To add extra girlyness and romance to an outfit, ruffles often are the solution. That’s why a gathering foot is one of my “can’t live without” sewing machine feet.
Below is an old simple sewing machine I use exclusively for ruffling.
The tension and the stitch length are both set to high numbers (a long stitch and a tight tension.) Adjust these settings to achieve your ruffle preference. Note that this also can be done with a regular foot, so try that out. If you are happy with the results…go for it! I find with the gathering foot, the stitches hold firm and there is a second nifty feature which I will describe further on in this post.
Tip: Hold the thread ends firmly when first starting to stitch. Otherwise the fabric may clog under the foot and won’t move along.
When ruffling tulle, I prefer very concentrated ruffles. Here a 60″ strip of tulle will make about a 14″ length of ruffled fabric (approximately 4 1/4 to one). Leave long thread ends in case you want adjust the shirring.
Another feature this foot has is that an underneath fabric can be ruffled to a flat layer while you stitch a seam.
Tutus are a big trend for little girls, and stitching on lots more ruffles can add more “wow”.
Here’s a little tip for cutting fast and easy tulle strips: fold and pin the full width of tulle into several layers as shown below. Using a guide or ruler, cut tulle strips to desired height.
For some ruffling inspiration, check out our Pinterest folder: frothy and fluffy.
If you have any tips or stories about ruffles let us know!
Some favorite projects to add on sweet ruffles are 18″ doll dresses and girls party clothes.