Thursday, October 6, 2011

~~~~~~GATHERING FABRIC RUFFLES~~~~~~~ How To Make Them Perfect


For many years I've received emails about RUFFLING FABRIC and today I'm going to TRY and show you how I get the ruffles on some of the things I make to come out looking consistent.

I've tried to take some good pictures for you but because my RUFFLER MACHINE is in a closet it was hard to get the lighting right!  At least this will give you all a good idea of what I use in case you want to try and hunt down one for yourself!

My RUFFLER is a JOHNSON RUFFLER  I purchased mine about eight years ago (I think!) and I've loved it ever since!  I first saw one just like in a local sewing shoppe but they wanted $675 for it and I couldn't swing that much money at the time.
(Feeding Fabric Thru)

My Mr. AGPMan found a brand new one on-line from the original manufacturer for what I remember to be about $250 plus $50 shipping...

Now...before finding this machine I gathered ruffles using an attachment.  It was an old vintage beauty I just loved and I nearly wore it out!  The "teeth" were sharped on it many times until one day it just disappeared.  I honestly believe I tossed it out by mistake with a bunch of scrap fabrics! :(  I bought a new one sometime later but it never did work as well as the antique singer I lost!
The old gentleman my hubby spoke to regarding purchasing the JOHNSON RUFFLER (JR) designed the machine years ago and he told him then he only had a couple left in stock.  He said he was getting old and was retiring from the biz.
(Double Layer)

You can still find the
JR in shoppes and online and the prices vary from about $295-$600 so your really need to look around if you are serious about buying one!  Unless someone has picked up the manufacturing of them then the stock will be limited to what was produced int he past!
(Single Layer)

Generally I ruffle two layers at a time.  Most all the pillows I make have two thicknesses.  I cut strips of fabric, sew the raw ends together, press seams open, press strips in half (lengthwise) and then feed them through the RUFFLER at about a 2 1/2 times to 1 ratio.

The Sachet Pillow you see above includes the pink ruffle you see in the photos.

This one was made using the pink rose cotton above only into double layers!

I looked on eBay for you and at this time there aren't any Johnson Rufflers being offered.  Here is one that sold in August for $162.50.  Keep looking because they do show up from time to time!  There are a couple of other vintage ruffler machines listed tho so you might want to do a search on them if you feel desperate!  (Buying old machinery personally makes me NERVOUS!)

And there you have it!  Don't be afraid to jump in and purchase a Ruffler Machine if you do a lot of sewing.  Buying one changed my life and saves me hours and hours in my studio!!!

Hope you have an awesome day!

Love to you...


Yasmin Smith said...

Nice tutoral on making ruffles with a ruffling machine...I didn't
know they had such a thing! It's been so long since I was a serious sewer that I used to do mine on a plain old Sears sewing machine..I got a new one that had double stitching back in 1965 and I thought it was wonderful
compared to my old 1955 machine!!
How times and technalogy have changed! (It still looks like a lot of work to me!!)LOL
The pink pillow you showed the ruffles on is very pretty, by the way!
I hope you are having a good week and that your weekend will be filled with junkin' and slummin'!!
Big fall hugs, Francy

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

Perfect! So that is the trick! I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have made ruffles by hand and they just don't look as good as yours!


Mary Ann said...

You can get information on the Johnson Ruffler from their website!

The machine is really nice looking Rebecca. So are the beautiful pollows!!

Donna said...

I have the Johnson Ruffler too! I bought mine back in the 1980's when the ruffled curtains were so popular. It has paid for itself many times over. I can't even remember how much I paid for it. I hadn't used it for years until recently and got it out to make ruffles for a pillow. I had forgotten how beautifully it works. It sits in my sewing room now.
Your pillows are gorgous!

Rebecca Nelson said...

Mary Ann...this is the same link I provided at the top but they are out of stock at present. I don't think they are actually manufacturing them any longer...but they are refurbishing them if I understand right. Would be good to know for parts! xoR

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

I learned how to sew on an old treadle singer sewin' machine!

Oh sweetie those little scrumptious pillows are just darlin'!!! "Sew" sweet!

I used to make my daughter, The Social Butterfly, dresses back in the day and honey...I've ruffled!!!

God bless ya and have an incredible day!!! :o)

Rebecca Nelson said...


Hi Rebecca-

I just read your blog on the Johnson Ruffler and wanted to pass this info on to you.

I also have a Johnson Ruffler and recently needed to have a part replaced on it. I took it to my local sewing machine dealer (I've been doing business with him for years) and he said after a lengthy search he could not find the replacement part. Like you, I love my ruffler and cannot be without it. So-----I did my own internet search and found out that the rufflers are still being manufactured by the original inventor and company. I emailed Mr. Johnson and told him about the part I needed and asked if he could help me out. He replied the same day I wrote to him and offered to send the part to me before I even paid for it and also offered instructions on how to replace it. I wrote back, told him I would gladly pay up front and sent him my address. Three days later I received the part in the mail, with instructions on how to replace it and info on where to send payment! He was extremely nice and so very helpful. If you ever need a replacement part don't hesitate to ask this man for help. Also, if any of your followers are interested in purchasing a machine and they cannot find one I'm sure if they contact him he will help them out. I have given contact information below:

Archie Johnson & Sons
2323 Lake Wheeler Road.
Raleigh, NC 27603

Kim B said...

Now that as a big secret to share and it is so much appreciated. I had no idea to go about them but love the way yours turn out. Dont know if there is a ruffler machine in my future; I guess only time will tell. Have a lovely evening. Hugs, Kim

Brenda ~ The Heminger Farmhouse said...

Hi Rebecca :) That ruffler machine is amazing! I so need one of those ~ using a gathering foot on my Singer Basic is nice, but only works well on certain weight fabrics :( So I'm limited on what fabrics I can use to create ruffles with. ~ I received my beautiful Pocket Sachet today, and just LOVE it!! I've been wanting to purchase one of these from you for a while, but they sell out so quick, so I was thrilled to see this one was available, and of course, snatched it up, lol :)

Spent some time today with my daughter and grandson today...he's getting so much bigger, and I just love to hold him close :) Such a sweet & precious little boy!

Have a wonderful upcoming week sweet friend ~ warmest hugs, Brenda

Julie Marie said...

Oooh Rebecca, those ruffles are so beautiful, and I am sooo happy I own several of your gorgeous pillows with those famous ruffles!... xoxo Julie Marie

Jocelyn said...

Wow! I've never seen a Ruffler machine before. What a jewel. Thanks for sharing how you make the beautiful ruffles.

The Polka Dot Closet said...

I have a ruffle foot...AND LOVE IT, yes it changed the way I craft! I had no idea that there is whole sewing machine that does ruffles and nothing but ruffles!


Deanna said...

beautiful ruffles!
They really add a great deal to items.
Like 'em!

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Rebecca,

No wonder I was in such AWE over the Christmas pillow that I won from your GIVEAWAY! It looked so perfect and I could not figure out how in the world you would be able to do such evenly and perfect ruffling...
Smart lady you are; in many ways and for sure this will be great info for a lot of people.
Love to you,


NanaDiana said...

I remember seeing one of those years ago somewhere. I am so glad you found one because I know what a time saver it must be. You do such a beatiful job, Rebecca. I think God smiles on you quite often just because of the dear person you are. xo Diana

Theresa said...

Oh I wish I could make pretties like you! Gorgeous ruffles! Have a blessed day dear Rebecca, HUGS!

Unknown said...

QUESTION: Maybe you covered this but the whole ruffler thing is a big mystery to me. I bought a ruffler foot attachment for my machine and still have not use it. How much material do you use? Also, my 'ruffler' works in such a way that you can ruffle the fabric as you are sewing onto the piece where you want it ( for example you could sew it right to the end of a skirt or curtain) but how much fabric to use for the ruffle? Is that the 2/1 ratio you mentioned? Two yards of ruffle per 1 yard of regular non-ruffled fabric? Oi!

Unknown said...

ALSO...I bought pillow forms to insert into my fabric. Must I hand sew the closing seam? Is there a machine trick? Pester, pester.

Ana said...

Oh Rebecca,
I still make my ruffles the old, old fashion two straight stiches on the widest setting and then pull to ruffle. Yikes! I can't even begin to tell you how many times the string breaks and I have to start all over again. Your post made me remember a little attachment for ruffles that my grandmother gave to me along with her vintage Singer...And can you believe I have never, ever tried it?! Guess what I'm tring next? :-) Your pillows are absolutely beautiful. Have a wonderful weekend my sweet friend.

Hugs and Kisses,

Unknown said...

Thank you for the info and good advice, I will ruffle PRIOR to attaching! :)

Anonymous said...

Every now and then you can find on craigslist some of the most unique machines. I know, I've purchases some. BUT, NEVER a ruffler. I have an attachment ruffler that I am very pleased with but when it wears down, Lord knows what I'll do as I'm not the type of creature who takes to new things well. I shiver at the thought of her wearing out. I don't always ruffle my pillows but when I do & "IT" happens, oh the words that come from my mouth. I KNOW you know what I mean. That's why YOU have a ruffler right? *wink* I would love to find one with a reasonable price attached. I'm looking, always looking. No luck yet. I did find a dinosaur of a machine. Used in a sweat shop in Japan in the 50's. It is my bread and butter machine. It goes forward and backwards but goes through 8 layers of denim. She was a good find! Hugs. tammy

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Good morning Rebecca.....

Thanks for the scoop.... I'd love to have a handy, dandy ruffler too, but looks like I'll be using my little attachment for the time being. Even that was nearly a hundred dollars! YIKES! Isn't that ridiculous? I can't imagine why feet and attachments are so expensive. Usually about 35-45 dollars for a FOOT? Hmmmm..... as though they don't make enough money on the machines?

Have an awesome weekend...


Hobby Musician Keyboard said...

wow, Rebecca, you have a Wonderfully Blog with lovely works!! How creative and so beautifully done.I love your art and creative mind! I'll be watching this blog closely, thank you for giving us so much of your time and mind. Many thanks !!
Please take a look on my Blogspot.
Hugs from Marina xxx

bijja said...

Wow! Nice tutorial about making ruffles.

jasmoonbutterfly said...

Thank you lovely tutorial x

Sew Honey said...

Hi. Glad I found your tutorial. I recently acquired a verrrry old JR. can you tell me if it can do two fabric piecies at a time but only ruffle the top layer. also I am still trying to figure out how to gauge the ruffle size using the knob. How to a get 2/3rds? thanks for your help.

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