The Simpliest Ruffle

The Simpliest Ruffle

First of all, PSA, you really should not be working on a craft project that makes a bit of a mess while watching Hoarders.  It can make you incredibly uncomfortable and lead you to question your decisions…including your multiple bins of fabric in the corner…maybe that’s just me.

Okay, beyond that, a great way to make any project more special or just too darn cute is to add ruffles.

Dog Outfits 005

As you can see here, they can really make a difference.

Despite this, the process of creating a ruffle detail is deceptively simple.

What you’ll need:

  • Needle and thread or sewing machine
  • Material that you would like to make into a ruffle


If you decide to create the ruffle by hand and not use a sewing machine the process is just as simple, but it may take a bit longer and be less even.

With your needle and knotted thread begin to sew a straight stitch along the length of the fabric that will have the tightest portion of the ruffle.DSC_0299

In the picture of the dog above that would be the portion sewn to the fabric.  This generally doesn’t matter unless you have a finished edge on the opposite side or the fabric has a pattern that would need to face a specific direction.

Continue the straight stitch until you reach the other end of the fabric.  Remove the needle from the thread and hold the thread while beginning to pull the fabric towards the knot. DSC_0302


The fabric will begin to gather as you move the fabric.  Continue until the ruffle is the length that you want.  Knot the now long thread that you have remaining and use the ruffle in your projects, it truly is that simple.


The tutorial for making a ruffle with a sewing machine is very similar to how you would do it by hand.  Begin at one end of the fabric, near the edge.  Back-stitch or knot the thread before beginning a long straight stitch along the length of the fabric.  When you reach the other end do not knot or back-stitch the thread.


Instead, lift the presser foot and remove the fabric from the machine.  Here’s where it can be a bit more difficult than doing it by hand.  Because you are using a machine that uses two thread sources (the bobbin and the main thread) it can be more difficult to figure out which thread to pull.  The easiest way to get around this though is to simply grab one and pull.  If the fabric won’t move, pull the other thread instead.  If you’re like me you WILL pull the wrong thread EVERY SINGLE TIME you do this, oh well…  Just like the hand sewn method you will continue to pull until you have achieved the ruffle that you want, then simply tie off the thread and use.


As you can see, no matter what method you use, the ruffle will begin to curve up.  This is easily corrected when you sew the ruffle to whatever it is that you are working on. DSC_0305

If you are working with a material such as cotton that will fray you may want to add a shirt tail hem.  To do this, you can either do it with a hemming foot on your sewing machine (an upcoming tutorial) or fold the fabric by hand.  For more information on how to do that, look back at the shirt tail portion of this tutorial on making a pillowcase.

On my new scale of how many glasses of wine I would need to complete this and still be sane, this rates a..drumroll please! ZERO.  This is very simple and not very frustrating at all.  If, you would like to see what a FIVE looks like (I hope to not meet up with a project worse than that) please zip on over to this previous tutorial that had me pulling my hair out!



One response »

  1. For a more even gather you should make two rows of gathering stitches. One on either side of the 5/8″ seam line. Pull both gathering threads evenly and sitch the seam on the 5/8″ seam line. The gathers will be very even when gathered between the two pulled gathering threads.

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