Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bias Ruffles: a godsend for ruffle addicts...

Everyone has a great tutorial on creating something with ruffles.  Most of the tutes you see are for refashioning t-shirts or making ruffled skirts from t-shirts.  Since t-shirts are made of jersey and jersey doesn't fray, creating ruffles is very easy.  But what about woven fabric?  It frays like crazy.  You have to hem it or your ruffles will turn to fringe and you'll be shedding strings all over the place.  There has to be a better way, right?  Well there is!  WOVEN FABRIC CUT ON THE BIAS DOES NOT FRAY!!!!  After fighting with my narrow hem foot for hours trying to hem some calico to make ruffles, I came across this tute:

Squiggly Twig Designs showed me the light!
Bias strip ruffles were the solution to my
ruffle dilemma!
and this tute all about ruffles:

This is an informative ruffle tute by See Kate Sew.

Bias strip ruffle usage is not unheard of in the blogging tutorial world, but there isn't a lot out there. 

Here are some of my favorites:

Micah C Micah Do has a great ruffled pillow tute!

Another pretty pillow tute by Midwestern {sewing} Girl

This beautiful skirt uses bias strips sewn in tiers
for a gorgeous effect.  Kudos to No Big Dill for this beaut!

This cute pouch is made even cuter with a bias strip ruffle.
Find the tute on That's My Letter: "R" is for Ruffles.

You can find the tutorial for this phenomenal pillow
at Ameroonie Designs.

Here are a few things I've made using bias ruffles:

 How would you like to see a neat-o torpedo little ruffle shortcut?  Awww, that perked up your ears!
This is how I deal with rows and rows of cascading ruffles:

What you'll need to start:
  • fabric that looks the same on either side cut into wide bias strips (4"-6" is ideal)
  • sewing machine with a straight stitch and coordinating thread
  • hot iron with steam

The 1st step is to cut your woven fabric into wide bias strips.  How long?  Super long.  I wouldn't start unless I had a strip at least 6ft long.  Think about it, if you gather it really tight, you would probably only end up with 3 ft of ruffles. 
This is a good video tutorial on how to attach strips of bias. 

The 2nd step is to mark an off-center mid-line down the length of your strip.  I did this by ironing in a good crease.  For this tute, my bias strip is 4" wide and my off-center crease was 2.5" from the edge.

The 3rd step is to gather your strips along the crease. 
Most people will gather fabric by sewing a long straight stitch and pulling one of the threads.  I tried that, but my thread kept breaking.  Other folks are lucky enough to have a ruffle foot for their sewing machines.  I am  not so lucky.  Because I was frustrated and a bit lazy, I came up with my own gathering method.  I simply pinch and pleat/fold my fabric as I am feeding it under the foot and to my needle. No special equipment needed. One step and I'm done. You can see that my ruffles are more like irregular pleats.  This may bother you, but I've made peace with it.  :-)

The 4th step is to fold and press your strip on your off-center mid-line.  Like magic, you have a double row of ruffles.  Now you can see why you choose your fabric carefully.  The peach linen I used doesn't really have a right or wrong side. 
Another thing you may have noticed is the seam where I connected two bias strips.  The seams will show.  I've made peace with that fact.  You can too! 

And that's it!  You're done.  Easy huh?  Hmmm, still can't visualize why this is such a cool technique?  Keep scrolling down and look at my little demo.  If you're like me, you need to SEE it all played out in order to be properly inspired.

What could you do with 2 double ruffles?

Why, you could stack them up and make a quadruple row of ruffles!
Starting to see where I'm coming from?

How many rows of rufles do you see on my little handbag? 

To make this purse, I made one long strip of ruffles and sewed them around a tube of fabric.
The ruffles literally spiral up and around the tube.
The arrow points to one end of my ruffle.

This arrow points to the other end of my ruffle way down on the bottom of the handbag.

Like looking up a lady's skirt, right?
I mentioned sewing around a tube earlier, right?  Well, I sewed up one end of the tube using a french seam to hide the raw edges.  The other end of the tube was folded over a few times and hemmed to finish the top edge of the bag.  I sewed on strips of bias to the top and tied on the bamboo handles.

Because I believe one cannot have too many visual aids.  I drew up this little sketch to show you how I started stitching the ruffles onto the purse.  I began near the "bottom" of the tube and spiraled up to the top.  I left enough unruffled fabric at the bottom to make a decent french seam and enough at the top to fold under a few times and hem to finish the top.

And so concludes yet another long-winded post by Rikka J!
Thank you for hanging in there with me!
Please let me know if I can make anything clearer for you.
I love that you are reading my posts and I have to tell you, it is so awesome to see my stats get better and better every week!  Thank you so much for becoming a follower and telling others about Ricochet and Away!  You all rock!

Happy Crafting and big hugs from Montana!

Be sure to check out the Retro Pillow Challenge!
It starts in September so you still have time to join in!

Crastal at Homemaker in Heels featured this post.  Thanks Crystal! 
Check out her sweet and sassy blog:
Homemaker In Heels

This tute caught the eye of Craft Gossip too!  My fave craft site!

As seen on CraftGossip.com

This is where I party:


  1. Love your way of making it. I sometime do curtain or dresses like it. I just know the different of 1 row, 2 rows or even 4 rows. Thanks for the detail tutorial.

  2. Every time I stop here I think, "Why didn't I learn how to sew?" :)

  3. I have just got to try this! I am not a ruffly sort of girl, but these look amazing! And your tutorial was great! Thanks. I am a new follower :)

  4. cool! I'm going to re-read your post more carefully now. I don't know why, but I really hate cutting bias strips! Maybe it's because it wastes fabric, maybe it's because you need to lay out the fabric nice and square and mark and cut... I don't know! Have you tried using non-bias strips and serging the edges? My overlock machine (serger) has a special thin serging option... You can use it to finish the hem of thin fabrics like chiffon, or to finish jersey for a squiggly effect. I guess I could try it. I don't know why I am a lazy bias-cutter and gatherer, though!!

  5. WHO KNEW! Love ruffles! Thanks for sharing that awesome tip and thank you for linking to Wicked Awesome Wednesday!

  6. Thank you for referencing my bias ruffle post. We love it. I hadn't considered the double idea. For those who can't make peace with the seam that shows, they could hide the edges by using a french seam of sorts. Also, you may find our gathering tutorial useful. You can find it here: http://squigglytwigs.blogspot.com/2009/12/new-tute-ruffling-without-pulling.html

  7. Great post and thank you for including me. I gave you a shout in a post today and grabbed your button.

  8. What a nice response! Thanks for checking out my ruffle post!
    @Keren, I don't have a serger. I've had some success using a regular zig-zag on the edges of knits for that ruffly effect. I agree, cutting bias strips can be pain and wasteful of fabric. But what if you were cutting up an old sheet? Or a painter's drop cloth? This technique is best for lots of crazzy layers off cascading ruffles.
    @Debbie, your no-pull ruffling technique is def. worth trying! I've tried to connect my strips with french seams, but the stiffness of those seams makes the ruffle stick straight out and become even more of an eyesore. But that's most likely just something I need to make peace with! Perhaps with wider bias strips, the weight of the ruffles would press down the devient french seams.

    Thanks for all the nice comments!

  9. Love ruffles! Great Tutorial, We would love for you to share this at our link party, Crafty Lassie Tuesday. It ends tonight at 5pm.
    We are having a giveaway! Hope to see you there :)
    Heather & Rose

  10. This is such a cute purse! I love it. I am pinning this. I want to make one for myself.

  11. I'm impressed with your ruffling! Mine would look nothing like that if I tried...maybe some day! (I found you over at Tip Junkie, btw)

  12. The purse is adorable and the tips were helpful, thanks!!

  13. I adore ruffles! And your purse did not disappoint! Love the color as well! Thanks for sharing!

    I have a link party going on now, called Show & Share. I'd love to have you link this up!


  14. adorable! love the big ruffles with the bright orange, so playful. Thanks for your sweet comment on my wristlet! :)

  15. Oh thank you, thank you for all the info! I am getting ready to do a ruffle pillow and didn't know where to start. New follower :)

  16. I am in LOVE! Not only do I love ruffles, but orange is my fav color! Girl, you need to sell these things if you aren't already!!


  17. Oh I LOVE ruffles! Your purse turned out fabulous!!! :)

  18. Great Tut!! I will have to try this way. I love ruffles and my girls do too. So this will come is handy!!

  19. This is a GREAT post!
    I adore ruffles and you have some great tips and tutorials there!

  20. Oh, I love ruffles, too! Thanks for the great tutorial! I can't wait to try this! ♥

  21. Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog. Honestly, those words made my day. I'll be following your notes. (and your blog) P.S. Great post!

  22. Your blog is super cute! Thanks for visiting and following me; excited to follow you back.

    You have made me want to ruffle something, but my sewing machine and I are usually not friends. I always hesitate to get him out...and yes, him, anything so contrary is a him. ;)

  23. I didn't know that about cutting along the bias. I have never tried cutting along the bias yet but I will definitely try later! That no-fraying guarantee will solve a lot of my ruffle issues. Haha. Thanks for sharing! And thanks for visiting my blog too!

  24. I love that peach linen- it is just gorgeous. And the idea for the double ruffle? Genius I tell you.

  25. What a great tute! I love love love that bag. Thanks so much for linking up to Finished for Friday.

  26. OK - I admit I'm a ruffle addict - can't get enough of them - so I just LOVED this post! Such a cool tip to cut on the bias - AND to double the fabric over - such a simple idea which of course I never thought of! Now I have more ruffle projects swimming in my head! Thanks for the inspiration - I shared this link on facebook!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  27. Hi, I've just found your fabulous site via A Round Tuit. The instructions in your tutorials are so detailed and easy to follow.

    When I do gathering, I use two threads. I can then sew the final row of stitching between the gathered stitching, which helps me to keep it more even.

    I'm going to try your method, but just know I won't get it nice and even like yours. I'm following your blog now.

  28. Thanks for the tips! I'm about to try my first projct that needs ruffles. This will def help!

    Found you via the newbie party and you've got a new follower in me!

  29. Love all the ruffles ...Thank you for sharing such wonderful ideas. Have a great week. Bobbie

  30. Awesome! You did such a great job on your bags. I especially like the orange one. I love ruffles - they're just so girly and fun.

  31. You were so sweet to drop by...thank you for the kind comments and being my newest follower. Enjoy the day! Bobbie

  32. wow! I love this post! i love that purse and I love the color! Thanks for sharing!

    I would love it if you would share this and/or any other projects you have been up to at Tuesday Talent Show at Chef In Training Tomorrow! Plus there is going to be a fun giveaway too! Thanks so much and I hope to see you there!

  33. Wow... such fabby bags and such a wonderful load of ruffles, great post, very inspiring :)

  34. Such a cute bag. Im addicted to anything ruffles. I cant wait to read the rest of your blog! I found you through Debbies Newbie Linky Party and look forward to following you!

    You can follow me at tutulands.blogspot.com


  35. Okay, Wow! That was so cool! I'm a definite sewing novice and still haven't gotten over my fear of using a special foot on my sewing machine, so your tutorial really spoke to me -- something I could actually do without turning all my hair grey, and that would yield beautiful results. I love the orange fabric you used on your bag and am so glad you joined the party at Rook No. 17. I'm spotlighting your post on my Facebook page.


  36. Those are darling bags. You are very talented to make those. Love the fabric and colors you chose too. thanks for sharing with my newbie party.

  37. This post really is a god-send!!! Thank you for sharing all your found tips . . . it helps people like me so much! And your handbag is absolutely darling! Thank you so much for linking up to Strut Your Stuff- we are so thankful for your support! We would love to have you stop by and link up again tomorrow with more of your great posts!
    Camille @

  38. LOVE this! What a CUTE bag! Thank you so very much for the tip about cutting along the bias! I had no idea! Thanks for linking up to the weekend soiree! I will be featuring this tonight! :)
    Homemaker in Heels

  39. Another way to gather is to zig zag over a thin cord, like crochet cotton, and then pull that up to gather. Of course, the string is removed after sewing and you want to do your zig zag slightly inside any seam allowance so it won't show on the finished project!

    Here is a good tutorial on how to make long bias strips, it's for bias tape, but you can use the same principle with a larger piece of fabric and wider strips!!

  40. This purse is so pretty! Great job :)

  41. I don't know if someone has mentioned this already (and I don't want to read through 40 comments!) but another easy way to make ruffles without any fancy equipment is to set your tension as high as it will go and increase your stitch length as long as you can and the machine will ruffle for you! You can play with the settings to loosen the ruffle if you want to.
    And I love the idea of making the strip super wide and stitching off center to get two strips out of one. Definitely something I'll be doing!

  42. This is such a fun bag with the ruffles. I just love how you leave the ruffles without a hem and they don't fray. An awesome tutorial on adding ruffles!!!

  43. Hi Rikka, I've featured your bag today...


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