Updated at: 28-05-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

To ruffle, gather, or pleat is to use the French word ruching. Ruffles, petals, and scallops can be created by sewing ribbon or fabric together in a repeating pattern.

Traditional ruffling was employed in the embellishment of clothing, accessories, and textiles. It has recently become possible to manufacture ruching that is both exact and uniform in order to maintain the style current.

Ruching can be applied to a wide range of products, including bridal dresses, cushions, appliques, and shutters. Stitching and pulling together the fabric in order to get the desired result is known as ruching.

What Is Ruching?

An item’s texture and depth can be enhanced by using a manipulation technique called ruching. The gathered fabric is used to embellish the bodices, sleeves, shirts, and skirts. In contrast to the rest of the item, the pleated or ruffled pattern stands out.

4 Fashion Items That Feature Ruching

The fabric used for ruching can be utilized to add flair to a wide range of accessories and clothing, including

  1. The folded design of the swimsuits is really attractive. When worn with a swimsuit, the ruche reduces the circumference around the belly, bust, and/or waistline.
  2. It is possible to create the illusion of depth and dimension in a wedding dress by using ruching, whether it is on the bodice or the skirt. Maxi dresses and milkmaid gowns can both benefit from the ruche method’s slimming effects on the waistline and the shoulders. Learn more about the different dress silhouettes.
  3. Clothing with a V-neckline that allows you to extend your bust can also feature ruching.
  4. It is common to see Ruching motifs on winter hats or caps made of thinner fabrics, such as jerseys or linen, which are slouchy. To make hats appear less tight on the heads of individuals, ruching is used.

How To Sew Ruching

Ruching can be applied to a garment in a variety of ways. There will be particular instructions if you’re following a pattern. If, on the other hand, a particular photo with ruching appeals to you, you’ll have to choose your own version of that photo.

Pattern Alterations

The length of the ruched area must be increased if you need to make changes to your design. Ruching is incorporated into an everyday modern style with a ruched skirt on one side. It’s best to make the ruching pattern longer on that side. The pattern piece’s edge will gather more if it is symmetrical.

Ruching Methods

Gathering with the ruching can be accomplished in four different ways.

  1. Elastic ruching
  2. A step-by-step guide to creating ruching by gathering
  3. A tack is used to massage the cords.
  4. Pleated ruching

Method #1: Ruching With Elastic

elastic ruching is commonly used for gathering and stretching cloth at the neckline.

Why Use Elastic for Ruching?

When you need a little extra fullness around the neckline or in the breast, the elastic helps you get there. It’s possible that you have a lot of fullness and would like to give the dress a more upscale look. Also, it can be utilized as a piece of decoration, and is frequently employed in costume design.

Sewing Elastic for Ruching

The first step is to trim the elastic to the size you want for the final ruching.

Afterwards, sew each end to the cloth that will be stretched across the entire length of the project. In this case, clumping is more likely due to the fabric’s bigger diameter than the elastic. Ruching occurs as a result of the elastic stretching the material, which is yet pliable enough to allow it to be pulled.

Each end should then be pinned in place, ensuring a full length curl. Due to the fabric’s broader width than elastic material, the fabric will be gathered between the two endpoints. In ruching, the elastic causes the cloth to expand, but it is still pliable enough to be pulled over the body.

To keep the elastic in place, begin by carefully backstitching. Make sure to sew carefully until the elastic stretches up to the Ruched area, and then you’re done. In most cases, you’ll need to pull the elastic around the machine’s foot in both directions.

If you choose, you can either straight-stitch or weave zig-zags over the elastic. I prefer a tiny Z-shape, but you can experiment to see which one you love the most in terms of aesthetics.

Notice how my stitches skipped over the elastic’s middle portion. Using the stretch needle could have prevented this. Read about the numerous types of sewing needles. It’s important to avoid creating uneven thread lengths by pulling the elastic too tight when sewing over it.

To make it visible, flip the fabric over to the left side. Spectacularly collected Ruching!

Method #2: How To Sew Ruching With Gathering

Using the longest needle on your sewing machine, sew a gathering stitch across the top or middle of the strip.

How much control you want over your gatherings will determine how many people can attend. Lines can be stitched in up to three groups.

Ensure that you gather the ruched strip by pulling the cotton threads. The ruching strip should be placed over the region you’ve selected for the gathers, so check to make sure they’re aligned properly.

Ruched strips can be used to add flare or a ruffle to any portion of your garment.

Method #3: How To Sew Ruching With Cord

Sewing a casing through which cables or a fabric pull tie can be strung allows you to create ruchings as well.

The casing can either be placed on the outside of the garment to add a decorative element and a pop of color, or it can be placed on the inside to make it virtually undetectable.

Cut a 1 1/2-inch wide piece of fabric (4cm). A garment’s edge can be used as a reference point to determine the length. Allow the side and bottom seam allowances by adding 1 inch (25mm).

The rough edges of the strip should be applied to the other edge with a 1/4-inch (6mm) margin all around.

Turn the strip over and place it on top of the material. Depending on the look you’re going for, it can be sewn on the inside or outside of the fabric.

Leave one side of the strip unstitched while you work your way around it. Allow a millimeter (2cm) of open space on the closed end of the strip to be stitched.

Pin the end of your cord. Make a turn at the top and then continue down the opposite side. Getting to the top position will require some deft hand-eye coordination.

After pulling the cord to the appropriate length, the excess should be clipped. In order to keep it from sagging, you can either tie the ends together or sew a few stitches along the top.

Cord ruching in the bodice’s inner is shown here to create visual interest.

Method # 4: Ruching With Pleating

If you want to give your clothing a ruched effect, you can pleat the fabric to fit inside the bodice, on the sleeve, or wherever else you want to add some embellishment. The pleated ruching effect on bridal gowns and ball gowns is a stunning look. To learn the foundations of pleating, watch this video tutorial.

Using one inch of cloth to evaluate the weight of the fabric is the easiest way to decide if it’s suitable for the Ruched effect.

The History of Ruching

Like many other forms of art, ruches take a long time to complete, but they are becoming increasingly trendy in today’s trends. Ruching became a fashionable embellishment for women’s clothing in the late nineteenth century, including petticoats and caps. Many believe that ruching has been around for a long time, possibly as far back as the Middle Ages.

Modern Uses for Ruching

  • Ruching can be used to add aesthetic interest to a gown by gathering the fabric in specific areas of the pattern.
  • It is possible to employ ruffles on dress sleeves or bodices as well as waistbands and collars for decoration.
  • Many of today’s bridal gowns use gathered or ruffled fabric in this fashion.
  • Ruching can be worn in formal clothing, such as prom dresses and ball gowns, just like it was in the 18th century, and it can even be used to adorn a tie.
  • Ruching can also be found in interior design products such as pillows, or on the bottom of the Austrian blinds.

Any type of fabric, including ribbons, metallics, and even lacing, can be ruched. Keep in mind that the cloth must be at least a little longer than the specified length, as this method will shrink it.

It is common for modern seamstresses and tailors to design the zig-zag pattern using a plastic guide. Another option is to use a chalk-filled bag to make the markings. You can sew little running stitches by hand or with a sewing machine that uses automatic stitching. To stitch the fabric ribbon, the thread must be strong enough.

Free videos and lessons on how to structure can be found online, as well as publications on the subject.

How to Ruche a Flower

Beautiful appliqué flowers can be created by a seamstress using the methods outlined below.

  1. Using a pair of scissors, trim the ends of a piece of fabric till they meet at the back.
  2. Lines are drawn at a 90-degree angle on the front of the page, with equal spacing between each line.
  3. Stitching these lines will be done with a suitable thread in mind. The thread must be returned to the front after the stitcher reaches the end of the piece.
  4. After a few inches of stitching, the stitcher will begin to tie the ribbon or fabric into petals, as seen in the illustration.
  5. The petals are bent into a circular shape by using a second needle and thread and thread.
  6. The tail is tucked under and fixed at the very top of the petals.

What Is The Difference Between Ruching And Shirring?

Ruching, on the other hand, uses an elastic thread to hold rows of fabric together, while shirring creates rippled fabric that is spread throughout the garment. It is not like smocking, when the seamstress collects cloth by hand and then stitches it back down.

It’s another way to tell the two apart: Ruching gives a more full-bodied look. Shirring, on the other hand, allows the user to appear slimmer since it allows the fabric to stretch.

Ruching vs Gathering

To enhance volume, ruching involves gathering fabric into a tighter bundle; yet, the act of gathering might shrink the material’s size. Because ruches are almost always performed solely on one side, the other side appears fuller.

Another way to tell the difference between ruching and gathering is to look at how you go about doing it. Raising the threads of your bobbin with basting stitches can help you gather fabric, whereas ruching entails leaving the thread ends open and pulling them to compress the material.

Find out what is smocking and sewing, if you are looking to gather your fabric and give it flexibility.

How to Ruche Fabric

If you want to gather your cloth and give it pliability, learn about smocking and sewing.

  1. Make a note of where you want to add a ruche. When making a ruche, measure your cloth, and then draw a line around it.
  2. Plan out your ruches. Find out how far apart your ruching lines should be on your fabric strip before you begin sewing. The ruching grows in size in direct proportion to the distance between the lines.
  3. Create the stitches you need. Using a consistent stitch length while leaving the ends of your thread loose is suggested. For some, the sewing machine is a useful tool in this endeavor. Follow these step-by-step instructions to learn how to thread a sewing machine.
  4. Make certain to retie your strands. Gently pull the ends of the threads that are open to bring the fabric together after you’ve finished sewing. With each stitch, the fabric should gather into a ball.
  5. Put a pin in each end of your ruche. Pins are needed to keep the fabric scrunched together once you’ve done the ruching folds.
  6. The ruffle can now be stitched. Sew over the ruffled fabric with a narrower stitch. Backstitching is required both at the beginning and the end of the project. We are looking for a disheveled and folded aspect in the finished product. You may do this for any other clothing that needs it as well.

What Is the Difference Between Ruching and Shirring?

The difference between shirring and ruching can be summarized as follows: Using ruching, you can achieve an even distribution of fabric over a garment by giving it a rippling or folded appearance. Shirring is a technique in which elastic thread is used to tighten two or more rows of fabric together (not as smocking which employs a hand-embroidered stitch instead of elastic to create the same appearance). A shirred suit is the most elastic and form-fitting, whilst ruching creates a more voluminous and full appearance.

How to Ruche a Flower

This technique can be used by seamstresses to create beautiful applique flowers.

  • The edges of a piece of fabric should be aligned by folding it towards the backwards direction.
  • Afterwards, on the front of the page, equally spaced lines are drawn at a 90-degree angle.
  • The same thread is used to sew all of the lines. Once a stitcher reaches the end of their piece, they should make sure to weave the thread back to the front.
  • After a few inches of stitching, the stitcher will begin to tie the ribbon or fabric into petals, as seen in the illustration.
  • The petals are shaped into a circle using a second needle and thread.
  • The tail is tucked under and fixed at the very top of the petals.


Was this post helpful to you in any way? Sewing, as it turns out, is the definition of the ruching procedure. It’s a technique in which cloth is gathered to give the garment more volume and a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

A ruffle is neither shirred or smocked in the same way. Form-fitting looks are achieved by gathering and finishing the fabric with elastic. With our step-by-step tutorial, we hope you’ve gained a better understanding of Ruching. Have a question? Feel free to ask it in the comments section below.