Monday, February 10, 2014

How to make ruffles, gathers & pleats

These are the ways I've learned to do this.

Using a ruffler presser foot

make sure they fit in their positions properly

installed ruffler

This sewing machine attachment is not expensive and very easy to use. I bought this generic low shank ruffler at Joann's fabric store for about $10 with a 40% coupon. At the time, I was interested in making a ruffled apron, but couldn't figure out how to make them without this attachment. I enjoyed very much experimenting with it. 

You can see at the top it has a star and three different numbers. These are the three settings this ruffler has.
Set it at the star if you wish to sew in a straight line without having to change the presser foot. The 12, 6, 1 refers to how many ruffles per stitch. So, if positioned at 12 this means every 12 stitches it will create a ruffle, thus making ruffles 12 stitches apart. We have 6 stitches apart and 1 for every stitch. to select simply lift the plate and position the marker on whichever number you'd like.

Slide your piece of fabric following the arrow I drew.  The order should be, over, under, over and straight through. You might need to use tweezers or some pointy object to slide it in all the way through.

Now that you have mastered how to set your project through the ruffler, make sure you have the number of stitches per ruffles set and you may start sewing!

There are two ways you could do this. 
One, start by feeding the piece of fabric you want to sew your ruffles to at the bottom and independent from the ruffler. Then set the fabric that will become the ruflfes like shown on the picture below.

Now you may begin your sewing!

You can see here how the black plate is pushing the fabric in.

Now You can see how the ruffles look with the different setting. 

The above were done sewing the ruffles to the fabric at the same time. Now, let see how to do it separately.

First you sew your one strip of fabric into a ruffle of your desired length.

Then you pin it in place to the other fabric. and sew with 1/4" seam.

You are done! Your finished product should look like this.

So this is how I made my apron. I found this second method more useful for me, as I've mention I am still learning and once you figure a thing out a certain way you can break apart from the habits. It is hard for me to determine how much fabric I will need for each level. So, I sew a strip and then cut it to fit my need.

If you do not have access to a ruffler there are other easy and fun ways to make them.

Make pleats as you go 

I used an 8" square and a 4" by 22 " long piece of scrap for demonstration purposes.

Fold the strap into three sections and press with an iron. I fold it all the way until they overlap at least a 1/4". 

Start sewing and manually feed the ruffles. You can stop the footer presser, lift it, arrange the ruffle, and then stitch over it and repeat. This takes patience, but it is so fun and rewarding!

This is what I ended up with. I like to use a longer strap than needed for the ruffles, this way I am not limited on the amount of fabric I can feed through.

Trim the excess fabric off using either with a rotary cutter or with scissors. 

All done!

Another option is to sew along the sides, forming pleats.

Pulling thread to gather

Sew a line across the length of the fabric you wish to gather together with the longest setting your machine has. I used a 4. 

Leave a long thread and pull the bottom one with one hand and gather the fabric through with the other.

Gather the fabric until you get the ruffles you want or the size you need.

All done!

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