Monday, July 9, 2007

How I Ruch........
I've promised to show how I do my ruching. I started to gather my thoughts and jot down my steps today. This is going to be much more difficult than I thought. Sometimes I doubt whether my words will convey the proper action that needs to be done. I'm going to give it a try and I did take some pictures. Please understand that I am no expert photographer. I had to take these holding the camera in my right hand and my sewing and tools in my left hand. I am right handed, so this was a real trip. Glad no one was looking in my kitchen window as they would have thought I was crazy!! it goes.
1. I cut a strip 1" wide that is the width of the fabric.
2. I press the strip in half matching the cut edges and having the wrong sides together. (Hint: when pressed, the strip should be 1/2" by the width of fabric). In the photo, I have opened the folded strip and you are looking at the wrong side of the fabric.

3. I then open the pressed strip and fold so the 2 cut edges meet right over the fold. Again, I want the right sides out on this and when I press this it will look like single fold bias tape. I'm starting that process here.

Note: Some people like to use a wider strip and then fold it in thirds. I do not do mine that way as I do not like the extra thickness of fabric that you get with that method. You will have to decide what works best for your project.

Now it's time to mark the strip with guidelines for stitching. Things I use are a mechanical pencil and ruler. A sandpaper board will be helpful when drawing the guidelines. If you are only doing a few pieces of ruching, you can mark them using only the ruler and pencil, but there are tools to make the marking easier. Read all the way through this section to see both methods that I have used to mark my strips.
1. I lay the strip on the sandpaper board so that the side with two raw edges meeting in the face up. Then I position the ruler so that the end of the ruler is even with one end of the strip. I put a pencil mark right on the fold of the fabric every 1 inch down the length of the strip.

2. I move the ruler to the other side of the strip and position the ruler so that the 1/2 inch mark on the ruler is now even with the end of the strip. Again put a pencil mark right on the fold of the fabric at the 1 inch mark on the ruler and every inch down the length of the strip.

3. Using the ruler and pencil, I lightly join the dots. Your lines will look like a zigzag down the length of the strip as in this photo.

If you are going to be doing a lot of ruching, there are templates available that make marking the stitching lines very quick and easy. There are several available and you can find them on line. I did buy a marking template because my applique quilt has lots of ruching, and it has made the marking so much easier for me. Mine is from Anita Shackelford, and she sells them on her website. Here's a picture of how I mark mine.
Now, with my strip all marked, I'm ready to stitch. Normally I would use a thread that matches the fabric, but so you can see it, I'm going to use red thread. I use a double thread because there is nothing more frustrating than having the thread break when you begin to gather the strip. I put a knot in my thread, start at the end, and do small running stitches. I like to make sure one of the stitches is across the area where the two raw edges meet in the center. This helps to control the raw edges when you start to gather. I hope you can see that in the photo as it is a little blurry.
Then I pull the needle on through, loop the thread over the edge and come up from the underside with the needle. Continue to stitch down the next line with small running stitches. Here's a sample so you get an idea of what the stitching begins to look like.
I do a few of these zigzags...then I gather them as it is difficult to gather if you sew all of the zigzags at once. Here's one with a little of the gathering done.
I continue stitching and gathering until I have completely gathered my strip of fabric. I'll work on finishing my stitching tonight and before the end of the week, I will try to show how I form the strip into a flower.

This is just my way of doing my ruching. It is a combination of things I have learned from many different people and books. I took everything I have seen and read and came up with what worked for me. I can't say that it is wrong or's just my way.

Please be patient with me for my next post. Packers are coming tomorrow to pack up the belongings of my 2 kids who have just moved to the east coast to start new jobs after graduating. My posting will be dependent upon how quickly and smoothly that goes. It will be a sad day at my house.

By the title is strange because I just typed it in using bold letters because Blogger would not let me put a title in the title box!


Pieces From Me said...

Lots of people are having that problem with blogger not letting them put a title. Your ruching tutorial was very clear and easy to follow. I am happy to say that 50% of the fear is gone. The other 50% is about forming and attaching the flower. I hope you can take care of that fear too! I will be thinking good thoughts for you tomorrow as your childrens things are moved. What will you do with the room? Do something wonderful!!

Erin said...

Thank you for the tutorial, I am making a quilt which calls for this technique and the instructions were so confusing and pretty much assumed I had done it before. Your blog came up when I googled ruching and your directions were so clear. Since I like to see things to learn them, the pictures were invaluable!

The most helpful thing I can say about kids going off on their own is: SKYPE!!!!!! I don't know where I would be without it since my daughter is far from home going to college in Illinois.

Thank you again,

Erin from Westlake Village, CA