Tips and Tricks for using a Ruffle Foot

Tips and Tricks for using a Ruffle Foot

Do you have a ruffle foot that’s collecting dust?  If so, I hope this tutorial helps you have the confidence to dust it off.  

Violet was the perfect pattern to show you why I love my ruffle foot.

I still remember when I got my ruffle foot.  I was new to dress making, and I was hand gathering 152” of fabric for a size 2 dress ruffle.  I was questioning my choice to take up this new hobby as I continued to snap my gathering threads.  That’s when my husband gave me an early birthday gift, and it was a ruffling foot!  I had no idea how to use this crazy contraption, and I struggled to find anything online to help me.  5 years later and I can’t sew without it.  I use it for every single garment I sew; I have used it for knit, woven, and tulle fabric.  

First let’s go over the parts of the foot, the settings I use for my machine, and how to attach the foot to your machine.

If you look at the top of the foot you will see the numbers 1, 6, 12, and a star.  These numbers indicate how often the foot will ruffle – every stitch, every 6th stitch, every 12th stitch, or no ruffle at all for the star.

The picture below shows the difference for 1, 6, and 12, but I honestly only use the setting for 1 ruffle per every stitch. 

On the side of the foot there is a screw, and this screw determines the depth of the ruffle.

The settings that I use, on my machine, are 3.0 for needle placement and 3.6 for stitch length.

In this video, I will show you how to attach your ruffling foot to your machine.

So how do we get our ruffled skirt to perfectly match our bodice?  

Once you have your bodice and skirt constructed, you will measure your bodice and skirt width.

You will now divide the skirt measurement by the bodice measurement.

23.5” / 12” = 1.9583…let’s just round that up and say the skirt is double the width of the bodice.  

To test the settings on the foot, I cut a few 10” pieces of scrap fabric and ruffle it with my settings on my foot at 1 (for how often it will ruffle) and 4 (for the depth of the ruffle).  After each time I ruffle, I measure the gathered piece of fabric to see if it measures half the size of the original piece of fabric.  If not, I tighten or loosen the screw and try again.  This piece of fabric was my 3rd attempt before I got the correct length.

I was able to use these settings for all the gathering on the dress (sleeves, bib ruffle, and tiered skirt).

You can now ruffle your skirt with confidence that it’ll fit your bodice!  And look at that perfectly uniform ruffle.    

*I am using a babylock ruffling foot on a Juki machine

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