Ruffles have been around for a long time, from adorning dresses on the Shakespearean stage, where people said crazy things like “Blow, blow, thou winter wind! Thou art not so unkind” to Charlie Thereon sporting them recently on the Red Carpet. And it is probably safe to say that they will be around even after hell freezes over.
The only difference between Victorian and today’s Ruffles, is that it is so very easy to make them today by using the Ruffler attachment with your Usha Janome Sewing Machine. Do not get intimidated by its look, in fact its innovative design actually helps you to use the ruffle more easily. You can use this attachment to ruffle fabrics or pleat it to a desired fullness quickly and easily. Besides it also allows you to vary the size of the ruffles.
Even if you have never seen a Ruffler Foot before, follow these simple steps and you will soon be making be making ruffles fit to adorn Queen Victoria’s neck! Let’s begin by understanding the parts that make up this magical device that conjure up such imaginings.
Your Sewing Machine & the Ruffler
Now that you have a vague idea about its part, let’s attach it to your Usha Janome Sewing Machine. (Never mind if you cannot remember the name of all the parts, even we don’t!)
Attaching Ruffler to the Machine
- Thread the machine with polyester thread in needle and bobbin. Cotton thread has a tendency to break easily.
- Remove the current pressure foot by pressing the Foot Holder/Release Button.
- Raise the Needle Bar to the highest position.
- Position the Fork Arm (black curved piece) over the Needle Clamp Screw. Lower the Presser Foot bar and snap in place.
- Lower the needle slowly to make sure that the needle clears the Needle Hole.
- If the needle does not clear the Needle Hole, loosen the Needle Hole Position screw to adjust the needle hole position. There are two Needle Hole Positioning screws. Refer to the diagram to move the position hole to the correct location.
- The Ruffler is now adapted to your sewing machine. This process only needs to be done once
If you are getting impatient to use your new Ruffler (who wouldn’t), you can jump to the Ruffling Technique section down below. However, we insist you go through the ‘Know Your Ruffler’ section right below, to have a better experience.
Know Your Ruffler
Ratchet Gear Feed Plate or Stitch Control
This is the part of the Ruffler with the numbers 1, 6 and 12. These settings will determine how often the Ruffling Blade (saw tooth edge) will gather or tuck. When set at 1, with each needle penetration the Ruffling Blade will move creating a tiny gather. When set at 6, the Ruffling Blade will move and create a tuck every 6 stitches. When set at 12, the Ruffling Blade will move and create a tuck every 12 stitches. When set at the Star, no tucks will be sewn but a straight stitch is obtained
Ruffling Depth Adjust Screw
The Ratchet Gear Feed Plate and Ruffler Depth Adjust Screw work hand-in-hand to create exactly the type of gathers or tucks desired. The Ruffler Depth Adjust Screw determines the depth of the tuck. When the screw is set at 1 the Ratchet Gear will take a tiny bite of the fabric. The higher the number the larger the bite. If tiny gathers are desired, set the Ratchet Gear at 1 and the Depth Adjust screw between 1 and 4.
Another important element to achieving beautiful ruffles is how long the stitch length is set on the sewing machine. The shorter the stitch length the tighter the ruffles. A stitch length of 5.0 is suggested when the Ratchet Gear Feed Plate is set at 1 and the Ruffling Depth Adjust Screw is at a higher number.
Place the fabric underneath the Ruffling Blade and above the Cloth Guide Plate. As you sew, the Ruffling Blade will move, creating a tuck, according to the adjustments made to the Gear Plate and Ruffling Depth. For best result, sew slowly
There are two different Cloth Guides on the Ruffler. One located in the front of the Ruffler and the second located on the right side. When the fabric is place in the Cloth Guide in the front a 1/4″ seam allowance is sewn. When placed in the Cloth Guide on the right, a 1″ seam allowance is sewn.
The Ribbon Slot is located directly in front of the Needle Hole. This slot can be used to guide the ribbon or piping which can be sewn on while making a ruffle. The ribbon will not gather but the fabric it is sewn to will gather.
The length of fabric needed to be cut would be determined by the amount of ruffling desired. It is best to always sew a test strip to determine length of fabric required. 1. Cut a strip of cotton fabric at least 18″. For a test strip cut the width at least 2″.
- For a gathered effect set the Ratchet Gear Plate on 1. Set the Ruffling Depth Screw to 1 or less.
- Set the stitch length on 2 – 2.5. Place the fabric under the Ruffling Blade and sew. 18″ of fabric should gather down to approximately 9″.
- Cut another strip of cotton fabric at least 18″ x 2″. Set the Ratchet Gear Plate on 6 and the Ruffling Depth Screw on 4. Stitch length 2.2. Place the fabric under the Ruffling Blade and sew. The fabric strip gathered down to approximately 12″.
- Test sew several lengths of fabric to see exactly what happened each time the Ratchet Gear Plate, Ruffling Depth Screw and stitch length settings are changed.
- Make a notebook, writing down the setting used for your samples for future reference.
- Once the ruffle is made, attach to the project with a straight stitch, right sides together.
And now you are ready to go. Next time we will teach you how to Ruffle around a Corner for a Pillow. Watch this Space.