Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Ruffler Foot


Perhaps the scariest-looking of all the vintage sewing machine attachments, the ruffler is really gentle and good-natured when you get past its gargantuan size, multitude of arms, and its teeth.

Pleated or gathered ruffles make beautiful, frugal trims--no rushing out to buy lace at the last minute. Just pleat up a ruffle in a minute or two! Here's how:


1. Find the arm with a claw on the end. It fits over the bar that sticks out to the right of the needle. Make sure the claw fits around the bar when you attach the foot. Then slowly turn the wheel to make sure the needle is in the right position! My needle must be moved to the center, rather than the left where it usually hangs out. If it stays left, it breaks on the foot.


2. Check out the numbered arc. Here's where you select the kind of pleats you're going to make. Why not start with 6? It's nice and medium.



3. Cut a 3-inch width of fabric and press it in half lengthwise. You're going to feed the raw edge into the ruffler. You'll have a beautiful finished ruffle that needs no hemming. Make it at least 18 inches long for this practice run. And if you measure before and after and figure out how long a strip you need for the real thing.

Now, see that dark flat bar with the little teeth at the back edge? Your fabric must go directly underneath that so that the little pressing-down teeth can grip the fabric and move it into the pleat every six stitches (if you're working on the six). No teeth, no pleat. And DON"T pull the fabric back towards you once it's under there; you'll break the teeth and then where will you be?


What pretty pleats! The ruffler does a pleat every six stitches . . .


Or every twelve, if you scoot the selector over.


And look at what happens when I choose the number one option--a pleat at every stitch! I've set my stitch length to the longest.

I find the pleating to be almost instant gratification. Make a ruffle, baste it on a cuff or other edge, and attach with a strip of bias binding. Finished project pictures tomorrow!

23 comments:

Allison said...

oh only last week I bought a ruffler foot !! and it took me so long to figure it out!! I should have just waited a tad! great post!! I love my new ruffler foot and I especially love all your sewing creations...they are very honest.


have a nice day.

Allison

Lucille said...

What an unusual and helpful tutorial, I believe I have something very similar in my mother's sewing machine box of bits and pieces.

Anne said...

Thanks Anna! I have always wondered how to get it going. I have my grandmother's treadle machine and that's the one thing in the drawer I couldn't figure out.
I'll give it a try this weekend.

Tracy said...

Oh I want one! Wait...I'd have to have time to sew more. A problem worthy of solving surely!

I think that and a walking foot must surely be the two most useful extra attachments a sewing machine could have.

Lisateresa said...

Wow - thank you, Anna! This is a big help.

Mrs. FSG said...

I wish I knew how to sew!

Thirkellgirl said...

I inherited one of these from my mom, who used it often. I didn't pay much attention when she used it and love that you just gave a tutorial!

Shannon said...

I've been scared to death of my "monster" for ages, but now I'm determined to give it a try! Thanks so much for your fun tutorial -- I love how your instructions are always full of personality!

Blessings,
Shannon

EllaJac said...

I've got one of these, and a handful of other wild contraptions, and never knew how they worked (and you're right; was scared to try!). Thanks so much!

Laura said...

I'm sold! I've been intrigued by them in the past but your helpful demo makes me think I could really make use of a ruffler foot. I will start poking around to see if I can find one for my machine...

April said...

Oh, neat! I have a whole box of sewing machine attachments that were in my grandmother's 40's vintage Singer, but I haven't known what any of them are or how to use them! Now I know what to do with one of them at least. :-)

Tiffany said...

Did you read my mind? I have this foot out on my sewing desk and have been staring at it for a week. Now with your great tutorial I will brave the ruffler foot. I am wanting to put matching ruffles on the cuffs of winter pants I am sewing for my youngest daughter. BTW, your quilting tutorials have helped me immensely. Thanks for the great information.

Naptime Seamstress said...

I,too, am quite smitten with my ruffler foot and use it every chance I get!!!

Paris said...

This post is hilarious to me. I just made a slipcover for our piano bench and I wanted a ruffle on the bottom edge. The only way I know to do one is to make a loose seam, then pull the thread and try as hard as I can to gather the fabric on the thread as evenly as possible. While doing it, I was thinking to myself that there *has* to be a better way. Well, lookey there, there is! :)
Rie

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tutorial- if I am every lucky enough to come across the right ruffler for my ancient machine, I'll be referencing your blog!

Kate said...

Oh wow! Could I use that!! I pleat and ruffle by hand. That's certainly time consuming!

Mrs. Mordecai said...

Thank you! I use my grandma's sewing machine and would love to use all the nifty attachments like this one but just don't seem to be able to figure it out. I can't wait to try again now!

the W. family said...

I love my ruffler attachemnt too!
~Alyssa

Anonymous said...

I took one look at the first picture and thought it was something from out of my husbands tool box! Then I read the title of your post. LOVE IT! And I want one. Don't have much use for one since I'm the only girl around this house, but I'm sure I could come up with something.

Gigi said...

Your wonderful looking pleating and ruffling reminds me of the beautifully hand sewn clothing seen in the movie, "Bright Star". The character of Fanny Brawne is a designer/seamstress who makes the most gorgeous things. Have you seen it yet?
Blessings,
G

Amy B. said...

ohhhh, how absolutly wonderful! We cleaned an old house out this summer and there was a box of sewing machine attachments -- most of which were foreign to me. I hope a ruffler is among them!!

Erin said...

Had to go back and find this post because I just got a ruffler. My mind is swimming with pretty aprons right now. :)

A said...

I am sooooooooooo grateful that I came across this.I could not for the life of me think why my needle was not clearing the needle hole.Thanks to you,I had to center my needle to get it right.I am forever grateful.God bless!

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