Oh, ruffles. I love them! But oh, how I disliked making them....any method I tried resulted in some degree of frustration. So I sucked it up and shelled out the $80 for a ruffler foot for my Viking. There are universal-type rufflers for less, but I prefer to buy the factory originals since I've never had problems with them. I read the instructions and then watched this very thorough video, and decided it was time to play.
I mounted it carefully to my machine, and it was quite simple:
If you note the top, there are the settings for ruffling every 12 or 6 stitches, and even every stitch (the 1). The 0 is for straight stitching:
I knew that I needed a systematic way to document how my ruffles behaved on the different settings, so I would be able to measure and cut the correct length of fabric for ruffles on future projects. I wanted to know how much fabric it would take for a variety of combinations. I cut six, 20-inch-long strips that are 2 inches wide to serve as my testing materials:
My goal was to test the 12, 6 and 1 setting with the screw half open and also with it completely closed - the screw is the part that regulates how much fabric is tucked into each ruffle. But, I changed my mind after watching the video from SewEtcetera, in which the presenter suggested not keeping the screw fully closed when ruffling every stitch, since it made the ruffles too bulky and misbehaved a bit. So I abandoned the sixth strip and didn't test that combination of settings. But, try yours out and see what it will do (you won't hurt anything on a test strip, right?):
Next, I made marks in my strips at the 5" mark and the 15" mark. My intention here is to measure the middle 10 inches after ruffling to see how much it shrinks with each setting:
My planned settings were: 12 with the screw all the way in; 12 with the screw half-way out, 6 with the same two screw settings, and 1 with the screw half-way out.
I quickly learned that the video (and instructions that came with the ruffler) made it look very simple to slide the fabric into the ruffler. However, it wasn't as easy for me until I realized I needed to push the the part with the "fork" all the way in, toward the needle, before inserting the fabric. Otherwise, the fabric gets caught on the fork. Just thought you should know. :)
After each test strip, I stapled it to a notecard with the information on settings, measurements, etc. It's quite interesting to see how different each setting worked for me:
I plan to slip these notecards into a binder, so I can refer to them later when making projects that require ruffles!