Ruching (pronounced ROOSHING -- 'roo' rhymes with 'who') is a French word which means to plait. It is a very ancient sewing technique. Cindy has dated it to as far back as the Middle Ages.
A strip of fabric or ribbon is gathered in a repeat pattern and as the gathering thread is drawn up the strip forms scallops or petals.
Throughout history ruching has been an embellishment or trim on woman's clothing often seen on a neckline, sleeve, hem or bonnet. About 1850, the time of the Album Quilt in America, ruching was swirled around to form three-dimensional flowers on some album quilts.
Perfectly even puckers characterized ancient ruching leaving us to believe that perhaps some guide was used to insure that each pucker was precisely measured out before gathering.
Today, we have a simple method to guarantee perfectly even puckers and precisely round ruched three-dimensional flowers in the marking tool The Ruching Edge and The Mini Ruching Edge.
These are plastic guides to mark around and make trim and flowers effortlessly.
The most important thing about ruching is to sew at the exact angle on each zig zag. The Ruching Edge provides three edges -- small, medium and large -- to make different size ruching.
The Mini Ruching Edge has a zig zag edge to ruche 7 mm silk ribbon or fabric into miniature mums and a second edge to ruche in a "u gather'' pattern to create pansies and roses.
After preparing a fabric strip, lay one of the zig zag edges over the strip. Using a Pouncer -- a fabric sack filled with marking chalk -- tap gently across the zig zag edge and then slide and glide across the edge. This transfers the silhouette of that zig zag edge onto the fabric. This very important line is your sewing line.
Sew with a hand gathering stitch on this line. You can also ruche by sewing machine as described in the Into The Garden book.
"I am often asked if when gathering to ruche, the stitcher should loop over the thread at each point. This was intended to keep raw edges from peeking out. I have found this just is not necessary as long as ruching is done on the right side of the prepared fabric strip," Cindy said.
Hand gathering stitches should be about 1/8 inch long. A single quilting thread can be used or a double, all-purpose thread of cotton-covered polyester or polyester.
Good, fresh strong thread is key to making 3-d flowers so the thread will not break.
"The most important thing to know about ruching is to sew at an exact and precise angle down every diagonal line," Cindy says.
Any fabric that can be ironed, can be ruched. Even metallics can be ruched as long as a press cloth is used when preparing the strip.
Ribbon whether wired or not wired can also be used as well as lace.
Perhaps the nicest thing about Cindy's ruching tools are the formulas printed right on the plastic. The formulas tell:
How much fabric or ribbon to use for each edge;
How much thread to use in the needle and what kind of thread so you will never run out and have to take a knot; and,
Most importantly, how long the finished ruched strip should measure in order to make a perfectly round flower.
Since 1993, The Ruching Edge has been making ruching easier and more precise for stitchers.
If you would like to try ruching we suggest the following items available from Quilter's Fancy and listed in the on-line catalog:
Into the Garden - Cindy's first book features ruching to create 3-D flowers.
The Enchanted Garden - Cindy shows how you can use ruching to make miniature 3-D flowers.
The Ruching Edge for small, medium or large trim or flowers;
The Mini Ruching Edge for miniature ruched mums using 7mm silk ribbon or fabric;
The Pouncer to mark the edges in an instant rather than marking around each point individually;
A fat quarter of crinoline -- the foundation to tack ruched flowers to;
Milliners Needles No. 9 or 10 for hand gathering.
Remember, you can always send us an email or give us a call at 1-866-953-0722 if you have any questions on any of Cindy's materials. We're here to help you make beautiful flowers!