Ruffles! They are a thing in Lolita. There are several different kinds of ruffles, but the kind that I am applying to my Caramel Mocha Skirt is a hem ruffle, or a peek-a-boo ruffle. It’s a small ruffle that comes out from under the hem but is not attached to a lining.
As always, first is math. Figure out how long your ruffle is going to be and how wide and then cut your fabric. My ruffle is 2 times the circumference of my skirt, which is 6 cuts of 45″ wide fabric. And my ruffle will total 1.25″ in width, with a .25″ turn-turn edge finish and 1″ of seam allowance to stitch to the skirt hem.
- Stitch the edges of the strips of ruffles together. When you stitch the two ends of all the ruffles together to form a circle, make sure that there is no twist in the ruffle.
- Press open each of the seams.
- Now, finish one of the edges with a turn-turn. If needed, press the edge in place before sewing. Of – if you are daring – just eyeball it 😉
- Measuring up from the finished edge, drawing a line for your gathering stitch. If you want these stitches hidden – as I do – draw the line further up than your finished ruffle will be.
- We all know how to do gathering stitches: two rows of parallel straight lines of stitching that are the longest stitch your machine can do. Another way that tends to be stronger – no broken threads! – is by using Heavy Thread. This is thread that is a little wiry and thicker than normal thread.
Simply use a medium width, long zig-zag stitch and hold the heavy thread in the middle of the zig-zag.
- Now, to prepare the hem of the skirt! Here I am doing a simple turn-turn hem which will be .75″ wide. Press the hem in place, but do not stitch!
- Mark the quarters of both the skirt hem and the ruffle. The quickest way to do this is to fold the pieces in half and then in half again. The most accurate way to do this is to measure the quarters.
- Pin the quarters together, with the zig-zag stitch slightly above the edge of the hem.
- Pull on the heavy thread to gather the ruffle down to the skirt. Be sure to mark the quarters within the quarters for an evenly gathered ruffle.
When you move to gathering a new section, simply use a pin to pull the heavy thread out.
- Pin the ruffle in place.
- From the right side of the fabric, stitch the ruffle and hem a the same time. If you are using a straight stitch, do two rows of stitches for a secure ruffle hem. Or you can use a decorative stitch, such as a zig-zag or embroidery stitch if your machine allows it.
Ruffle hem! Yay! Next time I do another type of ruffle, I will be sure to share that as well. I hope you enjoy ruffling up your hems!