Monday, 19 September 2011

Ruffler Foot

It's that time of year when I'm busy busy sewing ready for all of those Autumn and Winter fairs so I have just a quick half hour for a tutorial and thought I'd show you the ruffler foot. 

Mine looks like this - scary hey!  Hopefully by the end of this post it won't be.

The basic premise is that you feed your fabric into the ruffler foot with the fabric under the foot (directly under the needle) but also under the ruffling blade!  Sounds complicated I know... I'm trying to make it as simple as possible and am hoping that between the photos and video below it might help.

There is a great link here which tells you all about how to attach the foot and what each of the parts does - here's a drawing of the foot for reference.
Step 1 - Thread your needle - seems like an obvious comment but this foot is BIG and it's a real fiddle to thread your needle once the foot is on.

Step 2 - Lift your presser foot and needle to the highest position then clip the ruffler foot to the machine presser foot holder (as with other feet) making sure that the black curved clamp (mentioned above as the fork arm) is over the needle clamp screw. 

Step 3 - Make sure that you can put your needle down clearly through the hole and if you can't then there are two screws towards the back of the foot (they are the little round things on the diagram near the 'fork arm' label) which you can loosen then wiggle the foot around until the needle fits.

Step 4 - Decide how many ruffles you want and how much fabric you want to be included in the ruffle (I think the best way to do this is to have a play though if anyone knows of some technical calculation feel free to shout up.  For the dresses I have been making and my little ones pumpkin outfit I wanted a mid range of gather so moved the 'ratchet gear feed plate' to 6 (one gather every 6 stitches) 1 gives really frequent gathers and 12 wide apart gathers.  Next I adjusted the 'ruffling depth adjustment screw' to 4 in order to gather quite a bit of fabric in the ruffle.

A couple of tips before you start to sew. 
1. If you have had to loosen the screws to fit the needle then make sure they are super tight.
2. Make sure your needle is really tightly clamped in (see my funny pic at the end of the tutorial for what happens if you don't).
3. Make sure that you have plenty of fabric ready to feed, as this foot really 'grabs' the fabric and rushes it through - hopefully the video further down will give you a view of this.

Step 1 -  Slide your fabric under the foot (in the needle area) and then between the bottom foot plate and the ruffling blade (which I called the forked prongs).  The picture below shows the forked prongs are back.  I've used a sheer fabric to help you see where it fits in relation to the foot.

Step 2 - As you sew the forked prongs begin to slide forward taking the fabric with it.

Step 3 - Very quickly the gather is pushed under the needle and hey presto a ruffle!  The first picture below shows the gather under the needle with the forked prongs forward and the second shows completed gathers (I used a heavier fabric for this as the ruffles aren't as clear on the organza).

I have also done this little video which I'm really hoping works to give you more of a feel of how it looks (and sounds - loud) in motion!

I hope this helps but any questions feel free to e:mail me or post in the comments section.  I'm still working with it and have just completed my first couple of projects so here's one of them!  Also as promised here is the picture of what happens if you don't make sure your needle is screwed in really tightly - how on earth it got there I honestly don't know!

And this is what I'm planning on doing next because I can't seriously believe there is £50 of frou frou in there!-

Happy Ruffling



  1. So comprehensive Keri, really well done and thank you! The ruffler foot looks quite scary though. I love the little Halloween dress - so cute and that Purple skirt is just gorgeous, good luck with that one.

  2. My oh My I've found a full on detailed download tonight whilst reading up a bit more on the ruffler - you can download it for free so if anyone is interested it's available here.


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