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!