How To Add Ruching To A Pattern

Many projects we complete as sewists need to be embellished. There are many ways we can embellish our sewing and ruching is one of them. Ruching fabric involves making folds and gathers and pleats as embellishments to patterns on fabrics and garments. 

You can add ruching to different parts of your garment. You can add it to the sleeves, waist, and button line. You can even add ruching to a pattern that you want to add to a fabric.

How To Add Ruching To A Pattern?

The first thing you need to do when adding ruching to a pattern is to decide how long you want the ruching to be. Then add a few inches to hold the ruching properly. Depending on the type of clothing or pattern you are ruching cut the extra length into the pattern. 

You can use elastic to ruche your pattern. So, cut a length of elastic equal to the length of the ruching you need on your pattern. Place it on the seams of the pattern and sew it on. Make sure to stretch the elastic as you sew. This will create a nice ruche on your pattern. 

Step 1. You need an elastic band, and thread that matches the fabric of the pattern that you want to ruche. Sewing with a sewing machine is easier and provides the best results. You also need the pattern that you are going to be ruching ready for. You could decide to make a pattern to fit on a garment or use a garment pattern.

Step 2. Decide how long you want your ruche to be. This will mostly depend on the part of the pattern that you want to add ruching to. You can determine the length of the ruching based on the length of the pattern. For example, you can ruche 5 inches of pants from the bottom or on the sleeve of your garment. 

Step 3. When you decide on how long you want your ruche to be, you will need to add this length to your pattern. So, if you have decided to have your ruche be 5 inches long, you will need to add 5 inches of fabric to your pattern. This means that your total ruched length will now be 10 inches. Your initial 5 inches and the additional fabric will all need to ruched for the best results. 

Step 4. Now add the additional length of fabric you need to your pattern. Cut your pattern open. Then add the extra fabric that you need to get the best ruching you can get. Make sure that you identify the best point at which to cut and add fabric to your pattern. This ensures that you don’t end up spoiling your pattern fabric.

You will end up with extra long parts of the garments whose length you will add. Also, make sure to hem your pattern once you have added the extra fabric.

Step 5. Cut the elastic band to the size you had decided that you need your ruching to be. If you decided that you want to ruche 5 inches of your pattern, measure 5 inches on your elastic band then add a 1-inch allowance. This means that you will use 6 inches of elastic for your ruche.

Step 6. Pin this piece of elastic onto the seams of your pattern. Make sure to get the middle of the part of the pattern that you want to ruche and fix your elastic band. Also, make sure that you fix your elastic band before you seal the seams of your pattern to sew it into the garment you need.

Step 7. Remember that your preferred ruche is just 5 inches but you added an extra 5-inch fabric to your pattern to make your ruche. Measure 10 inches from the hem that you have pinned your elastic band and place a pin to mark this point. This covers the extra fabric you added to the pattern. 

Step 8. Pull your elastic band and pin to the 10-inch mark. This is how long your ruche will be although you will be using a 6-inch elastic band. 

Step 9. You now need to sew this elastic band onto the fabric. As you sew, make sure that you stretch your elastic band to get the expected results. 

Bring the elastic band to your sewing machine and align it with the sewing machine needle. You will use a zig-zag stitch to sew. Set your stitch length and width to about slightly shorter than normal. Start sewing at the edge of your elastic and only start pulling once your elastic band is behind the presser foot. Then sew to the other end of the elastic band pinned on the pattern. 

It is much easier if you pin the middle of the elastic band onto the fabric. Thus, as you sew, you can pull from the start to the middle. When you get to the middle, you can now pull from one end to the other. 

While sewing your elastic band, try to hold it from the back as you sew and pull from the front. This helps to keep it in place as you sew. At the end of the elastic band, make sure to sew a firm backstitch to hold it in place. 

Step 10. If you haven’t worked with elastic before, you may find this a challenging step in your ruching journey. Cut a strip of similar fabric and elastic and use it to test how to sew this ruche. You don’t want to damage your pattern with sewing errors. Practice how to pull the elastic band as you sew. 

Step 11. Now, you can complete your pattern into a garment. When you are done, you will see your ruche in the chosen location of your garment. If your pattern was for pants or sleeves you will observe that they are longer due to the additional fabric. However, your ruching will gather some of the fabric around the elastic to get it to about a normal fabric length. 

You can now wear your garment and flaunt your ruche pattern.

What Is The Difference Between Shirring And Ruching?

Ruching is when strips of fabric are gathered so that they form pleats over each other to create a wave effect on your garment. It is used to create a 3D look for the garment that one wears. It embellishes and brings out the contours and shape of the garment elegantly. Ruching causes a garment to gain volume. 

You will often see ruching in party and wedding gowns. It is used to make the gowns look more full. 

Shirring is when two or more rows of fabric are gathered and brought together. Shirring as opposed to ruching is a technique used to make the garment less voluminous. 

Shirring mostly uses elastic thread. This thread is used as a bobbin thread which then gathers the fabric where it is sewn to create the shirring effect. Shirring often creates a band around the waist and sleeves to create a more fitting garment. 

How To Ruche Fabric?

You can ruche garment patterns and also you can ruche fabrics. Ruching fabrics draws attention to various parts of your garment with pleats and ruffles. To ruche a fabric, you will start by marking the area that you want to ruche. Measure your fabric and then get the area of the fabric that you want to ruche. 

The next step involves drawing your ruche lines. The farther apart they are the fuller your ruche. This is one thing you should consider when drawing your ruche lines. A fuller ruche makes your garment more visible and appealing. Ruche lines are the lines that you will follow to make your ruching stitches. 

When you have properly marked your ruche lines, bring your fabric to the sewing machine. Sew along the marked lines one at a time. To ruche, you need to use a long straight stitch on your sewing machine. Leave the ends of the threads hanging. 

When you have finished sewing on all your ruche lines, bring the fabric from the sewing machine and place it on a flat surface. Start pulling the hanging threads on the ends of the ruche lines. Pull the threads gently. This causes the part of the fabric along the thread to gather or fold over each other. Pull each of the ruche lines one at a time to create the best ruching effect. 

When the ruche effect can be seen on your fabric, you will need to pin the folds or pleats in place. This ensures that your ruched fabric stays together before you can now stitch it in place permanently. 

Bring your ruched garment to the sewing machine to stitch the ruche onto the fabric. Use small stitches and backstitches to hold the ruffles of the ruche in place. Leading to a ripple-like look on the fabric.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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