Continuing with our Sewing 101 series, this is a more complex, not exactly beginner level tutorial. But, I’m doing it now, because, well, I’m doing these as I get ideas of the best way to show the concepts. Cool? By the way, email or comment with specific things you want to learn, mkay? So here’s our guinea pig today. Meet the Ruffler foot.
Kind of intimidating, eh? A far-cry from this nice, safe, plain presser foot, right?
Yeah, I was plenty intimidated when I took it out of the box. And the only thing that came with it was this piece of vague paper…
Not super helpful. I did use a tutorial on Craftaholics Anonymous, and that helped me figure out how to put it on the machine, but I wanted more information, so here’s my tutorial.
First off, let’s look at this bad boy up close and personal…
The very top has an adjusting lever, which lets you choose whether you’ll do pleats, gathers, or a straight line.
The * is straight line, 12 & 6 are pleats, and 1 is gathers. The adjusting lever is connected to the fork arm, which goes on the needle clamp.
Basically, if you choose 12, your machine will sew 12 stitches, and then make a pleat. Mkay? Now, the orange knob on the side adjusts the depth of those pleats.
It tells your foot how much fabric to push back to make the pleat/gather.
See the ruffling blade? It’s black, and it pushes the fabric underneath the needle. The very bottom of the foot has the separator blade, so you can sew your ruffle right onto your fabric. Pretty amazing! So, to put on the foot, you have to take off your other foot (and realize mine is a Bernina, so your presser foot may go on and off in a completely different way!), and then angle it like so to go on the shank and the fork arm goes around the needle clamp. Whew. If you’re not sure about parts of your machine, go here to see what all that meant!
Awkward hand shot…
Okay, now it should be good to go. But how do you get the fabric in? First, let me share a tip that will help you not curse the stupid foot and blade and such.
See the metal part sticking out? You want that in, and sort of lined up with the bottom blade. Like so.
This will help you get the fabric in and adjusted where you want it to be under your needle. Trust me, I’ve done it with it out, and it catches on the fabric and can put holes, and it’s just not pretty.
So here’s a picture with the fabric in the machine. One thing. My little manual that came with it said to put it in so that medal phalange is on top.
Don’t do that. It makes it so much easier to just slide it under the black blade thing. Then, you can sew at different parts of the fabric, instead of the very edge. You’ll see in the next pictures the ones that are done on the edge and the ones that are more in the middle… I used a stack of scrap fabric, all cut to the same size, to show you the different settings…
So, now the settings…What do the different numbers mean? If you choose 1 on the top, it means it will do a gather every stitch.
If you do a 1 with an 8 on the knob, you’ll get deep gathers/pleats. The one on the left is at a 1-8, and all are sewn at a stitch length of 3 (yeah your stitch length changes things too. So from left to right, the settings are 1-8, 1-4, 1-3, 1-2, and 1-1. I didn’t bother with 0, because it does just the tiniest gather and looks almost flat. Wanna see the difference with stitch length?
The one of the right is 1-8, stitch length 1 1/2, and the other is stitch length 3, also 1-8. Crazy, huh? Okay, onto 6.
Again, left to right, 6-8. 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, and 6-1. You can see that 6-1 hardly has any gathering to it. I did all this with a stitch length 3 as well.
On setting 12, I did a stitch length of 1 1/2, because it didn’t seem to do be doing much on 3. So left to right on this picture is 12-8, 12-4, 12-3, 12-2, and 12-1, which is hardly gathered.
Here’s a close-up of 12-8 to see the depth of the pleats.
And a close-up of 12-2 and 12-1 to show the miniscule pleats.
And just to compare, the one of the left is a 12-8, with a stitch length of 3, the right is stitch length of 1 1/2.
You’ll remember that there is a star on the top too? That is for sewing a straight line. Like so.
Now, if you were wanting to sew the ruffle to the fabric as you were going along, all you have to do is put the fabric you’re sewing to beneath the ruffler foot, with everything line up how you want. It’s a little tricky to keep things straight if you do, put a little practice helps. It took me most of this bedspread to get used to doing it as I was sewing down! Anyway, hopefully that’s a helpful overview, so email or comment if you have any questions, or something isn’t clear! Thanks for reading!
By the way, to get one of these, I mentioned you need to know high or low shank for your machine. I called a fabric store in town and they had 1 foot in stock for $40. I called joanns, and they didn't have anything. I called a local Bernina store and they were charging $114!!! I looked on eBay and found mine for $26 with free shipping. Amazon had some for around $20, but it didn't say my sewing machine model number in its compatible list. So eBay won!!