Birdsong Bows: In a ruffly mood - Tips for using a ruffler foot attachment

Thursday, December 29, 2011

In a ruffly mood - Tips for using a ruffler foot attachment

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!
Thanks to Tie Dye Diva, who made the cute ruffle romper pattern that I was able to match with the Catherine headband ribbon flower tutorial! The photo is courtesy of EMA Photography.

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Blogger Erica - Life at the Clubhouse said...

where did you get that foot? i have been looking for one. it would be perfect (and a LOT less time consuming) for one of aprons i make! :)

December 29, 2011 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger Deanna McCool said...

Hi Erica,
I bought it at my local quilt/sewing store that deals in the type of machine I have (a Viking). What kind of machine do you have?

December 29, 2011 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Fabi said...

That's awesome, Deanna!
I have a Brother and unfortunately, Brother doesn't have a ruffler foot..only a gathering foot. It's just not the same.
thanks for sharing!

December 29, 2011 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Deanna McCool said...

Bummer, Fabi. I wonder if one of the universal ones would work?

December 29, 2011 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger Deanna McCool said...

Would this one work?

December 29, 2011 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger erdaisy08 said...

Fabi, I have a Borther serger as well and have yet to use my gathering foot that came with it. on the video it said it could used for ruffles, however I DO NOT like the video that came with the serger to much info to fast and way to small of picture. The video for the brother sewing machine was wonderful. Anyway i was just curious if you have tired the gathering foot a what was the outcome. I have only had my machine about 2 months and it is my first. pointers would be nice. most of the youtube vidoes just show me the video i already have. Deanna thanks for this demo i might just try to order a universal one. your step by step is very helpful for me, the inexperienced.

December 29, 2011 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I got a new Brother serger...that CD that came with it scared me to death. Thought about returning it, said I can never do this. But, Maybe I can figure it out with the written instructions.

December 29, 2011 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger Deanna McCool said...

Barbara, did you buy your serger from a local dealer? Will they help you with your serger? I just bought a serger and the dealer was so helpful.

December 30, 2011 at 4:48 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I recently bought the universal distinctive ruffler foot for low shanks sewing machine and it works great for my borther machine (same to the one you found in amazon). Thanks for this post Deanna it really helped me a lot! Now I can create ruffled flowers so much faster than by hand!! Love it! :)

January 9, 2012 at 11:40 AM  

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