How to Ruche or Gather with Elastic – DIY Sewing Technique Tutorial

This technique is super simple and can be used so many ways!

What is ruching? Well, it’s a fancy word for a fancy way of gathering fabric.

dress by SmarmyClothes.com

You’ll need some elastic- 3/8″ wide or less is best, and a scrap of fabric (let’s just practice for now!).

Difficulty:

02modeasy

Step 1

Here are the two basic rules of ruching: Your elastic should be the length you’d like the finished product to be. The fabric you are going to ruche should be significantly longer than your desired finished length.

For this example, our desired length is 7″, so we’ve cut a piece of elastic that is 7″ long. The fabric has been cut to 12″.

NOTE: Make sure your elastic can stretch the entire length of the fabric you are ruching. Duh, I know.

Step 1

Step 1

Step 2

Secure the end of the elastic to the edge of the fabric with some stitches.

Step 2

Step 2


Step 3

Set the machine to a zig-zag stitch. The longer you set the stitch, the more fabric will be gathered with each stitch.

I like to keep things pretty long, myself.

Step 3

Step 3

Step 4

Sew on down that piece of elastic, stretching on each end of the elastic as you sew.

It takes some practice to be able to stretch the elastic and guide the fabric at the same time, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually. Pin the crap out of it, if you want. I don’t, because I’m a rebel.

Step 4

Step 4

Step 5

When you get to the other edge of the fabric, secure the end of the elastic with backstitching.

Step 5

Step 5

Step 6

If you turn the fabric over, it should look like this now, all ruffly and excellent. Ppretty easy huh?

Step 6

Step 6

Step 7

And guess what? Now it should be just about 7 inches long!

Step 7

Step 7

Step 8

You can stretch it out to its original length and see all of your pretty zig-zag stitches!

Step 8

Step 8


About

My name is Alexis. I have a craft addiction. This is my story. also check out: www.smarmyclothes.com (my clothes) www.whatthecraft.com (my tutorials)

Posted in Cool Tutorials, My Tutorials Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
13 comments on “How to Ruche or Gather with Elastic – DIY Sewing Technique Tutorial
  1. Angela says:

    What sewing machine is that?

    • Lex says:

      It’s a Singer 1120. I no longer use it as it’s a complete piece of garbage. I do not recommend it under any circumstance. 🙂

  2. YOU TOTALLY ROCK! Im a rebel as well and I cant wait to try this technique out – ive done it the old fashioned way witht he template and hand stitching SO Im so excited to get off work so I can head to the studio! YIPPEE!!!!

  3. Lisa Parker says:

    thanks for the easy-to-follow tute! i’ve been wanting to try ruching, and you took the intimidation factor out of it. : )

  4. Bobbie says:

    Yippee! This works! Can you show us how to do smocking using elastic? I have an off the rack dress I want to make a pattern from, adding my own ideas of course so I’m not stealing another designer’s work. Smocking is an important feature and I’m trying to figure out a good way to get the look without all the work. No, I’m not lazy, really! I’d rather spend time selecting fabrics and designing, than on construction.

  5. Susan says:

    This is awesome.. all my trashy ‘beater’ tank tops are cute now!

  6. April says:

    OMG I am sooooooooo grateful for this website. I’m an aspiring designer but Im still learning how to sew while juggling school, work, and 2 sick parents so its hard for me to sit down and learn by pure trial-and-error. Im working on a plus size label and you have tutorials for the exact details that i just can’t seem to figure out on my own. Thank you soooooooooooooooo much for posting these fabulous tutorials

  7. Sara says:

    On the dress in the beginning, did you ruch while it was still in pieces, or after you put most of it together?

    • Lex says:

      You really could do either, assuming the ruching is down the center of a piece like that. There’s also ruching at the sides of the dress, right on the seam. That had to be done after assembly, of course.

      Just make sure to account for the extra material so you don’t wind up with something too short. 😉

  8. Eva Montelongo says:

    Great tuitorial! I’ve been trying to come up with my own pattern to make a Belle (Beauty & the Beast) dress. I haven’t been able to find a pattern because Simplicity discontinued it. Can’t imagine why they did that because it’s a very popular character. I’ve searched everywhere for the pattern. I’m not going to pay over $50 for the pattern on eBay the few times it pops up. Butterick has one that’s a little close to it, but it’s generic looking. Also, really like the ruch on the skirt.
    I’ll try to post a pic after it’s done if it turns out the way I’d like.
    Thanks again,
    Eva

  9. Tabitha says:

    THANK YOU! I have been such a stooge with elastic and could never get things to work right. Longer stitch and more stretched out elastic. Thanks so much for the explanations and pictures. I finally get it.

  10. Voxy says:

    Thank you for the SUPER EASY tutorial! Got it on the first try 🙂

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