How to Sew Gathered Ruffles

Gathered ruffles, are not just pretty but an absolute joy to wear!

The ruffle has become a popular style on both tops and dresses and look more difficult to sew than they are! Here are my tips that will make the process even easier and bring fun to your sewing projects! To start, grab a scrap piece of fabric to work with. When gathering, it’s best to cut at least double the desired length. For example, if you want your gathers to be 10in long, cut your fabric at least 20 inches lengthwise. You may cut less or more, depending on how exaggerated you want the gathers to be.

Machine baste method

Use a marker or chalk to draw two parallel lines on the wrong side of the fabric and use this as a guide when sewing your basting lines. Alternatively, you can use the seam allowance guides on your sewing machine. On your sewing machine, set the longest stitch length. When you begin and end your basting stitches, leave excess thread at the ends. With this method, there’s no need to back stitch (See picture A).

Gently pull on one side of the thread in order to evenly distribute the gathers. The more you pull, the closer your gathers will be. The second row of basting stitches are there just in case your first row of stitching snaps. (See picture B).

Elastic method

Cut your fabric, then cut your elastic half the length of your fabric. Mark the half way point of your elastic and the half way point of your fabric then pin together on the wrong side of the fabric. You can also pin the elastic to the beginning and end of the fabric. (See picture C).

When sewing, top stitch on the center of the elastic, gently stretching the elastic as you sew. For this method you can back stitch at the beginning and end in order to secure the elastic. (See picture D).

Gather as you sew

If you’re looking for a quick way to gather, you can simply gather the fabric as you sew. Place your fabric under your presser foot and pinch the fabric together as you sew. (See picture E).

The only down side to this method is the gathers are less likely to be evenly distributed. (See picture F).

Lastly you can finish off the hem with bias tape or by sewing a double hem. Remember to choose the method that works best for you. After all, sewing should be enjoyed and I hope my tips help you on your sewing journey.

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