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Ruffletastique- How to make a ruffle from scratch.

Posted: Aug 14 2017

It's pretty clean state of affairs here at Pattern Fantastique HQ.  Minimalism to the max but every now an then some well placed glamour is required, some extra texture, an extremely feminine feature enough to flood the pleasure centres...  Hear a well placed ruffle calling your name?
This is the tutorial on how to make a ruffle.
Here is also a tutorial on how to insert one in the Glacial Skivvy. 

The two key differences in placement to consider;
Is the ruffle?
Continuous  e.g. Running the circumference of a hem.
Inserted   With a start and finish. On the edge of a collar that has an opening, over a shoulder but not under the arm or in our Glacial example down an neckline and most of the shoulder seam. 

Ruffle Density and Length 
The issue most likely to occur with ruffle construction is the additional bulk added to a seam warping the seam structure. It can look awkward and thick. 
A few ways of managing bulk is to limit the gathers;
I usually go with 1.7 to 1.9 times the finished length. This means when deciding on the length to cut your ruffle pattern piece, measure the length of the line where it is to be inserted and times that by 1.7 - 1.9.  Don't feel you need to be bound by the ratio by it but it is a safe place to start.

*A note on establishing length;  
For inserted ruffles providing some clearance from end of seam to ruffle start leaves space for seam allowances to sit cleanly.

Ruffle Making

Ruffle Shape for inserted ruffles
Tapered ruffle-  I love a tapered ruffle not only does it resolve some finishing issues that a square corner ruffle has, they are also fun to make. 
The pattern piece shaping might not make sense immediately. The first time I made one I very much wanted to make it, curved side up. Then the penny dropped...
Here's an image of a ruffle caterpillar, the gathers are placed on the curved edge of the original shape. Once gathered the finished edge bends to tapered shape. If you look closely the stripe is running along the edge. 

Ruffle Making

Your tapering shape doesn't have to be limited to the examples provided below. you can add a much thicker centre to get a full butterfly effect. 

Butterfly ruffle

Square cornered ruffles
The finishing of a square corner can be more complex and many fabric just won't play along. This linen, bagged out example works well due to it weight and crispness.

Ruffle Image

Your ruffle edge finish will need to be considered first when planning how to cut it. 
Your options are:

Double neaten / roll hem;
This is a nice finish. The  only draw back is work required to do it.  I wouldn't endeavour without a roll hem foot and compliant fabric. Cut this on the straight of grain and use for woven only.
Tapered ruffle with double neaten finished edge - woven 
Square edge ruffle with double neaten edges - woven.

Ruffle Making

A folded edge or bagged out,  the ruffle is a double layer;
This is the method I used the most despite adding bulk to the seam it adds bit of body to the gathers and has a nice pop and both side of the ruffle is the 'right' side of the fabric. Good for vertical ruffles. Suitable for woven fabric and knits.

Ruffle making Pattern Fantastique Sewing Patterns

Square edge ruffle with folded edge. Suitable for knits and wovens'.

ruffle making Pattern Fantastique

Overlocked rolled edge;
I avoid this mostly as I am very wary of overlocked roll edges looking ugly. But never say never it ticks a lot of other boxes, reduced seam bulk, time saving and easy. 

Raw edge;
Love a raw edge finish. This will work on bias cut woven fabrics and on many straight of grain cut knits. The woven will fray in a cross hatched manner and you won't get long strands of thread pulling away. It's nice and raggy. Give the fabric a wash test to see how it holds up and if it maintains the desired texture.  
For knits cut and see how much your edge will roll. I have found some roll exceptionally well and conceal the raw edge this roll also makes a tubular finish for the edge adding some structure to the ruffle. Other knits don't get super excited about rolling and the raw edge won't quite cut it. 
Tapered ruffle with rolling raw edge - Knits

Ruffle making Pattern Fantastique Sewing Patterns

Tapered ruffle with raw,  bias edge - Woven.

Ruffle making Pattern Fantastique Sewing Patterns

For continuous hem ruffles the method is much simpler. 
You can apply the above hemming methods for a continuous ruffle  you will need to include seam allowances to join and make a continuous loop. 
If you are adjusting length of a hem remember to include your seam allowance requirements to join the ruffle to the hem. 

Once  your ruffle piece is cut;  Read this tutorial on Gathering.    
For an tutorial on how to insert in to The Glacial Tee - Skivvy check this out 



  • Posted by shenaz kadri on November 21, 2017

    Very well explained.Appreciate it.I love sewing and this helped me a lot. I am new to make ruffle and really like the ruffle caterpillar image and outcome.

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