Are you looking for a way to add character and flair to your garment? Ruffles might be the solution. Some of the earliest references of ruffles in fashion date back to the 15th century and have been worn in men’s and women’s fashion throughout history. Ruffles aren’t just pretty to look at, they can add value, and function to your garment. For example, if you’ve outgrown your days of sporting crop tops, you can easily add a ruffle to the hemline to create length! Manipulating fabric to create ruffles is a great technique to learn as a sewist. Let’s take a look at 6 different types of ruffles to get your creativity flowing.
Single Edge Ruffle:
This is the most common and basic style of ruffle. It’s is made by gathering a long straight edge piece of fabric onto a smaller piece of fabric. Gather by sewing a single or double basting stitch 1/8” away from the top edge. use a pin to secure the loose thread on one end of the fabric and gently pull on the thread to form the gathers. Make sure the gathers are evenly spread out before attaching the ruffle to your fabric. For a substantial amount of fullness, cut your ruffle at least 3x the length of your fabric. Easily add this simple ruffle to any t-shirt or use it to add drama to the hemline of a pencil skirt.
Double Edge Ruffle:
This style of ruffle is also made by gathering a long straight edge piece of fabric onto a smaller piece of fabric. Gather by sewing a single or double basting stitch at the center to create ruffles on both ends. This style of ruffle is commonly used as decorative trim or embellishment. Use a double edge ruffle to trim the neckline of a shirt or along the edge of a sleeve.
A spiral ruffle is cut in a spiral pattern as one continuous strip of fabric. One end of the fabric is larger and gradually gets smaller at the other end. This type of ruffle is sewn by attaching the straight edge to a piece of fabric that is the same size. No gathering is necessary. The ruffles will fall loosely, creating a draped look. Add a spiral ruffle to the neckline of your favorite shirt or blouse.
To achieve this style of ruffle, cut an even circle pattern out of a single strip of fabric. The inside of the circle when straightened, will be sewn to the straight edge of your main fabric. The length of the inside circle will match the length of your main fabric. No gathering is necessary. This will allow the ruffle to drape loosely creating more of a wave pattern. For a loose flounce effect, add circle ruffles as cuffs to your favorite coat or insert circular ruffles to a fitted sheath dress to add flair.
Although the cascading ruffle is cut the same way as the circular ruffle, it is sewn onto the garment vertically. When sewn in this direction, it causes ruffles to cascade creating loose flowing ruffles. These are also known as waterfall ruffles. You can commonly see this style of ruffle worn on long Flamenco style dresses and skirts.
Evenly spaced pleats create this decorative style of ruffle. No gathering is needed. Cut a straight ruffle a least 3 times the length of your main fabric. Fold and pin each pleat until it aligns perfectly with your main fabric. This ruffle is commonly created with box and knife pleats. Pleated ruffles also make the perfect trim for any garment. They are great for enhancing collars, button plackets, and necklines.
What are some of your favorite ways to use ruffles? Will you incorporate any ruffles into your future sewing projects?