Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ruffle Roulette

I have spent a few hours trying to get the better of the ruffler foot. I have decided that the variables - tension, stitch length, fabric type and the way I hold my mouth -  make ruffling with the ruffle foot a bit random.

This is what the foot looks like:
You put the fabric to be ruffled under the foot as usual then slide the piece you want to attach it to in the slot.

Here is what I have discovered.

  1. The type of fabric makes a huge difference. Just changing from printed quilting cotton to homespun makes a difference.
  2. I have narrowed down the possibilities so I only have to do one test run to check if it works.
  3. The most you can gather reduces the length by nearly half. So you need at least twice as much length for any project to be sure the ruffled bit will fit on the unruffled bit. Not sure about chiffon. It may ruffle more.
  4. You have to guide the fabric with both hands to sew two pieces together. A very light touch with the left hand around the top strip and the right hand around the bottom strip. They tend to move left and right just a fraction otherwise.
  5. I also learnt that dolly ruffle skirts need only a little bit of ruffle in each tier or they just stick out funny. I sewed with tension 7 and stitch length 2 (my tension guide goes to 9)
  6. You can't fold the fabric and ruffle the raw edges. You need to do a rolled hem on one edge and ruffle the other.

I tried lots of different combinations and several types of fabric and wrote it all down like a science experiment.

My conclusion is that for my machine I will be using the following settings for most light to medium weight fabrics.
To sew a flat piece on while ruffling the bottom piece I will use tension 6 or 7 and stitch length 2.
For just ruffling I will use tension 6 and stitch length 3 or tension 5 or 6 and stitch length 4

I watched several tutorials on how to use the ruffler foot. They said attach it "like this" and "just sew and you get lovely ruffles". There wasn't much about what you could really do with it and how. I hope my little experiment inspires you to get your ruffler foot out and give it a go. I will definitely be using it more. It is so much easier than pulling up the threads and it tends to just sit there without unravelling like the pulled up thread does. There is no need to tie off the ends.

I will be making ruffles on doll skirts and little ruffle strips overlocked on each side and ruffled down the centre to sew on like lace. I may even make a cushion or pillow cover with ruffles one day.

Happy Quilting and Crafting,

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