Adding Dimension to Your Quilt; The Ruffler

January 31, 2010

Last week I looked briefly at using the automatic ruffler to make ruffles. This week I’d like to look at the settings on the ruffler to adjust the closeness and depth of the ruffles.IMG_4942

The first setting I’d like to look at controls how close together the ruffles are. At the top front of the ruffler there is a plate that has four slots. The slots are marked “0”, “12”, “6” and “1”. A little metal tab sticks through one of the slots to mark which setting the ruffler is on.


When set at slot “1” the fabric will be ruffled, or pleated, at every stitch. At slot “6” the fabric will be ruffled at every sixth stitch. At slot “12” the fabric will be ruffled at every twelfth stitch. At slot “0” the ruffler is disengaged.  Take a look at this photo to see how the settings change the look of the ruffles.


On setting 1 the ruffles are at every stitch so the ruffling is very close and compact. On settings 6 and 12 the ruffles are spread out so to be almost unnoticeable.

The second setting controls the depth of each ruffle, that is, how much fabric is tucked into each ruffle or pleat. This setting is controlled by a screw on the top directly behind the slots we were just talking about. The lower the screw is turned the more fabric is included in each ruffle. You can see those effects in the following two photos.


In this first photo the screw has been lowered all the way so that the maximum amount of fabric possible is being tucked into each pleat. It’s a little crammed together on setting 1 but the settings 6 and 12 make a nice arrangement of pleats.


In this second photo the screw has been backed out about 1/16th of an inch for pleats that are not quite as full.

This setting is far from precise as it is a matter of eye-balling how far in or out the screw is. I found that a ruler held up to the screw helped me to judge how far in or out the screw is.

Now, let’s say I like the full tuck of the screw on 0. But as I look at my samples the tuck of every stitch is too close and the tuck of every sixth stitch is too far apart. How can I space those tucks farther apart with no setting between 1 and 6? What I can do is lengthen the stitch length. I did my initial samples with a 2.5 stitch length. So I can lengthen the stitch length to 4.0 and use the setting 1. There will be a pleat at every stitch but they will be spread out farther because each stitch is longer.


The middle sample in this photo is the look I was going for. The ruffles are not crammed together as densely as in the top sample and they are not spread out as loosely as in the bottom sample. So remember that you can also adjust the stitch length to change the look of your ruffles.

Debra Spincic of Debra’s Design Studio has some tips for making ruffles. She suggests:

One thing I have found helpful is to make a few samples with the various settings & write the settings directly on the ruffle as a reference.

It is smart to measure the length of fabric first and then do the ruffle to see how much ruffle is made so you get the correct fabric : ruffle ratio (such as 2, 2.5 or 3). You can add this information to your sample piece. You do not want to be in the middle of a ruffle and run out of fabric! And, believe me, you will not remember the next time you sit down to make ruffles.

Those are all good tips, Debra. Thanks! I marked each of my ruffles with the setting used, the depth of the screw, the stitch length, the length of the fabric before ruffling and the length of the finished ruffle.

Next time we’ll go step by step through making a length of ruffle for a quilt. Until then, have a quilty day!



  1. Deb – you are truly amazing. Thank you so much for having taken the time to create, photograph, edit, and upload this post. I know how time consuming this process is and I thank you for sharing this valuable information. I will definitely be referring to it here shortly. I wish you lollipops and rainbows today.

  2. This is the kind of 'testing/playing' I do. I then take the samples and staple them to a sheet of paper and put them in a binder. That way I know where to look and not have to reinvent the wheel for a technique or tool that I do not use frequently.

  3. Really good explanation!

  4. I suddenly "need" to buy a ruffler foot. The samples are great!

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