathering stitches.
- Holding the 2 top threads of stitching, pulling them both at once, gather your fabric until it is a nice ruffle.
- Mark your base fabric with a fold-line or a marker-line in the desired place, and pin the ruffle along this line. You can be creative here, placing the ruffles straight, on an angle, or maybe even along a design in your fabric, as an accent.
- Change your needle setting back to 2mm and stitch the ruffle down, between the 2 gathering lines of stitching. The double gathering line will now hold the seamline quite flat while you sew.
- After sewing the ruffle in place, remove the lines of 4mm gathering stitching, for a nice tidy finish.
If you don’t really want to do the hemming and do want to do some upcycled thrifting – use a beautiful long silk scarf (or a few) to make your ruffles with!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and it has sparked some creative ideas for you! Happy sewing friends.