How to Sew Ruffles

A ruffle is a strip of fabric that is gathered along one edge and attached to a flat piece of fabric – for example, on a skirt hem or the edge of a pillow. The visible edge is finished. The gathered raw edge is hidden in a seam or enclosed between two fabrics. Most ruffles are cut on the straight grain.

For a Hem Ruffle

  1. Stitch the ruffle pieces together to form one long strip. Stitch a narrow hem on one long edge. Press.
    Narrow Hem: A narrow hem is great for sheer and silky fabrics. Trim the hem allowance to 1/2″ (1.3cm). Press undr 1/4″ (6mm) and then 1/4″ (6mm) again. Machine-stitch close to the inner fold. This style hem is also suitable for bias-cut garments.
  2. Sew two rows of basting stitches along the opposite long edge, aligning the raw edges and matching notches or dots. Adjust the gathers to distribute fullness evenly along the garment edge.
  3. Stitch the ruffle in place. Remove the basting. Trim the seam allowances. Zigzag-stitch or overlock them together for a clean finish.

For an Enclosed Ruffle

  1. Follow steps 1 to 3 above.
  2. Stitch the ruffle to the first fabric, distributing the fullness evenly. Pin the second piece to the first, right sides together, with the ruffle in between. Stitch with the first piece with the first piece up so you can use the existing stitching line as a guide.
  3. Turn the pieces right side out. The Ruffle will be along the outer edge.
When applying a ruffle around corners, allow extra fullness at each corner do the ruffle lies flat.