How to Make Ruffles using your Serger – Tutorial

…or overlocker. Whatever you would like to call it. In Australia we call sergers ‘overlockers’ so that is what I will call it for the rest of the post.

My overlocker is a very recent addition – my husband bought it for me as a surprise for my birthday (nice one huh?) When I got it, I was totally intimidated, and I think lots of us feel that way about overlockers. They are quite different beasts than our sewing machines. Just threading it for the first time is SCARY! Lucky for me, the store where Trev bought mine offered a free lesson as part of the purchase. If you can get a lesson or two thrown in if you are thinking of buying one, I would recommend it!

I’m not a ‘read the manual’ kind of girl – I am a visual learner – I learn by seeing, then doing. During my lesson, the lady at the store showed me how to make ruffles (or gather fabric) using the overlocker. It was so quick and easy I nearly fell off the chair. So here it is!

Set your differential feed to 2.2.

Change the tension of your two needles to 8. Leave the loop tensions as they are.

Feed your fabric through the machine. Guide it gently but firmly as it moves through.

Chain off. That’s it.

How easy is that?! You can gently pull the fabric to adjust the ruffles, but I find that this method gives quite an even gather along your fabric. Use this method to make something totally gorgeous like this skirt I made for Lucy!

Don’t forget to re-adjust your overlocker settings before your next project. Happy overlocking!

Do you love your overlocker? Or are you a bit scared of it?

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27 thoughts on “How to Make Ruffles using your Serger – Tutorial

  1. Oh thank you!, my Mum gave me her overlocker (which is the same as yours but 10 years older)This is awesome.
    Threading the thing nearly sent me insane – but I got there in the end, any other tips most welcome. I'm a new reader to your blog, I love when I find Aussie blogs 🙂

  2. Ooh thanks a bunch Ros! I will definately be referring back when I pick mine up next month…… so excited! Got it for mothers day but had to be ordered in so a bit of a delay on it!

  3. Looks like a great way to do ruffles, Ros. Thanks for sharing. Janome MyLock's are great overlockers. I'm sure they've come a long way since my model. I bought mine when my kids were about the same age as yours. Mine has been used to death. I can't get the tension right and it needs an overhaul. So, I decided to hand this one on and I've bought myself a new overlocker that also does cover stitch.

  4. I love my serger for ruffles, too. Actually, I hate making the any other way. I didn't know about the thread tension change though. I'll have to try it out. Thanks, Ros!

  5. I bought a serger three months ago and it is still in the box. I'm afraid I'm going to mess up the threading. Everyone has told me that is the difficult part. One of these days I'm going to get the nerve up to take it out. lol

  6. Thanks for that, yes was very scared of my overlocker when I first got it. I have a babyloc (bought last October) and did get a free lesson with it but as I was having a few problems with the shops owner I did not receive very good customer service and when it came time to have my free lesson the lady she organised to do it with me wasn't able to show me alot. I received 5 free accessory feet with it and one is a gathering foot and she didn't know how to use it and just told me to refer to my pattern. Great hey lol, anyway I found the Sewing with Sergers very useful

  7. Thanks so much for this – I just skimmed through, but will back to read more in depth later – or perhaps I'll even pin it! he he! I've a busy last few days so missed reading this and a few other posts, so just catching up now… btw did you end up posting some of the things you made with knits? Jen

  8. Wow thanks so much! I have a brand new 744d here I have only used once so far so great to see how to ruffle on my over locker model!

  9. Is there any way to know how much ruffle which settings will do? I'd love to have it be more predictable with measuring and cutting fabric for patterns with ruffles. Thanks so much for these directions!!

    1. Hi Willow, I usually work on a 2 to 1 ratio. So if I want my ruffle to be 10 inches, I will use a piece of fabric 20" long. If there is any excess, I cut it off before I sew it to the garment.

      Hope that helps 🙂

    2. What is your setting for that. I can change my setting for a fuller or thinner ruffle. It also seems to depend on the fabric. Hmmm I might need to do a few trials! 🙂 thanks!!

    3. I just use the settings you can see in the above pics – stitch length 3, diff feed 2.2, needle tensions higher. It can vary a bit depending on the fabric. I usually use cotton / quilting cotton.

    1. Hi Karen, I changed none of the other features of the serger apart from the needle tensions. Knife was cutting as usual and I have not used a gathering foot, just the standard foot that came with the machine.

  10. Thanks for the tip Ros! My hubby also bought me an overlocker for my birthday last November and I was so terrified of using it the poor thing sat in it's box until last month. I do love it now but still a bit frightened of it 🙂

    1. Don't be frightened! Just give it a go 🙂 I still don't feel like I use mine to it's full potential – I really must learn how to maximise it's functions!

  11. Just saw this ruffle tutorial mentioned over at Mellywood's Mansion and had to check it out. I know nothing about sewing, but I just bought a machine, so I'm sure I'm about to be a frequent visitor here!

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