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Finding An Alternative Way To Great Ruffles: Gathering Foot vs. Ruffler Foot

Finding An Alternative Way To Great Ruffles: Gathering Foot vs. Ruffler Foot

Hi! My name is Kerri Wright and I'm so excited to be doing my 1st Blog Post for Ellie and Mac Patterns! For a little background on myself, a little over 3 years ago I decided to open my own shop, Sensible Stitches, making custom children's and adult women's clothing after having my last baby and being introduced to Grow With Me style clothing! I fell in love with sewing and the fact that there always seems to be something new to learn!!
You can find my business group here:
Sensible Stitches

Now, let's get down to the main topic of this blog post and why I chose it!
RUFFLES!! Gathering Foot or Ruffler Foot?

If you're anything like me Ruffles or Flutters, any type of gathering actually, really intimidated me for a long time! As someone who is completely right handed, when faced with a task that requires coordination with both hands combined with some nerve damage in my right hand, the technique of manually gathering fabric with basting stitches absolutely frightened Me! That didn't stop me from learning how to do it that way but it took me so long to get it done, I tended to stay away from patterns that required gathering!

Then my little girl decided she LOVES dresses and so many dress patterns call for gathering  (Lindsey has some great Dress Patterns with ruffles! You can check them out using my affiliate link here: ​EAM Pattern affiliate link​) that I started thinking there HAS to be an easier way for me to get this done that wouldn't cramp up my hands! I started asking around and doing some YouTube searches and found info on Gathering Feet & Ruffler Feet! Hopped on Amazon and found the ones for my Brother Sewing Machine, they aren't too expensive so ordered both and had them in just a couple of days! Here are the links to purchase them if you're interested:

Gathering Foot

Ruffler Foot

Now remember to look for the ones specific for your machine. Sometimes machines come with them but mine didn't.

Let's take a quick look at each foot and the differences between them!
My most used is the Gathering Foot for its simplicity, it's great for normal, basic gathers and you can control the volume of the gathers with your tension & stitch length!  

Gathering foot vs. Ruffler foot

All you need to do is install the foot, make sure your needle goes down smooth, slide your fabric under the foot and start sewing! The volume of your gathers will depend on your tension & stitch length. For example, a tension of 7 will create fuller gathers than a tension of 5 and a stitch length of 3.0 will give you a little more than a stitch length of 5.0! I've found that you really need to take a piece of your fabric for a trial each time because all fabric is different! It works for both knit and woven fabrics! You can also use the Gathering Foot to gather and sew on a flat piece of a fabric at the same time, which is great for attaching a skirt to a bodice! The fabric you're gathering goes under the presser foot while the flat goes into the top slot! It might take a little practice but it's simple, saves time and looks fantastic!

The Ruffler Foot looks a little scary at first but given some time you can get it down! 

Gather foot vs. ruffler foot

This foot does more of a pleat then an actual gather, so take a good look at your patterns and determine which look you are wanting to achieve. It's customization to pleat fabric at 3 different stitch intervals and can be adjusted farther with the stitch length. Attach your foot using the shank screw, make sure the needle goes through the whole smoothly, set your preferred pleat length, and stitch length and your read to slide your fabric in & start pleating!

Here's some things to look at when using your Ruffler Foot:

The numbers on the front tell you how many stitches are between each pleat.

Star = no pleat (regular straight stitch)

12 = pleat every 12 Stitches (least amount of ruffle)

 6 = pleat every 6 Stitches (medium ruffle)

 1 = pleat every 1 inch (maximum ruffle)

If you need more adjustment for your ruffles you can change your stitch length, the smaller the stitch length the more ruffles you will get!

You can also use the Ruffler Foot to join your pleats to a flat piece of fabric, it takes a little more coordination and time so it's not my preferred technique! 

I hope you found this blog helpful and encourage you to try them out! There's some great YouTube videos out there on how to use each foot and more specifically for your machine!  Thanks for reading!!


Guest Blogger


Guest Blogger

Great information. I’ve always been intimidated by specialty feet like these. Thanks for explaining them so clearly.

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