Ruching My Flower

My Beginner Baltimore Class meets next week and I am busy getting the second block ready.  First, I traced the pattern onto the background with a blue Clover Water Soluble Marker.  (I like the thick ones.)  Then I glued the bias stems in place.


Then I prepped and added a few leaves…and a few more leaves!



Now comes the fun part!  Ruching!  But before I begin, let me show you the fabric I chose for my ruched flower.


I love all fabrics (really I do!) but I especially love fabrics that go from light to dark across the width.  I’ll buy a shaded fabric whenever I see it, even if I don’t know what I will do with it! They are perfect for shading flowers….and for making ruched flowers.  Here is what I did…

I cut  a strip of fabric 1 1/4″ wide by the width of the fabric.  Next, I pressed the edges into the middle on the wrong side.


Next, I threaded up a needle with thread that matches the fabric.  Since this fabric has both very light pink and very dark burgundy, I chose to go middle-of-the-road and used a medium pink thread.  If you look closely you can see that I have made little ticks along the top and bottom edges with a marking pencil. I spaced the marks 1 1/2″ apart.  The marks along the top and bottom are off-set by 3/4″ to form a zig zag pattern.


I started stitching (really just a running stitch) at the first mark on the bottom side and worked toward the first mark on the top.  The key to this method is to make sure that the  last stitch ends with the thread on the front side…


….and then I insert the needle in the back of the fabric (very important!)  and I simply continue stitching toward the next mark.  How easy is that?


This is what it should look like….


So after I stitched a few zig-zags, I gathered the fabric on the thread and voila!  Make sure you double your thread if using a regular sewing thread or you can also use a strong handquilting thread like Dual Duty.  There is a lot of tension on the thread and it would be a shame if the thread broke and you had to start all over again.  Ask me how I know!


Here is a fun fact…a 42″ strip of fabric gathers up to about 12″ when this ruching method is used.


I started at the light end of the strip, and carefully curled the ruched strip around the centre, tacking it in place as I went.


And finally….here is my block.  Sweet!


Don’t forget to head on over to Stitching Impressions on Monday to see what Ruth is up to as we continue on the  “Around The World Quilt Blog Tour”.  Also, did you get goosebumps when you saw Rebecca’s Pineapple quilt at Cheeky Cognoscenti?  I knew you would!!

Til next time….



7 thoughts on “Ruching My Flower

  1. Thanks so much. I have only done this once before and forgot. The refresher is wonderful. I have also done this with wired silk ribbon making a nice flower as well.

  2. Another great tutorial. I am teaching an applique course for my quilt group this weekend. A month ago I told the girls to have a good look at your blog to “whet their appetite”. Such great information, thanks for your generosity in sharing like you do.

  3. Love these flowers with that fabric! Gorgeous.

    Can I ask a question (I’m new to applique and your blog), do you glue ALL your pieces down and then hand stitch them?

  4. Thank you for the short lesson on rusching. Flower is so pretty – In 2004 (I think) RJR put out a line of all the colors that went from light to dark…..Have them all ….. Thx for the tip. Hope the fabric is heavy enough to make pretty flowers.

  5. Your flower is adorable! Love the gradations. Can you share what you did with the end? The one with the white on the edge?

    How do you do your markings? Do you trace inside the lines of the pattern to make sure it won’t show?

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