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Monday, March 16, 2015

How Do You Make Perfect Pleats And Ruffles?

                                        Using A Ruffler Foot For Perfect Pleats And Gathers

There are many sewing projects that require pleats and gathers in them. Some of these projects include dresses, curtains, aprons, skirts, doll clothes, costumes, smocking, and baby clothes just to name a few. The old fashioned way was to sew a long stitch into the garment piece and then pull the back string of the stitch by hand until the desired length of the gathers were achieved to complete the assembly of the garment. It is nice to know how do it by hand in the event someone does not have a ruffler foot, however, with the ruffler foot it not only saves time and effort, it makes the most perfect and beautiful pleats and gathers for a more tailored garment. The pleats and gathers are evenly spaced without any guess work or measuring as you go along. Every Sewing Seamstress will want a ruffler foot in her sewing room as a tool of her trade!

Learning how to use a ruffler foot is easy and finding a ruffler foot for your sewing machine is easy. There are some ruffer foots made specifically for the make and model of your sewing machine, and then there are ruffler foots that can be universally used on any make and model of a sewing machine. A ruffler foot may look complicated but it is easy to learn to use. Once you have mastered the ruffler foot you will not trade it for any other way to make pleats and gathers in your sewing projects. Here is a video that shows you how to install and use a ruffler foot.

Once you have the hang of using a ruffler foot, you can fly through your sewing projects that require pleats and gathers! One of the projects I like to use a ruffler foot for is "smocking." Smocking can be done by hand or it can be done by machine by using the ruffler foot first to make your pleats, then top stitch with decorative stitches on top of the pressed pleats. Here is video that demonstrates how to "smock" using the sewing machine.

"Smocking" is used for baby dresses, children's heirloom clothing, and doll clothes. Some doll clothes using "smocking" are used for 'Vintage" doll clothes that will become heirloom doll clothes. So as you are "smocking" by machine you can consider that your finish project may become an heirloom to the purchaser or recipient of your project. "Smocking" can used on adult clothing for sleeves and peasant tops that is most beautiful when it is completed. Smocking is a type of embroidery that is used to gather fabric so that it can stretch. Smocking was used before there was elastic. You can find out more about smocking and it's history in this link

I've used the ruffler foot for pleats for curtains that turned out perfect and I got many compliments on my curtains. Anyone can pleat with confidence when they use the ruffler foot when ruffles and gathers are required. I use the ruffler foot for doll clothes, skirts, formals, dresses, aprons, or anything else that requires ruffles or pleats. It saves me alot of time and my pleats and gathers turn out exacting as I need them to be. You can find a ruffler foot for your sewing machine here. What will you be sewing with your ruffler foot?

Link for a Ruffler Foot:


  1. Hey Rhonda, have you tried actually using Ruffler foot to make rows of pleats for smocking. I ask this because the video shows using the traditional method of basting stitch gathers then drawing fabric up...? If you have, how successful were the pleats. Were they close enough so heirloom stitches could be sewn on top of them?

    1. Yes I have used a ruffler foot for pleats. I use the ruffler foot for little girl and doll dresses and have been very pleased with the results I got from using it. The ruffler foot I use has two types of ruffles it makes. One is for the gathering type of ruffle and the other for pleat type of ruffles. I used the pleat type of ruffle for gathering of smocking stitches and was happy with my results. You can set the ruffler for how close you would like your pleats to be. It saved a lot of time and effort for myself in using it. :)