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Unfinished ruffled skirt

Finish off ruffled garments like a pro

We simply love the current trend for ruffled dresses and skirts.

The best thing is that they are super easy to sew using the gathering foot on your overlocker.

But how do you finish off those side seams so that they’re lying flat and not bunching up all over the place? Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips for you.

If you want to make your own ruffled skirt, head over to our free project here.

Perfect side seam finishing

Firstly, roughly trim off your ruffled pieces. Just lay your pattern pieces on the table, flattening out the different ruffled pieces. Trim the sections so you get a straight line. You can use a ruler to help you.

Tip: the cut edges should be at right angles with your horizontal seams.
Hands with ruler and pencil on fabric and white background

Method 1 – continuous side seam

Unpick the last 1.5cm of the end of each ruffled seam, releasing any gathers/ruffles. Lay the two layers of your fabric on top of each other – this will be the bottom piece of your fabric, and the top ‘pre-ruffled’ part (that you have just ‘unruffled’). There should now be no ruffles on this top part.

Sew the two layers together with a straight stitch on your sewing machine.

Trim the excess off the top piece of fabric, as it will now overhang the bottom piece.

This will give you a 1.5cm start and end to each seam that is flat. You can now sew the side seam without catching ruffles in it, which would cause bunching.

Tip: take care to align your horizontal seams when sewing the side seam.
Hand holding pink gathered fabric on white background
Overlocker sewing ruffled fabric on white background

Method 2 – side seam in each section

Unpick the first and last 3cm of each seam.

Hand holding pink gathered fabric and unpicking tool on white background

Sew the ends of each band together and finish the seams.

Place the ruffled edge on the straight edge, pin the ruffles in place and sew on your sewing machine. A stylus is a great tool to help you push the gathers along.

Finish this part of the seam.
With this method it is easier to get the horizontal seams to match.

Pink gathered fabric sewn on sewing machine

Final check for perfect finishes

Do a final check – because of the way the fabric is fed separately into the ruffler foot, it is easy to get the alignment a little less than perfect in places, resulting in gaps. To fix these, unpick a few stitches on both sides of the gap, align and resew on your sewing machine or with hand stitches if it’s fiddly. Finish with a few zig-zag stitches.

Pink ruffled fabric with hole
Have you tried to make ruffles on your overlocker yet? We’ve got a great article to get you started, read it here.

What will you sew that has gathered ruffles on?

We can’t wait to see what you make! Remember to tag in Brother on Instagram and Facebook so we can share your makes and inspire others.

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