Ruffle Kerfuffle

Bernina Gathering FootCreating ruffles can be a daunting task, but using the correct tools can make this job quick and easy. A gathering foot is designed for just this purpose. The video below clearly shows the basics of creating a ruffle while sewing it to a flat piece of fabric. If you use the same instructions with one layer of fabric placed below the foot, you will get just the ruffle.

We recommend first testing your settings with a scrap of the same fabric you will be using for your project to get perfect results. The gathering foot is designed for light- to mid-weight fabrics. That means trying to gather denim won’t work with this method!

The following tips will also help ensure your success:

  • Engage the Needle-Down function on your machine. This will allow you to pause and catch your breath when creating long ruffles.
  • Mettler Metrosene polyester thread is the best choice for this task. It is smooth, fine, and strong enough to hold up to the process. You don’t want a weak thread breaking mid-ruffle!
  • Each fabric has an optimal stitch length for best ruffle results. A longer stitch increases the degree of ruffling, but be sure to test your specific fabric for the best outcome. For a fuller ruffle, try increasing your stitch length, for gentle easing select a shorter stitch length.
  • Thread tension can affect your ruffles, too. If you can’t get the fullness you are looking for by increasing the stitch length alone, try increasing your tension just a bit. Don’t go too far: your thread may break. Try the stitch length first, and then tweak it a bit with the tension, if necessary.
  • Sew at a steady, medium speed.
  • Relax and enjoy this process. Always remember – YOU are in charge!