How to Make a Ruffle Zig Zag Style

Before we moved and my oldest was in school, I would have time to catch some of the craft shows that PBS offers every now and then. One day I was watching a quilting show and found out about a way to ruffle I had never seen before. The lady said this is her most favorite way to do ruffles, and I have to say, I agree. Although I do think a ruffler foot does the best and easiest job of it all, but if you don’t have that this is a good way. It just might not be a good option if you are putting the ruffle right on top of the fabric, as the zig zag stitch wouldn’t look so pretty (unless you picked it out afterwards…too much time for me though!).


You start by pulling the top thread out and making it a few inches longer than piece of fabric that you are going to ruffle.


Just hold your fabric in front of machine as an easy length guide.


Next, put the long thread over to the side with the bobbin thread and sew just 1-2 straight stitches.


Now change your stitch over to a zig zag stitch.


Put your needle in the down position (so it’s through the fabric) and put the sewing foot up. Pull the long top thread over the piece of fabric so it’s on the edge where you are going to ruffle.


Put the foot back down and hold the top thread in place and begin to zig zag stitch overtop of it.


Once you get to the end, cut your sewing thread and then just pull on the piece of thread you zig zag stitched over.


You can pull it as tight as you need to. I liked how much more secure this way was. I have broken threads many times with the “make a long straight stitch line and pull on the bobbin thread” ruffling method. But you don’t have to worry about that this way.
Give it a try next time you need to ruffle and see if you like it or not :)

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  1. says

    Great tip. I use a similar method but instead of regular thread I zig-zag over a piece of thin twine, crochet yarn (the kind for tablecloths) or dental floss. I like to use something thicker so I don’t have to worry about breaking when I pull on it.

  2. says

    Great tutorial! I was trying to “PIN” it for later but it would not allow me to choose any of the pictures from the tutorial. Would love to know if this is an error or if you prefer your things not to be shared on pinterest. Thanks for the tip i am super new to sewing and this seems really easy.

    • says

      Hi Kristy :) It must just be an error, I’m all for people pinning my stuff! Maybe try again later. That seems to work for others who have had the problem. I know I’ve had to do that before as well.

    • says

      I just had the same problem, and it made me sad. This is GENIUS! I’m excited to try it the next time I’m in need of a ruffle. Thank you for sharing. Here’s hoping the “pin” feature works soon. I’m horible at keeping track of where I found things otherwise.

    • says

      I’m still having the problem of pinning. It won’t let me pin any of the pics for the tutorial, only the other pics on the site :(

    • says

      Okay, so this is what I did to help :) It was doing the same thing for me except I got it to let me pin one of the pics. So, if you go to my pinterest page you can repin it :) I have no idea why it’s doing that. I didn’t do anything different? Strange…..

  3. says

    um, wow. I am totally in the middle of a project that involves gathering and my least favorite sewing thing is “evenly distributing gathers”, so I decided to take an internet break and this popped up! You have amazing timing :) My favorite way to gather was on my old machine with the high tension, high stitch length method, but my new bernina is so nice that it doesn’t let you make this kind of “mistake” even if you’re trying! My stitches are barely gathered at all even with the tension all the way on 10! Need to plug in my crappy machine just for ruffles :)

  4. says

    I was taught this in my 9th grade sewing class tons of years ago…lol…almost alwayz breaks…im gonna try the yarn or floss…

  5. says

    Oh you’re just precious! I’m still pretty new with sewing, and I tell you, I’ve read SO many blasted tutorials on how to ruffle and come out with the same results you mentioned — broken thread everywhere! I’ve been on the hunt for a good informative article on how to ruffle nicely for months now! I’m so thankful for this post you made. :) Another huge problem I would have with ruffling my fabric is I’d end up making a skirt (doubling the width of my size so it’d have room for ruffle) and I guess I would pull the thread too much and make the darn skirt too small to fit! Ahhh! How frustrating.

    Thank you a million times for this! :)

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