How to Sew Ruffles

Ruffles are a decorative and beautiful accent for any sewing project. They add a delicate and feminine touch to clothing, craft projects and home décor.

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Making your own clothes has become a big trend, so join the handmade movement and produce your own garments and craft projects!

Here are the four main methods for sewing ruffles.

1.      Pulling Thread

First, cut the fabric into 4-1/2-inch wide strips. The length of the fabric strip should be two to three times longer than the finished ruffle you require. A more gathered, fuller ruffle requires more length.

Ensure you use quality dressmaking fabric, such as that found at

A narrow or rolled hem works well, as does turning the edge below ¼ inch, then another ¼ inch, and then stitching closely to the edge. Leave the edges unfinished for a fun, frayed effect.

Ensure your sewing machine is on a long-stitch setting with low tension. Begin to stitch ¼ inch from the edge, leaving long trails of thread at the end and beginning of the stitch lines.

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Remove the fabric from the sewing machine and pull the bobbin thread tail at one end so the fabric begins to gather. Continue pulling and working the fabric down so the strip is gathered evenly and is the length you require. Ensure you do not pull too hard, which can pull the thread out.

2.      Parallel Lines

A second option that creates more even and gathered ruffles is sewing two lines of basting stitches parallel to each other. Follow the same steps described above, and add a second row of stitches ¼ inch below the original row of stitching.

The fabric will gather more evenly as the bobbin threads are pulled together.

3.      Ruffling Foot for Sewing Machines

If you’re sewing lots of ruffles, a ruffling foot attachment for your sewing machine may be useful. Simply place the strip of fabric between the foot plates and stitch; no thread pulling is required!

4.      The Quick Ruffle

The quickest method if you don’t need to be too precise is increasing the stitch length and tension on your sewing machine and sew through your fabric strips. The tight tension will create ruffles in the fabric.

Once you have sewn your ruffles, you need to steam and press them to make them smoother to work with.

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