Yes. There are shirring/gathering feet available for most machines,
either 'own brand' or generic, and there are gathering feet available
for most sergers. There are also rufflers available for most sewing
machines. These make small tucks or pleats at regular intervals you set
on the foot.
Depends on how much gather you want. On a serger, try setting the differential
feed all the way to "gather" and see if that's enough for you. If not,
it's only a couple minutes work to run a tapestry needle threaded with
something strongish through the serger stitches and gather it a bit more.
On a sewing machine, try just setting it for a long, straight stitch.
Now park your left thumb firmly behind the presser foot and start stitching,
letting the fabric pile up against your thumb. When it gets too thick,
let loose, park your thumb again and continue. (This is called "crimping"
or "ease plus stitching" and is a handy way to prepare a set-in sleeve cap,
among other uses.)
If you don't mind a little thread pulling, and your machine will take a
double needle, thread up for a double needle straight stitch. Lay a
strong thread under the center of the presser foot, back to front of the
machine, and lay the fabric over the top. Stitch, keeping the strong thread
centered. You'll get two lines of straight stitching on top, zigzag on
the back, and the stronger thread under the zigzag stitches. Pull it to
Or you can zigzag over a strong thread or
cord (a multi-hole cord foot makes this very easy).
Pull the cord to gather.
Or you can straight stitch with a long stitch length and elastic thread
wound on the bobbin by hand.
Me, if it'll possibly work for my project, I'll use either the serger
differential or crimping -- mostly depending on what machine I've got in
front of me.
There are also rufflers and gathering feet available -- have never felt
the need to own either.
They carry several different kinds of
specialty feet. They usually will say they are for high, low, or Singer
slant shanks. You just have to know which kind your machine is. (they have
pictures of each kind.) Usually, you can get them made for your machine
from a dealer that sells that brand. So it's whatever you care to do. I
have some generic feet for my Singer. They all worked fine. But for my
Viking, I found it better to get the ones made by Viking. Seems to like
them better. (it didn't much care for the generic invisible zipper foot
There are also rufflers available for most sewing
Hmm, that goes down as one of my 'back of the kitchen cupboard' buys, like
the mandolin (I much prefer my super sharp knives), and the gas-pressured
cream dispenser (fine until you got towards the end of the cream, when it
squirted out all in all directions)......
I tried the ruffler several times, using a variety of materials, fiddling
with all the adjustments, but it just didn't work successfully. The ruffles
always come out very unevenly spaced.
Any other nominations for BotKC gadgets?
MY DH was a gadget freak, he gave it to me several years ago. I
found it somewhat useful for steaming asparagus, but I use a pot
and the stove for steaming rice, works just fine. And it doesn't
have all the fiddly bits to be cleaned up after....
My DD now owns the "rice steamer". And I gave the "Super Dooper
Electric Meat Slicer" to the Goodwill. Along with the "Fry
This is funny. I have had nothing but success with my old Singer
rufflers - it's almost like watching a magician. Really amazing. I
also have a rice cooker that I like very much. I have had another that
didn't do such a good job. I got the rice cooker before I got my Anolon
cookware, though, and it was such a treat to have the rice come out
right every time. With the Anolon stuff, it does, too, but it has no
A favorite, currently, is another Aroma product (the people who made the
rice cooker I like) - it's their "Super Pot"
Between that and my new Cuisinart toaster/convection oven,
I hardly need the stove anymore.
Worst buy? Some years ago I got a Rival "Cut Above" which is a sort of
blender-mixer that attached to the bottom of the upper cabinet and had
containers that fit. It rattled the whole kitchen. I've also got an
unused, still in the box, Melitta coffee roaster. Yeah. I'm really
gonna do that when my grocery has Peet's and Starbucks on the shelf.
For the record, I do not own or work for Singer, Aroma or Cuisinart, nor
am I a stockholder in any of those companies.
Uh, duh, and last night I also forgot to mention the sort of ruffles that
don't need gathering, semi-circular. These are segments of a circle,
sewn together. Because the outside edge is larger than the inside,
you get fullness without any bulk where the ruffle joins the
main body of the garment.
They do look different and hang differently from gathered-on-the-straight-
Some photos of some used on sleeves:
on a skirt:
a diagram comparing a circular ruffle vs. a gathered one on a skirt, with instructions:
also look interesting when attached vertically to something like a shirt front -- I think more graceful than the usual shirt ruffle.
If you're interesting in this sort of thing, I highly recommend Colette
Wolff's book, Art of Fabric Manipulation... often found in libraries.
I believe it's OP at present, alas. Good stuff.
You can also adjust the tension so the cloth will gather as you sew. You
can do this with both the SM and the serger. Just practice first with
Barbara in Central FL
Land of the Killer tornadoes
Dana, you will get the best results with a ruffler foot, imho. They do
look intimidating at first, but if you set yourself up with a metre of
scrap fabric and test, test and test again, you will become more
familiar with the ruffler.
Make sure you keep it lightly oiled on the moving parts, because if
these become dry the ruffles/pleats will become uneven. There is lots
of adjustment with this foot, as it actions on the first, sixth and
twelfth stitch, so by selecting a longer stitch you get tight pleats or
more open ones.
I prefer to use the ruffler foot than drawing up threads or adjusting
tensions as I find these don't get the same effect and definitely not as
even. Actually I have three ruffler feet....one for each machine and
one spare because the small spring steel part that activates the cam has
broken a couple of times and as usual, it's been when I've had to meet a
Hope this helps?
>>>>Is there a way to gather for a ruffle using machine or serger without
>>>>pulling the thread?
>>>Yes, if you buy a gathering foot or a ruffler foot.
>>>Olwyn Mary in New Orleans.
>>Are they generic or do I need to buy one for my machine specifically? >> >>Dana :)
> Try looking at
They carry several different kinds of
> specialty feet. They usually will say they are for high, low, or Singer
> slant shanks. You just have to know which kind your machine is. (they have
> pictures of each kind.) Usually, you can get them made for your machine
> from a dealer that sells that brand. So it's whatever you care to do. I
> have some generic feet for my Singer. They all worked fine. But for my
> Viking, I found it better to get the ones made by Viking. Seems to like
> them better. (it didn't much care for the generic invisible zipper foot
> for example.)
> Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of time and just annoys the > pig.
We-ell, our rice steamer is a part of the steamer, and we'd not be without
the steamer for vegetables. Used the rice cooker bit once, just to see if
it cooked the rice any differently, but it's saucepan for us for rice....
The brand that is best for your machine is the one made by the same
company for that machine: that way the 'footprint' of the machine will
match the feed dogs of the machine and feed the fabric correctly. I
have two 'generic' walking feet for my low shank machines, and one
Husqvarna one for the Lily. I prefer the Husqvarna one and use it
whenever I can as it is much sturdier. Next comes the Allbrands one: it
was £18 (rather than the £40 of the HV!), and it's much better than the
'Singer Fit' unbranded one, but I have to choose whichever of these fits
the machine I'm using best!
One thing to remember with all these gadgets like walking feet and
rufflers (all my rufflers are either Husqvarna or old 'Semanco' Singer
made ones for cast iron era machines) is that you must go slowly! No
hammering down the back straight as if you were Formula 1 sewing! And
use the rufflers on LIGHT WEIGHT FABRICS! They were not built for
anything heavier than quilting cotton! They also work better on crisp
cottons and silks rather than soft drapy fluid things like knits and