Making ruffles without a gathering foot: Cut your pre-measured strips. Set your machine to baste- or hand baste- 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric, leaving about 3-4″ of loose ends. Then go back and baste another row about 3/8″ from edge of fabric. While holding the end of the loose threads, pull the other ends (at same time) and using your fingers of the same hand, push the fabric back to create gathers until you’ve reached your desired length. Once there, tie off the ends so the ruffle doesn’t undo itself. Evenly distribute the gathers and pin every few inches to keep it from sliding around. Go back to your machine with a regular stitch and sew through all the puckers 1/4″ from edge, over the basting. Then go back and stitch again on the 3/8″ mark.
1. Start with a base fabric that is the dimensions of your pillow, plus 1/2″ for seam allowance. We used a black solid for contrast.
2. Mark with pins where you want the ruffles to end. For ours, we went nearly to the top right corner and about midway along the bottom. This will give the background a chance to peek through without it being too top heavy with ruffles.
3. Our ruffles are made using a pinked edge only. They are not clean finished and so, yes, they’ll fray a bit, but that’s part of the look for this project.
3a. Cut ruffle strips 2″ wide and approximately 2 1/2x the length that you will need in the end (so if you need 1 ft of ruffle, then make the strip 2 1/2 ft). You may need to join strips together to get to your desired length.
3b. Jaclyn used a ruffler attachment (lucky gal for having one!), but it’s fairly easy to make ruffles using this simple method below.
4. Starting at the points marked on the base fabric, arrange the ruffle in a curve and stitch to base fabric 1/4″ from ruffle edge. Be sure to leave 1/4″ extension of the ruffle over the edge of the base fabric for catching into seams when sewing pillow top to back.
5. Arrange your next ruffle over the first sewn ruffle, covering the stitches of the first ruffle.
6. Continuing layering ruffles on top of one another, stitching each as you go until you reach the left corner.
NOT PICTURED: If you want to add an embellishment such as the little pennants like Jaclyn did, add them in as you go stitching them to one of the ruffles (one that is not too close to the edge is best)
7. Pin up the bottom two ruffles so that they do not get caught in the bottoms seam of the pillow. *The ends will get sewn into the left side of the pillow
8. We used a simple envelope closure by using two panels of overlapping fabric with finished edges on the interior. Arrange them face down on the right side of the ruffled panel. Sew all along the edge of pillow using 1/4″ seam allowance.
9. Turn right side out and press ruffles with iron to flatten them down a bit.