Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ruched Flowers and Embellishments

This photos shows a close up of the bouquet in my July 4th Mini Quilt. The three large flower heads and three flower buds are made from ruched strips of fabric. This post shows how I did the ruching. Its pretty simple.

I taught myself to ruch from on line information. I Googled "ruching" and found several good on line references. There are different approaches and I selected the method that uses strips of fabric to make the ruched design. There are other methods that involved cutting a circle out of fabric and gathering it. I haven't learned that yet. I like the ease of the strip method, and I find that I often have left over fabric strips from projects. This is a good use for those strips and it’s a quick take along hand project.

Here is a summary of the steps for ruching:

  • Cut a strip of fabric about 2.5 inches in diameter. For smaller flowers or buds, use about an 18" length. If you want a larger flower, use a one yard length. The width of the fabric can vary, so if you have something close to 2.5 inches, go ahead and use it. 

  • If you want the edges to be unfrayed, then iron the edges down about 1/4 inch as shown in this photo.  If you want the edges to be frayed, leave them as they are.

  • Thread a needle with thread that matches the fabric. Knot the end.

  • Bring the needle up from the backside of the fabric at one end of the strip.

  • Stitch through the strip at a 45 degree angle using a running stitch. When you get to the edge of the strip make sure the needle goes through to the backside of the strip.

  • Bring the needle and thread around to the front and stitch through in the other direction at a 45 degree angle. Once again make sure the thread comes out the backside of the strip when you get to the edge of that strip.

  • Do a couple of "zig zags" and then pull the thread to gather up. Gather up as you go along so you don't have to put too much strain on the thread. You don't want it to break and have to start over.
  • When the gathered piece is about a long as you want it to be, secure the gathers by taking some back stitches in the back and knot the thread. These are short bud pieces. If I wanted to make a large flower head I would have much longer gathered lengths. 

  • Shape the gathered length in a circle or U shape or however you want. Then stitch it down by hand to the quilt top. I like to stitch it to the top after it is quilted because the layers add more support for this embellishment.

And there you have it, easy ruching!

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