Oh my, I Want to Ruffle Everything: Ruffler Tutorial

Excuse me while I geek out on my new favorite toy… I am not sure who to blame, Amy Karol of Angry Chicken or all of the cute new girly things I am craving to buy this season, but I am absolutely mad for this Ruffler Attachment! I took one home last weekend and even though the sun was finally shining, you found me sitting in my sewing room marveling at how cool this foot is.

It’s quite easy to attach onto your machine and very similar to putting on a walking foot. One piece of advice – thread your needle first! It’s a bit harder once the foot is on. Otherwise, simply wrap the U shaped piece around the needle tightening screw and then attach as you would any other Bernina foot.

You are able to gather or pleat one layer of fabric by itself OR you can also do this while sewing it onto a separate non-gathered piece of fabric. As shown below, I am getting it set up to sew a ruffled strip onto a piece of denim. The piece of fabric that will not be ruffled goes under the entire foot while the piece that you want ruffled slides right above the bottom plate. I have found it easiest to insert your ruffle fabric when the forked pusher assembly is moved as far towards the back of your machine as possible. It allows you to place the start of your fabric directly under your needle. If you start it back further, the pleating mechanism might not catch the fabric.

Push this piece forward.

Note that you have a maximum seam allowance of 1 1/8″ due to the curved metal guide on the right-hand side.

The pleat distance is easily adjusted from 1 to 6 to 12 stitches per pleat plus you can control the depth of each individual pleat by loosening or tighten the front screw. Amazing! You can also set it to 0, giving you no pleating, which would be used if say you wanted to pleat for a given length and then have a section where it is only joining the pieces, then you wanted to begin again.

Here are 3 different samples displaying the difference between the three stitch settings. I used a 2.5 mm stitch length on all of them, but I noticed that when you are set for gathering 1 pleat every stitch, it creates some crazy tight gathering! There are two ways to amend this if that is not what you are looking for: increase the stitch length to 4 mm or more OR get out the handy little screwdriver that comes with your foot and decrease the depth of your pleats. Much better.

I wanted to whip something up immediately so I grabbed some scraps, a bit of linen trim and a couple of zippers and came up with this cute ruffled pouch. You can ruffle trim, ribbon, frayed-edge strips, serged-edge, the possiblilities are endless! Oh, I am just getting started.

17 Responses to “Oh my, I Want to Ruffle Everything: Ruffler Tutorial”

  1. Anna

    Must. Make. Ruffles.

  2. Lisa

    ACK!! Now it makes sense. I bought a ruffler foot several months ago and every time I tried using it I wanted to through it out the window. This makes much more sense!! 🙂

  3. lupine

    So glad the tutorial helped Lisa! I hope your are busy happily ruffling right as I write this reply!

  4. Ann

    I got a very old White machine (like from 1929) two years ago. I came with several ruffler feet which now I have to go try to figure out!

  5. Summer Skirts and Why You Need Them | Modern Domestic | Portland, OR

    […] Rolled hem and french seams make it perfect for learning and making multiples. Now let’s add a ruffle and imagine the possibilities! bias cut is flattering and so comfy too! Bedtime, biking, or back […]

  6. Japanese Dress for My Littles | Modern Domestic | Portland, OR

    […] require very little fabric (this came entirely from my stash) plus I have been dying to try the ruffler foot we keep posting about, and I love working through the challenges of sewing in another language. I […]

  7. Karen Minturn Brown

    It is usually possible to move the right side restriction out of the way by rotating it. that way you can ruffle or gather in the middle of a wider piece of fabric. Smaller bite = gather.

  8. Darling Adventures Blog

    […] used one, we were determined to figure it out and found some tutorials to help (here, here, and here). It’s very […]

  9. bonnie b

    i have read i should cut my fabric on the bias if ruffling down the middle. Is that advisable? that iis A HASSLE, BUT i am using a heavier linen fabric and it is not ruffling well.

  10. michelle

    Yes, I have done that and it works well. Cutting on the bias is also nice because the edges won’t fray if you leave them raw. Also, are you using a ruffler foot or a gathering foot? Because the ruffler would work much better for linen.

  11. katie

    Wonderful tutorial. I was okay until I tried to put the fabric in, sliding the little feed thingy forward makes all the difference. I did a little dance when I first got it going! I want to ruffle everything now, too! thank you

  12. michelle

    Isn’t it fun? Glad this clarified things for you.

  13. Erica Doyle

    Michelle, thanks for your great tutorial- I’ll be using this as a reference for my students 🙂

  14. Debbie

    I have the #86 ruffler and it doesn’t want to push the material up for the needle to grab. Can you tell me if I have one of the settings wrong?

  15. lupine

    Hi Debbie,

    It sounds like the little claw bit may not be positioned over the needle bar. The foot will kinda work with out this, but it won’t actually ruffle. Check out the BERNINA UAS video for more info.

  16. El

    Do you know if there is a way to adjust the seam allowance/stitch position at all? i want a much smaller allowance as I’m making pettiskirts with sheer fabrics and dont want them so visible. i find it quite difficult to control the position of the stitch with this light weight fabric also.

    any suggestions :s

  17. rebecca

    Unfortunately, there isn’t a great way to adjust the seam allowance as the ruffler foot is a straight stitch foot and you won’t be able to move your needle position. Maybe you could place blue painter’s tape on the tray table to help you keep it lined up?

Leave a Reply