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July 15, 2017

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how to make easy ribbon ruffles

July 15, 2017

 

hi everyone!

 

so my next big project will be done soon (hopefully, I have to get on it) but in the mean time, here is a little tutorial for a part of my latest project. it's for making your very own, one of-a-kind strand of ruffles!

 

this is perfect for when you 

• can't find the right trim or want an exact color (like black ruffled trim, which apparently no craft store sells) 

• you find a super cute ribbon that you want to add to a project in a fun way

• don't want to spend all that money on trim when you could make your own for cheaper! 

 

you can do this for fabric as well! it's the same idea, but every time you read ribbon in the tutorial, just pretend it says fabric. 

 

what you will need:

  • ribbon (about twice the length of what you want to cover)

  • a sewing machine

  • thread to match (or not match, see step 3)

 

•Step 1•

 

Choose your ribbon.

 

Now I've only done this with thick ribbon (as shown) and recommend using ribbon at least an inch thick. I'm not sure how well a thin ribbon will work, but it's always worth a shot if you're comfortable with trying. But an important thing to remember is if you're adding the ribbon as trim to something, you're going to lose about an eighth to a quarter inch of width. Also, since the ribbon is essentially bunching, the amount you start out with is not what you'll end with. For example, I used 8 yards of ribbon and ended up with roughly 4 yards, give or take a foot...I forgot to measure it before I used it up! also, don't use wired ribbon, that will not work at all and probably hurt your machine. 

 

 

•Step 2•

 

Get your machine on and ready. Choose just a regular straight stitch and adjust the width of the stitch to as high as it'll go. 

 

On my Singer Talent, that is a 4. Might be different on different machines. If you have some super fancy machine that can make stitches like 3 inches long, you might not want to go as high. Here is a picture of how far apart each stitch is for me and also the settings I used.

 

 

 

•Step 3•

 

*Bonus trick step*

 

Totally not necessary, but it can be helpful if you make your bobbin thread a different color. When it comes time to making the actual ruffles, you'll see what I mean. If you're using the ruffles where people will see the thread, you might not want to. It won't make your life all that more difficult if you keep the top and bobbin thread matching, but it's just an idea.

 

•Step 4•

 

Time to sew! Make sure you're machine is on and all adjustments are made. If you want end ruffles, sew a straight line down the edge of the ribbon or fabric about an eighth or quarter of an inch away. You could also sew down the middle for a different look. **Most importantly 1. Don't double back. As in, don't reverse your needle to make the stitch stick. This will not let you make ruffles! 2. Make sure you leave some space on the edge your sewing for you to attach the ribbon to your final project. 

 

I always like to do a few practice stitches on scrap fabric before I begin on the real stuff. That way I can make sure my machine is running well, especially after making any adjustments. 

 

•Step 5•

 

Keep on sewing...you can do 5 inches or 5 yards all in one go! Once you're done, just cut your strings with a few inches (like 4-6) of slack. Then just leave it be. Again, no double backing!

 

The longer the ribbon the longer it will take to make the ruffles, but not too bad. I did two 4 yard rolls of ribbon pretty seamlessly and I am far from professional. 

 

•Step 6•

 

Find your bobbin thread (the one you may or may not have made a different color!) and pull it. 

 

If you can't find it, try pulling on each thread and you'll notice one will pull easier than the other (which may not have any give at all). You'll know you have the right string when you start seeing ruffles form! 

 

•Step 7•

 

Pull gently! This is super important! Pull your bobbin thread and start doing a shuffley-bunching motion with the ribbon.  If you're not using that long of a piece, you probably can just pull it and watch it ruffle. But most of the time it will need some help. 

 

It does get kinda hard with the long pieces, but you have to hold the bottom end of the thread tightly and then bunch the fabric towards the bottom while pulling on the bobbin string. It takes a minute to figure it out, but soon enough you'll get the rhythm going. 

 

Trust me, when I first learned this, I was like "yeah, ok" and then I was going along making my ruffles and about half way through *SNAP* my thread broke. Then I did the whole process over and it snapped again. So be careful or it will take you a lot longer than it should!! 

 

 

•Step 8•

 

Even out those ruffles! Sometimes they get too close together or too far apart in the process. 

 

My best suggestion is to lay your piece out (or tie it like I did) and push/pull the ribbon till it's perfect. 

 

 

•Step 9•

 

Trim the excess string and go back and double back the ending. Or, if you want to get fancier, fold an edge over and add a little hem. This will stop your string from falling out and also keep the ribbon edges from fraying! 


In my case, I needed more than what I sewed so I had to go back and make more and attach them to each other. I just took both ends, faced them towards each other and then sewed together. Then I trimmed up until the stitch to do my best to hide it. It can be easy to underestimated how much you'll need when it bunches up, so don't worry too much if you have to sew two pieces together. 

 

After that, you're all done! Now you have a bunch of ruffles. If you check in within the next few days, I will show you what I did with my mine! 

 

Thanks for reading!

Emily Matusek

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