As a result of my own laziness and dislike of the normal pinning/gathering method, I have devised a sneaky way to make a cute ruffle.
The new little dress pattern that I'm putting together is reversible and has a little ruffle at the bottom that shows from both sides. Someone could certainly make that ruffle by sewing the fabric into a huge circle, putting a long gathering stitch all the way along the top, and then pulling the thread, pinning, pulling the thread, pinning, pulling the thread, pinning... yeah, it really gets on my nerves. But lots of us stitchers have a ruffling foot of some kind in that little box of sewing machine attachments, so I decided to put mine to use.
The one on the left is the "gathering foot" that came with my Euro-Pro sewing machine. The one on the right is a "ruffler" that you can buy to fit almost any machine. I have one somewhere for my (now broken) singer. If you want to know more about using a ruffler attachment like the one on the right, I highly recommend a free e-book offered on youcanmakethis.com called The "Ruffler"...Unruffled. I learned a lot from it. But, since my singer is broken I opted for the much smaller and simpler gathering foot. I'm not even sure how it works, but it does.
So to make the ruffle, I cut two 8" strips of fabric from a piece of 44 inch wide cotton. I sewed them together so that I had an 88" long strip that was 8" tall. Then I folded it in half the long way so it was 4" tall and still 88" wide.
Then I attached the gathering foot to my machine and stitched down the long double edge. When I first started, I wanted it more gathered, so I made the stitch length as long as it would go and I tightened up the tension. That helped a lot. Then I used my fingers to make sure there was always plenty of fabric in front of the foot. I'm not stuffing it under, just making sure that the feed dogs have lots to take.
I continued this down the whole 88 inch strip (folded in half so I'm stitching through two layers).
So when I got to the end, it looked like this. Got it?
Now for applying it to the hem of the dress (or wherever you want a ruffle). Start by pinning the curved end to the edge of your fabric. That was all the pins I used here. Remember, they annoy me. This, by the way, is the front of the little dress, on one side.
Back to the regular sewing machine foot now. I started sewing the ruffle on here,
And sometimes bunched it up some more with my fingers if I wanted it more gathered.
When I got to the front of the dress again, I pulled the strip to the right in a gradual 90 degree angle as it overlapped the place where I started sewing the ruffle on. I also bunched it up here with my fingers to make this part gathered too.
After you secure your stitching, you should have something like this.
Very carefully cut the extra ruffle off. The amount you have left over will depend on how full you made the ruffle.
Easy peasy. Hopefully my girls will cooperate soon and help me get some cute pictures of the dresses. If anyone tries this ruffle technique, let me know what you used it on!