Making a Ruffle or Gathering FabricAugust 31, 2011 4:58 am Craft Trends, Crafts, Sewing, Techniques and Mediums
By Sewing Contributor Jessica, from the blog “Life Sew Good”.
When I first started out sewing, I was intimidated by every technique. After talking to a friend who is a novice seamstress, she shared that she did not know how to gather fabric. Since gathering is a technique used in so many patterns, it’s important to know how to do it. In addition, ruffles are on so many things! Ruffles are easy to make when you know how to gather fabric.
First, adjust your machine to make a long stitch, like a basting stitch. On my machine, I usually sew at a 2.5 for a regular length stitch; for basting or gathering, I adjust it to a 4 or 5. Longer stitches leave more fabric between each stitch, making it easier to pull the fabric together. It is also easy to pull these kind of stitches out, which is why we use them to temporarily sew fabric.
When you put your fabric under the foot to sew, simply sew a straight, long stitch about ¼” from the top. DO NOT BACK STITCH!
When you get to the end, make sure to leave plenty of thread on the end before cutting it off. Depending on your fabric, you may notice that just stitching it causes the fabric to bunch up. If you have a very light-weight fabric, you may want to gather to your desired length now. Do this by pulling on the bobbin thread. Make sure to even out the gathers all the way across. If you have a medium to heavy-weight fabric, don’t gather the fabric yet.
Now, put your fabric back under the foot—this time sewing about 3/8″ from the top. This is important! Remember how long stitches can pull out easily? They also break easily, which is why it’’ good to have 2 lengths of stitches before gathering. (Trust me: I learned the hard way.)
Take the bobbin thread and pull as you use your other hand to push the fabric together, making gathers.
Once you have gathered your fabric to the desired length, tie the ends of the thread so that it will hold your gathers where you want them temporarily.
Change your stitch on your machine back to its normal length (mine is 2.5).
Sew ½” or 5/8″ from the top. This time, you will want to back-stitch on each side. This will set the gathers where you want them. You will probably want to serge the edge off or zigzag along the top.