85F3CE96-2B73-4819-B350-FD64F4FBC6D4 .Quiltscapes.: Shall We Gather IV - Ruching!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Shall We Gather IV - Ruching!

Welcome to today's Cutting Corners tutorial for Riley Blake Designs!  We'll create dimension and texture in quilting and sewing projects with Ruching!


Cutting Corners with Riley Blake DesignsIt's another great vintage technique made modern!

Thanks for joining me for this final installment of my "Shall We Gather?" tutorial series.  Just in case you missed the previous lessons, here are the links:

Shall We Gather Series
               I- GathersII - SmockingIII - Shirring

Now, on to RUCHING!! First, a definition:
 or Rouche (pronounced "roosh") French sewing term which means to gather, ruffle or pleat in a repeating pattern to form ruffles, scallops or petals.  A strip of gathered, pleated or frilled lawn, lace, etc. used to decorate blouses, or worn around the neck like a small ruff as in the 16th century.

And for us today... it's just another cool gathering technique with a fancy name!

1 yard 5/8" ribbon, a 2-inch strip of fabric about 42" to 44" wide, needle and matching thread, marking instrument, a 3" circle of felt or felted wool, pin back or clip and a hot glue gun with glue sticks.

RUCHED RIBBON For measuring purposes, ruching will reduce the length of your ribbon by half at the least, and up to 3/4 at the most.  Calculate 2 x the desired length for a loose gather, or 3 to 4 x the length for a tight gather if desired.

With a removable marking pen or other instrument, transfer a zig-zag pattern on the right side of a piece of ribbon.  Click here >> PRINTABLE TEMPLATE

Ruching Template

In order to trace, I trimmed the outline of the corresponding size for my 5/8" ribbon. 


I actually used my Pounce chalk dust powder puff to mark mine.  It was a bit messy, but it saves time, and I just wiped off the table.

Thread a large-eye needle (crewel embroidery or milliner's, size 9 or 10) and knot the end.  Use strong, sturdy, thread, single- or double- threaded through the needle.  The length of thread to use is the length of your ribbon.

Beginning at one end of the ribbon, take a running stitch along the drawn pattern, using 1/8"+ stitches.  This can also be done on the machine, as long as the pattern is consistent.  By the way, the chalk dust stayed put long enough to stitch along the marked lines, then I brushed it off to continue.

Pull up the threads to gather to the desired length, and as the gathering thread is drawn up the ribbon will form scallops. Tight gathers are about 1/4 the length of the ribbon used.

That was a little tight for my taste, so I lengthened it to 18", 1/2 the length of the ribbon.  Smooth out the gathers to make scallops even, then knot the end and clip the thread. 
Apply where desired, stitching by hand or by machine. 

Next we'll use a 2" x about 40" strip of fabric and ruche it in the same manner as above, then swirl it around in a circle to form a ruched flower.
Prepare your strip by folding the raw outside edges to the center.  PRESS to form a 1" folded strip.

MARK using the corresponding size template.  This time, I used a Frixion iron-off pen to mark the zig-zags. 

Hand- or machine-stitch on the drawn lines to gather.  (Oops, should have pressed out the lines before I pulled up the threads to gather!  Do what I say, not what I do... lol!)

A 1" x 40" width of fabric should gather down to about 14" in length, the perfect size to form a spiral flower.  Start in the center, and swirl the ruching in concentric circles, wrapping around twice.  Tuck the edge under to secure.

If applying to a quilt or pillow, stitch directly to the fabric through the basting lines.  If you are making a stand-alone flower for a pin or headband, stitch or hot-glue to a 3" circle of fabric, felted wool or crinoline.  Add a cute button center and a pin-back or clip depending on how you'd like to use the flower.

Here's another option: Gathered Gros-Grain ribbon trim, available from Riley Blake Designs. Ask for it at your local quilt store.  The ribbon comes in several colors, and the work is already done for you!  Here are a couple of samples of how I've used this adorable trim:
RuchingPurse handle in this PJ Pillow (see TUTORIAL)
Inner trim on this "Hexagarden" Wall Hanging (see PATTERN

Now Ruche out and give Ruching a try!  You'll love it!

Next time we'll take a look at some simple Gingham Embroidery stitches... stay tuned for more great vintage sewing techniques to come!  

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