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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ruffles Made Easy!

Yesterday I wrote about the process I go through to develop a pattern. I used a ruffled apron as an example - and here it is! I just finished my final run through!

Part of the process involves making and attaching ruffles. My mother taught me a LOOOOONG time ago how to make ruffles using a zig-zag stitch and embroidery floss. It's a technique that I continue to use today. In fact, I use it so much, that next to my machine sits a mason jar full of used embroidery floss!

So here's how to do it:

1. Set your machine to a big, wide, long Zig - Zag stitch. So for those of you who can, please increase your stitch length to about a 4 and find a wide zig-zag stitch.

2. Place your embroidery floss on your project (this is one of my apron ruffles). Leave a 3" or so tail.

3. Line up the (a) edge of your fabric and (b) your embroidery floss. Much of the placement will depend on your foot. I lined the edge of my fabric with the edge of my feed dog. The embroidery floss is lined up with the middle of my foot.

4. Sew! Make sure you go slowly. Don't sew over the embroidery floss!

When you get to the end, leave a 3" tail and remove from your machine.

5. Done!

6. Tie a knot at your starting point. I put a pin through the knot and pin it to the fabric. 

You need to do this because in a moment, you'll be pulling the embroidery floss from the other end. If it's not secured, you'll pull your embroidery floss out.

7. Start pulling the embroidery floss from the other end. I usually have markings on the ruffle and in this case, the apron, that help me divide things up so the ruffle is evenly distributed. I pin the ruffle to the apron at those points.

8. Once the ruffle is in position, start sewing. I use a walking foot - believe me, it's a lot easier. I line the edge of the ruffle/apron up with the 1/4" point on my walking foot. I also moved my needle over.

Don't sew over the embroidery floss or you won't be able to remove it. OK, if you do, it's not a big deal, you can clip it with scissors!

I also use a pair of curved scissors to help me evenly feed the fabric through the foot.

I recommend that you sew in segments. For my apron, I divided the ruffle and the apron into two sections. I pulled and flattened the ruffle from the end to the middle and sewed it on. At the middle point, I put the needle down, pulled the embroidery floss, flattened, and pinned the other end of the fabric to the apron...then flattened the ruffle out and continued sewing until I reached the end of the row.

9. DONE! Clip the knot out, grab your long tail, and pull the embroidery floss out.

I save these pieces mason jar!


UPDATE: See more aprons here.

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