Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How to Use Your Ruffler

So a ruffler or a ruffle foot, probably my FAVORITE presser foot, looks more like an evil torture device than a presser foot. Right? Look at that thing, it doesn't look nice does it? But the thing is: it's amazing. Ruffles by hand are horrible. Pleats too! They take forever with all the measuring. Well: enter your new best friend. If you can peel back it's layers to discover how nice it is. Think of it like the really taciturn girl in high school that you think is really nasty but turns out to be pretty awesome when you get to know her. Lesson: first impressions are often wrong. So grab your ruffler (seriously, it helps), a scrap of fabric and let's get to know it!

I know, I know, I just told you to hold it in your hand. And I still think you should. But, bottomline: this is all useless if you can't get it on the machine. Since mine is a knockoff (which I do not advise), it's kind of difficult. I also have a Bernina, so it's likely my feet attach slightly differently than yours but not so different that you won't be able to figure it out.

The big takeaway on this one is the little c shaped hook thing. There are 2 places this will need to attach t your machine: the c shaped hook (called a clamp) will go around a bar that should be perpendicular to your needle. The back piece (which in my case is a hold) will go where your feet normally attach. 

I find it FAR easier to attach the clamp before I attach it to the back. The clamp moves, the back doesn't. And since the clamp hooks away from me, I can't exactly pull it backwards to hook it. So start with the hook and move it up and down until you get the back in!

Okay, pick up your scrap of fabric. This is best learned by doing. You'll note that there are a LOT of places it looks like you can put your fabric. There are 2 plates, one with teeth. The piece that will be ruffled/pleated will go between those plates (see picture where you can now only see one). Then there are 2 sections between the bottom plate, a pointy out piece, and the back. Your fabric (see picture) will go over the bottom plate, under the pointy out piece, and over the back. 

Additionally, you can attach your ruffles DIRECTLY to your fabric. To do that, put the not-to-be-ruffled fabric under the bottom plate. All lined up. Remember, the pleated/ruffled fabric will need to be LONGER than your not ruffled piece. 

I'm sure you're wondering: what causes it to ruffle or pleat? And what are all these numbers all over the place? Well, up at the top where there's a piece that fits into 4 slots is what makes this distinction. Each number corresponds to how many stitches it will stitch before pulling the fabric together to ruffle it. Therefore, 1 is a gathered stitch, 6 is a small pleat (that still looks like a ruffle), and 12 is just a pleat. 

This controls how DEEP your pleats are. I've never really cared, so I keep it on 8.

And this is the result. Pretty awesome right? This is 6 stitches and the gauge set on 8. See how the top looks pleated but the body looks more ruffled. A tip before I change topic: thread your needle BEFORE you put the ruffler on. It's REALLY hard to get it threaded afterwards. 

Lastly: WAR EAGLE! I'm so happy for my tigers and relieved my power and cable didn't go out!

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