This is a long post about lots of ways to gather ruffles for different effects. It’s not difficult but there are a lot of variables. Because sometimes you need your ruffles just so.
The real word for this technique is gathering. But you knew that. So let’s gather some fabric and make some ruffles!
rows of basting
The fastest way to make a ruffle is to gather one side of the fabric by stitching 1 line of baste stitches and pulling the threads. It works but try it with 2 and 3 lines of stitching, 1/4″ apart, and you may find your ruffles gather more easily and evenly. Plus, if you break a thread, not all is lost! I usually use 2 rows, but if I am doubling up the fabric or using a sturdy fabric, three rows makes it so much easier.
ruffles and grain
A while ago I told you how grain matters. And it matters for gathers, too. If you think your ruffle looks a little funny, it could be off grain.
You can make ruffles from any grain you want and each has a different effect. Bias ruffles are softer and flow nicely. Lengthwise ruffles are a little sturdier and crosswise are a nice inbetween. It’s hard to see in a photograph, but easy to see a difference when your ruffles are draped on a body.
It’s easy to tell when a ruffle or skirt was cut on the bias when you’re looking at a model. Here are a few examples:
That flowy look is the bias ruffle look. Takes longer to cut out but the effect is gorgeous.
the ruffle ratio guide
What is the perfect ruffle ratio? I think that depends on what you’re making. And sometimes on how much fabric you have left. For most projects usually just eyeball my ruffles and don’t really measure them out. But when I’m making lots of ruffles I need them to be the same perfect ruffle. So here’s a guide to ruffle ratio.
All of these strips were used to make the same 8″ ruffle.
If you need an 8 inch ruffle which ruffle ratio would you use?
These samples are all cut on the lengthwise grain using 2 rows of baste stitches. There are, of course, an infinite number of ratios to choose from. Factor in your other choices and you have a lot of options for gathering fabric.
So, pick your favorite baste technique, grain and ratio and you’ve got yourself the perfect ruffle.
a few of the fabrics used in this post (in case you love one):
this is a great post…. I loved reading this.. I think today I am gonna try sewing some ruffles!
I absolutely NEVER knew about sewing 2 or 3 rows for ruffles. Of course, I only attempted my first ruffle and few weeks ago. It was a mess. The thread broke, I had to re-do it, and then it just seemed wrong and I gave up. Now, I am getting back to it. Thanks!
I just wanted to say thanks for the great ruffle lesson. I was just about to start a ruffle project and this helps me out lot.
Emily @ LaForce Be With You
This is a fabulous tutorial! Ruffles have seemed a little intimidating but I like how you explain it all!
Amazing tutorial! Thank you, I’ve made ruffles once or twice but I had no idea about any of this!
Wow!!!! So much info to process.
Love ruffles, so naturally I loved this! Visiting from tt&j!
This is such a great tutorial! You’ve answered so many questions I have had in this one post! Thank you!
I like the ratio difference. It clearly shows how each ratio can give a completely different look and still be a ruffle,
Man…did I ever need to read this! I was just about to start on a ruffled skirt for my little girl and I was suddenly panicking about the ruffle ratio!
Hello! I love this ruffle post so much that I had to reference it in my recent post. I used one of pics and added a link back to your post. You can find it here http://ricochetandaway.blogspot.com/2011/08/bias-ruffles-godsend-for-ruffle-addicts.html
Marla and Steve
Okay, all I’ve got to say is I love you :) I am signing up for a sewing class just to ruffle and here you go, explaining it in a language I can understand. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
great post!! i found you via pinterest. whenever i try to make ruffles, my thread ALWAYS breaks. i use a lot of gutterman thread. is there a certain thread you like to use that breaks less frequently?
Sorry but I don’t understand the ratio difference, what does ruffle ratio mean?