A Whole New Ruffle: Zig-Zag Channel Ruffles

Unless you are blessed with a ruffler foot for your machine, gathering stitches are the typical way of gathering ruffles: two rows of long-length stitches that you pull.

However, this is not the only option, if you have some thick, wirey thread (such as quilting thread).
ruffle channel (17)
This method of gathering is a lot more reliable than gathering stitches, but might require a little bit more clean-up.  With this method, there is no risk of breaking thread, and if your gathering thread comes out, you can easily thread it back into place.  Also, distriputing fabric is a lot easier to control and conduct.

ruffle channel (8)
First, prepare your ruffle fabric by finishing off both ends.  Since I have a lot of fabric that I will be gathering down and I want a light hem, I choose to simply serge and turn to finish off the hem of my ruffle.
ruffle channel (12)
Now, set your machine to a zig-zag stitch, making it fairly wide and long.  It is better to air on the bigger side if this is your first time using this method, so that if will be easier to control.  The settings I used are above.

ruffle channel (18)
Set up yourself at the machine with your quilting thread so that it runs off the spool and under the machine foot, like shown.

ruffle channel (19)ruffle channel (23)
Stitch a zig-zag along your seam line, guiding the quilting thread so that it stays in the middle of the zigzag.

ruffle channel (24)
Once you get back to the beginning, you can go over the first stitches a bit and then cut a long tail for you quilting thread.

ruffle channel (25) ruffle channel (26)
Now, divide and conquer!  Divide your ruffle and your skirt hem into quarters.  Pin quarters of skirt to ruffle  Then divide those quarters into quarters..  You can keep going for more intensely accurate gathering.

ruffle channel (27) ruffle channel (28)
At each quarter, use a pin to pull the quilting thread up for gathering.  You can then gather to the appropriate length, and cut and tie the tails of the thread together to hold the gathers while you pin.
     ruffle channel (1) ruffle channel (29)

Stitch the whole thing down and Ta-Da!  Correct any mistakes and press your seams open.

ruffle channel (5)

The clean-up I mentioned at the beginning is the little zig-zag stitches that you will able to see on the right side of the ruffle.  Though tedious, they just need to be ripped/snipped out.
ruffle channel (5)

So excited to see this dress coming together!  But before I finish it, I had better make a vest for bunny (not joking.).

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