October 7, 2010

Shortcut Ruffles and Faux Rolled Hems

Life is hectic. Funds are short. So any time I can find ways to streamline the creative process, I am beyond thrilled. Today I’m going to share with you a couple of tricks I’ve been utilizing of late in my sewing projects. One is a shortcut, and the other is a way to create a faux, no-serger-required “rolled” hem.

Tip #1: Fuss-Free Ruffles

Make ruffled strips without tedious gathering!

Gathering stitches. Zig-zag stitches and dental floss. When it comes to creating ruffles for projects, there are a number of different techniques out there, but all of them have one thing in common: they require time I sometimes frankly don’t have at my disposal. Imagine my delight, then, when I came across this post a while back on Girl. Inspired. (I totally *love* her blog, by the way.) Aren’t those party hats adorable? And don’t those little ruffles make them truly special? When I saw how she did those ruffles in a way that used only the stitching power of her machine, I was truly inspired. Clever, clever!

The whole process couldn’t be simpler…

  • Cut strips of fabric to your desired width.
  • Set your machine’s tension to its highest setting and the stitch length to the longest possible length.
  • Stitch down the center of the strips. They will magically ruffle as you go!

Admittedly, this technique probably wouldn’t be ideal for garment construction, because adjusting the ruffles as needed might be a challenge. However, for little projects where precision isn’t of the utmost importance, I will be doing ruffles in this manner from here on out. Thanks, Stef!

Tip #2: Faux Rolled Hems

Create faux rolled hems - no serger required!

Using a serger to finish raw edges with a rolled hem is a true sewing time-saver. What to do, though, when you don’t have a serger? The answer: the Satinedge Foot made by Creative Feet.

Once you have purchased your foot, read up on how to attach it to your machine in the instruction booklet that comes with your foot. The booklet will also detail how to adjust the little bar on the inside of your foot to enable you to stitch exactly along the outer edge of your fabric. (The Satinedge foot is very similar to an overcast foot that comes with many sewing machines, but after experimenting with my overcast foot, I found the Satinedge Foot to provide a much better result.)

Once you’ve installed the foot on your machine, creating a rolled hem is as easy as stitching any standard zig-zag stitch:
  • Line up the inner bar of the foot precisely with the unfinished edge of the fabric.
  • On your machine’s zig-zag setting, set the stitch width to 5 mm and the length to .2 mm and the thread tension to about 2. Allow the foot to guide the fabric through as you stitch along the edge of the fabric. It might be necessary to pull just a bit on the back end of the fabric to ensure it glides through evenly as you sew.
The result isn’t precisely what you get with a serger, but it is a nice variation of the same concept. I would say the main drawback to this method is that it can be very time consuming, but if you are working with relatively short lengths of fabric, the increased sewing time will most likely be balanced by the time you save not having to iron and then hem your edges.
For even more great sewing tips, be sure to check out these posts from the PS archives:

5 Simple Tips to Improve Your Sewing

7 Time-Saving Sewing Tips

Amy @ Positively Splendid

Amy @ Positively Splendid

Having grown up in a home brimming with sewing notions and paintbrushes, Amy has a deep love for all things creative. On any given day, you'll find her knee-deep in her latest creative endeavor, with projects ranging from sewing and crafts to home decor and kid-friendly ideas. Amy believes that everyone, regardless of skill level or experience, possesses the ability to create something beautiful, and Positively Splendid was born of her passion for helping others harness their innate creative potential.
Amy @ Positively Splendid
Amy @ Positively Splendid

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12 Responses to Shortcut Ruffles and Faux Rolled Hems

  1. Melissa October 7, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    Thanks for the info about this company! I am always willing try new feet on my machine! Most sewing machine makers now make a rolled hem foot, though it doesn’t look precisely like what you see on a serger. Anther tip for doing a rolled hem is a thread called Wooley Nylon. It is filmy looking, but when you use it, it gives a more proffesional look

  2. Stef October 7, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    Aw, Amy, thanks for the feel-goods today!! You’re so sweet! I’m excited that you got a serger!!! It took me several months before I had enough guts to pull mine out of its box, but it was pretty easy to use once I tried it and the speed with the rolled hem capability is fabulous!!!! However, I have recently been thinking of trying to expand my horizons with new feet for my sewing machine. Thanks for the new resources!

    I’ve been thinking of you trying to show your house and move so far. Hopefully you’re moving closer to your mom!!??!! Sometimes the most difficult transitions settle into the best changes overall! I hope the process goes quickly and relatively smooth for you!


  3. Rachel@oneprettything.com October 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    These tips are fabulous! Congratulations on the serger- that’s so exciting! I’ll be linking to this.

  4. Tammy@ Not Just Paper and Glue October 7, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    Great tips!

  5. Jen @ tatertotsandjello.com October 8, 2010 at 12:13 am #

    Those are great tips! I use that one about the ruffles and it is wonderful. I need to try that binding idea. Wow!

    I hope you are having a great week. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us tomorrow!


  6. Shasta October 9, 2010 at 12:01 am #

    Thanks Amy! I linked to this on our blog today. Send us your address, we have a little sumthin’ sumethin’ for you :o)

  7. Jennwith4 October 10, 2010 at 6:47 am #

    Thanks for the tips! I long for a serger but do pretty ok with my machine. And I love me some flylady! 🙂

  8. Anonymous October 25, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    Hey, I can’t view your site properly within Opera, I actually hope you look into fixing this.

  9. Mommafo September 5, 2011 at 1:50 am #

    Look at that!!! Too cool! I’ve always wondered about that foot, what good it does with that bar!? Can’t wait to play around with it.

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