How to Sew Ruffles

Sign in
Duration:   7  mins

From home décor to garments, ruffles are a great way to add texture to any project. Ashley Hough shows you how to sew ruffles several ways.

Random Ruffles

One of the great things about ruffles is that you get to decide how you want them to look. You can create non-uniform ruffles by simply lengthening the stitch length on your machine and using a straight stitch. Lengthen the stitch length as long as your machine will allow—this is known as a basting stitch. Ashley shows you how to sew ruffles by sewing a length of basting stitches down the center of a fabric strip and pulling on the bobbin thread to gather the fabric. The ruffle created by stitching down the center of the fabric strip is great to use on home decor projects like pillows, or added to the front of a garment, like a shirt, to add texture. If you would rather attach the ruffle to the lower edge of a garment, like a skirt, simply follow the same instructions and stitch near the edge of the fabric strip.

Thread Breakage

Another important tip when learning how to sew ruffles, is to pull carefully on the bobbin thread when creating a ruffle to avoid breaking the thread. Pulling an inch or two at a time and then distributing the bulk of the ruffle down the strip of fabric can help eliminate this problem. If you continue to have thread breakage there is another way you can sew a ruffle detail using thicker thread. Place the thicker thread over the fabric where you want the ruffle to occur, either in the center or along the edge, and then zigzag stitch over the thicker thread. Then, pull on the thicker thread to gather the fabric. If you are creating the ruffle along the center of the fabric strip, stitch the thicker thread onto the wrong side of the fabric strip so it won’t show.

Even Ruffles

Ruffles can also be made creating equal folds of fabric. Ashley shows you how to sew ruffles that are more uniform without needing a special foot attachment for your machine. A ruffler foot works by creating small, equal folds along a length of fabric. You can create a similar look by measuring, marking and folding your fabric prior to stitching. The smaller the fold the fuller the ruffle will become.

Make a comment
  • (will not be published)

4 Responses to “How to Sew Ruffles”

  1. Sally

    There is a better way to make a ruffle, put the strip of material at the sewing machine, pull the top thread out a little longer than the strip of material, put the stitch to a small zig zag, then just zig zag over the thread, doing this you can ruffle as you go also the changes of the thread bracking half way is eliminated, I just love this way, I hope you are able to understand my discription

    • Caroline Hendricks

      Just to clarify, the top thread is pulled forward and lengthened a little and you sew over that? Instead of the bobbin thread and the top thread pulled to the back as usual.

  2. Lorrie

    Nice demonstration, but these ruffles are not finished they have raw edges. Shouldn’t that issue be addressed. Never put a ruffle on any project with raw fabric edges.

    • National Sewing Circle

      Hi Lorrie. Thank you for your feedback. Your comments will be forwarded to the proper department.

Get exclusive premium content! Sign up for a membership now!