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Accessories We Love: The Janome Ultimate Ruffler Attachment

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Ruffles. Bet you can't use them just once. We've added ruffles to a number of recent projects, and so thought we'd take the time to talk about the accessory that makes our ruffling easier and faster: the Ultimate Ruffler from Janome. This attachment is designed to work with any machine that can accept a snap-on presser foot, which means you don't have to have a Janome. Other machine manufacturers make similar attachments, which work in the same way. It's time to go from flat to frilly.

Janome's Ultimate Ruffler is available at authorized Janome dealers. They have a good dealer locator on their Janome America site to find a dealer near you.

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You can certainly ruffle a single layer of fabric, in fact, some people like to ruffle raw-edged fabric to create a chic frayed look. But for our purposes, we're going to work with the most common fabric treatment for ruffling: the folded strip.

  1. The rule of thumb for how long your flat strip of fabric should be is approximately 2½ times the length of the edge to which you're applying the ruffle. For example, if you have a 20" x 20" pillow that you want to have a ruffle all around the edge, you would multiple 20" x 4 to get the perimeter measurement (80"), then multiply that measurement by 2.5 (80" x 2.5 = 200"). You will cut all the way across the width of your fabric to get your length. If the fabric has a width of 44" (don't count the selvedges; you want to trim these off), you need to divide the finished length by the width of the fabric to figure out how many WOF (width of fabric) strips to cut. In our sample, 140" divided by 44" = 3.18. Always round UP, so cut 4 strips. That will be plenty.
  2. The width of the strip is simply the finished width you want plus your seam allowance multiplied by two, because you will fold the strip in half. Let's say we want a 2½" ruffle on our pillow. Our equation would be 2½" plus a ½" seam allowance times 2 = 6".
  3. In our example, we would cut FOUR 6" x WOF strips.
  4. Stitch your strips together end-to-end to create one long strip. Press all short seams open.
  5. Fold the strip in half, wrong sides together, and press.
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  6. Attach the ruffler to your sewing machine. You'll need to remove the machine's regular presser foot, slide the ruffler under the now-empty presser foot ankle, with the black 'c-hook' OVER the needle screw, then snap the ruffler into place.
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  7. Select a straight stitch, and test your needle drop to make sure it goes in and out of the needle hole in the ruffler easily. There are adjusting screws on the ruffler to move the opening to best match your needle drop.
  8. Set the number of stitches between the ruffles by selecting one of the slots on the front of the ruffler. The '1 slot' is a ruffle every stitch. The '6 slot' is every six stitches, and the '12 slot' is every twelve stitches. The six and twelve options are really pleats rather than ruffles.
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  9. Then, set the depth with the screw on the side of the ruffler. The standard ratio is 2 to 1. Tighten to deepen, loosen for a shallower fold. It's important to test gather some practice strips to get the look you want. There really isn't a chart of exactly what settings to use for which applications. It's all about your taste and the finished look you're going for.
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  10. Insert the raw edges of your folded strip into the slit at the front of the ruffler.
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  11. Drop your needle, and start gathering. Keep your fabric moving smoothly and make sure you have enough room at the back of your machine for the gathered strip to accumulate.
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  12. You do not back tack at the beginning or the end of your gathering, because you want the gathers to be able to be adjusted slightly to best fit the edge to which they will be applied.
  13. Move the front arm into the '6 slot' and tighten the depth screw to create pleats every six stitches.
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  14. Move the front arm into the '12 slot' and tighten the depth screw a bit more to create pleats every twelve stitches.
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  15. You now have beautiful, long strips of ruffles or pleats to add to your project.
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  16. Janome has two good video tutorials on their Ultimate Ruffler on their website. One shows basic gathering and pleating and the other explains how to use the ruffler to attach lace while gathering.


Comments (50)

crazyRedhead said:
crazyRedhead's picture

I have a Bernina 580 and cant figure out how to attach the Janome Ultimate Ruffler. Please Help

Thank you so much

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ crafyFedhead - I'm sorry, but we are not very familiar with the Bernina products - so other than referring you to the instructions that came with the Ruffler, we can't troubleshoot long distance. I'm sure your Bernina dealer could help. 

Jody C said:
Jody   C's picture

Does anyone use their ruffler to make gathers when constructing garments as in attaching a skirt to a bodice.  How do you adjust the gathers if they do not come out the exact length?  Thanks.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Jody C - testing is going to allow you to make sure the ruffler is set correctly - once set, all the gathers should be identical. I've included a link below to a Janome Video that may be helpful. It outlines attaching flat lace while gathering, which may be similar to the effect you are hoping for on your bodice. There is also a link below to the Janome Gathering Presser Foot, which makes smaller gathers in lightweight fabric.



Mel B. said:
Mel B.'s picture

My ruffler won't ruffle satin?  It works with regular fabrics fine.  It just slides on through with the satin.  I've adjusted everything & it just won't ruffle it.  Any suggestions?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Mel B. - That's a hard one to troubleshoot long distance because they are so many variables. We did use this ruffler when we made our Minky & Satin Baby Blankets, so I know it will work. The only note from that is: to pin the raw edges with the head of the pin facing to the raw edge side of the ruffle, and with a pin set about every 3-4". This will help keep the satin fabric from twisting and torquing as it is fed into the ruffler. Be sure to remove pins as you feed the satin fabric into the ruffler! If you still have trouble, you might want to bring it to your local sewing machine dealer so he/she can see exactly what is happening. 

Sandy B. said:
Sandy B.'s picture

Love my ruffler and for a short ruffle it is wonderful!  I am trying to do a large blanket and I can only do less than three feet before my my material begins to get twisted....It's like the foot takes more of the bottom layer of the satin than the top and becomes twisted.  Want to solve this so I can continue to use this wonderful gadget!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Sandy B - based on the success you are having with the shorter sequences, it sounds like your technique is correct. So, this may be more involved with how the machine is working with the foot. The feeding system isn't keeping up for some reason. Troubleshooting this type of machine-specific issue long distance is not possible. It would be best to take the machine and fabric into your local dealer and replicate the problem so he/she can see the problem in person. 

Sandra Bee said:
Sandra Bee's picture

I just bought my Janome Ruffler model 846415008 and I'm trying to ruffle a doubled strip of satin (I folded a 5" strip over & serged the edge together).  I cannot get the ruffler to gather the satin as it keeps jamming my machine although it worked great on a piece of cotton.  I've checked the internet for my setup & I believe I have the settings correct.

Here are the problems I'm having with the satin:  I've broken 3 needles so far as the needle hole will suddenly move /  the needle adjusting screws keep coming loose /  I'll tighten the needle adjusting screws & they're tight but the plates aren't straight / the needle keeps jamming and the bobbin thread "locks" with multiple threads basically "crashing" my machine! (for lack of a better description), it will sew straight but won't pull the gathers, ....

Do you have any suggestions as to what I might be doing wrong or what's going on?  It's crepe back satin btw.

Thank you,

Sandra Bee

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Sandra Bee -- I'm sorry, but trouble-shooting specific machine questions like this from a distance is tough. Doubled satin is pretty thick and may be taxing the feeding ability of the accessory. However, we did use this attachment on our Satin Baby Blankets, and although not as smooth sailing as with cotton, it did work. My best advice is to try to bring the machine, accessory and the satin to your local dealer to show him/her exactly what is happening. 

Pat Moss said:
Pat Moss's picture

Will the ultimate ruffler work on my Janome MC 9700?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Pat Moss - The ruffler should work on the MC9700; it has several adjusting screws and is supposed to be "universal." However, to be 100% sure (because we have not personally tested it on this model), please contact Janome directly (janome.com) or contact your local dealer. 



Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
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We do not sell any products at Sew4Home - you would need to find a local distributor. Please visit the janome.com website. 

Sumayyah said:
Sumayyah's picture

for the answer to the 7700 question - I just found your answer here - while searching out why i am having trouble with mine.  I hope this helps.

gabbyg said:
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I just bought my new Ultimate Ruffler for my new Janome Magnolia 7318 and it worked beautifully.  For those who have questions about what machines the ruffler works on, you can go to ebay and type Janome Ruffler in the ebay search engine, and it return results for sellers who have lists of machines the ruffler will work on.  I bought mine on ebay and was very pleased with my order.  I just can't believe how professonial my first ruffle looks.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Regarding attachment onto the Janome 7700: Janome America is one of our great sponsors and we use only their machines in our sewing studios, however, we are a totally independent sewing creativity company, and so are not your best choice for very specific trouble-shooting questions. I have not tested the ruffler on the 7700. It should work, however, there may be an attachment modification because of the AcuFeed system on the Horizon. I would suggest contacting your Janome dealer and bringing in your machine to show him/her the particular issues you are having. You could also contact Janome Customer Service here: custrel@janomeamerica.com
pdasherman@geusnet.com said:
pdasherman@geusnet.com's picture
I am having trouble with this ruffler. I have been trying to use it on the Horizon 7700 and it was working for a time but now it has stopped ruffling. I have it set on 6 setting and it may do one ruffle but then will sew a continuous straight line of stitching and there will be no ruffles.
sharon wardlaw said:
sharon wardlaw's picture
Can this ruffler be used on the Horizon 7700? I have been having trouble getting it seated correctly and now it may ruffle once and then it is just a straight stitch
Please help!!!!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Emmy Z. - It does sound like your ruffler foot is not sitting correctly on your machine and everything isn't tighten up enough to withstand the vibration of the foot. If the adjustment screws that position the needle drop aren't good and tight that can cause the foot to slip to one side or the other and your needle wouldn't hit correctly, and if your needle itself isn't super tightly in place, the movement of the foot could dislodge it. The inconsistency of pleating, however, is another matter. It is at the point of where a seam is feeding through the machine; I know that can cause the foot to skip a stitch. Those are just a few ideas, it sounds like the very best idea would be to take the machine and the foot into your Janome dealer and have him/her take look. They will have the expertise to tell what within the set-up might be causing your frustration.
Emmy Z. said:
Emmy Z.'s picture
Well, I'm very frustrated with my ruffler! I have a Janome 10001. Sometimes the ruffler works, and other times it doesn't. It just doesn't catch the fabric to make the ruffles. But, then I'll try it on a different fabric, with the same texture, and it works. It's also not consistent in making the ruffles/pleats. At times, the needle comes completely off the machine, and of course makes so much noise as I realize what's happened! GRRR! I really needs this foot to work because I need to make a lot of ruffles/pleats. Is this a problem with others? I just don't understand the unreliability of it!!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
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@ Rosanneheckman@sbcglobal.net - I have not personally tried it on the Janome 10001, but it sounds like you are doing everything right. Setting it up and testing the needle drop using the handwheel is the right idea in terms of adjusting the position of the ruffler. The only other thing I would say is to make sure you have it tightened in place as tight as you can.The vibration of the foot can loosen it if it's not tight. If you still have issues, I recommend taking the machine and ruffler into your local dealer.
Rosanneheckman@sbcglobal.net said:
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Hi. I have a Janome MC10001. I just bought the ruffler and really wish there was more instructions on using it. I attached it, figured out how to set the needle so it doesnt hit the foot when stitching, but when i used it....the needled wound up hitting the needle and broke it. It says to adjust by loosening screws, adjust, then tighten screws. Hopefully I dont get too frustrated by this en-devour.smilies/shocked.gif
Any suggestions will help?
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Audrey Marie -- we are proud to use Janome machines and have them as a major sponsor, but we are an independent company, so I'm not the best source for technical questions like yours. It would be best if you could get your dealer to take a look at how the ruffler is attached and set up to stitch to make sure everything is in place as it should be. You can also reach Janome directly through their customer service: custrel@janome-america.com
Audrey Marie said:
Audrey Marie's picture
I have a Janome threadbanger machine...attached the ruffler...but it pulls my needle out of its "socket"...any advice?
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Vianki -- we are a completely separate company from Janome, so although they are our Signature Sponsor, I don't always have all the most recent details on all their machines. I do know the 3128 should be able to work with the Ruffler, and if it has snap-on feet, you should have no trouble with the roller foot either. You might want to contact your local dealer or Janome customer relations (custrel@janome-america.com) for more specific information. Have fun!
Vianki said:
Vianki's picture
I have a very basic Janome, the 3128, and I would love to get these accessories (I'm also drooling over the roller foot) but I can't find information anywhere on which machines they work with. Can you help? Thanks!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi sara alliv -- other than the steps above, I don't have any secret tips to pass along. My only thought is the advice I got from a heavy ruffler user. She said you need to take it nice and slow through the thin fabrics, and speed through the thick ones, eyeballing the gathers as you go along, adjusting accordingly. There is a great free detailed guide at YouCanMakeThis.com

sara alliv said:
sara alliv's picture
I recently purchased one of these to make the ruffles on pettiskirts for my daughters. I had little trouble attaching it and yesterday practiced with some tulle and it seems to work great. However, today I tried to ruffle some strips of chiffon and the ruffles are all over the place, some tight and some so loose they are barely ruffled. I have tried to adjust it every way possible to no avail. It seems as thought the ruffler can't catch the fabric correctly. Of coure, the ruffler didn't come with instructions and I'm probably doing something wrong! Can anyone give me a hint? I'm so distressed.
mrsben said:
mrsben's picture

@Sara:  Re your problem.  Often chiffon has difficulty feeding through some  sewing machine  feed dogs.   Try placing plain white tissue paper under (or sometimes even over) where the sititching line will be and this  'may' solve your problem.   Tear off/out the excess tissue paper when completed.   GOOD LUCK!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Kelly G -- Janome is our Signature Sponsor and we use their great machines, but I wouldn't consider myself a detailed expert on all the models, so I'd suggest you run your question by your dealer or the janome.com website. I used the ruffler attachment on a variety of machines and didn't have to mess with the tension at all. If you haven't already, check to make sure your needle is nice and sharp and new and your thread is a strong, good quality polyester.
Kelly G said:
Kelly G's picture
I really like the ruffler but unfortunatley my thread keeps breaking. What tension should I be using? I have the memory craft 11000.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Donna -- I ran your question by our friend, and seamstress extraordinaire, Michele Mishler. She helps us out once again with this important tip: "The ruffler is designed for a 1/4" to 3/8" seam allowance, and it will create tucks if the seam allowance is larger. The simplest solution is to trim away some of the seam allowance, and work with a 1/4-3/8" seam."
Donna Caruso said:
Donna Caruso's picture
I have the Janome Ultimate Ruffler. It does a great job except that I am trying to do a 5/8 inch seam allowance and the seam allowance keeps folding over so I have to stop every few stitches to straighten the edge of the fabric so that it doesn't get stitched into the seam. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Miriams - I'm not a Singer expert, so I can't confirm 100% if it will work with the model 7469, but the box does say, "Can be used with ANY home-use sewing machine". So, I think you're pretty safe.
Patti D said:
Patti D's picture
Maybe that my problem... I will try that and let you all know..
Ash_V said:
Ash_V's picture
I have one and LOVE it! The only thing I'd recommend when ruffling a long strip is to sew together the long raw end of your strip together FIRST before ruffling. Just a basting stitch, really. That way, while ruffling your long strip, the layers of fabric don't separate and the top side get pulled further along than the side on the feed dogs of your machine. After I started doing this, I was a much happier camper smilies/smiley.gif
Patti D said:
Patti D's picture
Hi again, I do have a Janome store close to home, so when I get some time, I will be going up there with my machine and ruffler to see what the problem is. Thanks for your suggestions and I really love this site. I check back each day to see what new ideas are posted. smilies/wink.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Patti D -- As I mentioned above, it's hard to tell what might be wrong without seeing your machine. We tested our ruffler on several models, and although some were harder to attach it on than others, once in place, it worked great. It is important that the black "c clamp" is in place over the needle screw. If you place the front arm into the "star" position you can move the clamp more freely. You've tightened everything, so that's good. Do you have a lot of seams? All but the thinnest fabric can sometimes can get caught in the guide, which is why we recommend by-passing the tiny fabric guide bar and inserting the fabric straight into the front slit. Keeping a consistent speed, a bit on the slower side, helps as well. Your bobbin thread problem is a challenge; that's usually a sign of a threading issue more than a foot issue. Again, as I suggested to Karla, it might be helpful to take your machine and the ruffler to a dealer for a look-see. Did you watch the Janome videos mentioned above? Sometimes watching it in action helps too. Good luck ... don't give up yet.
Patti D said:
Patti D's picture
I tried to use this last night. What a mess... I have a Janome machine so I purchased the ruffler attachment on line. Is the attachment supposed to wobble around like it did on mine? I got it working once and did a long strip. Then I tried to do another one and it kept on messing up. All the screws were tightened. My bobbin thread kept on bunching at the bottom. So after I pretty much ruined my fabric strips, I stopped.
Any suggestions. I think I would rather just do the ruffle manually...smilies/cry.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Karla... hmmmm that's a hard one to diagnose from afar. Make sure you've adjusted it to fit your machine - there are two screws in the back to align the needle drop. These screws should be tight. And, your needle screw should be tight to start with. Is your machine shaking at all? If so, go slower, the vibration of your machine might be loosening the screw. Beyond these tips, review any paper instructions that came with the foot. If you still have an issue, you might want to bring the machine and the foot into your local sewing machine dealer for assistance.
Karla said:
Karla's picture
I love this gadget! However, I borrowed one from a friend to test drive. We had a hard time getting it to work and it kept unscrewing my needle screw. I am 100% sure it was something we were doing wrong because we have seen it in use before and working perfectly! I will take any advice I can get!
Carmen's Custom Creation said:
Carmen's Custom Creation's picture
I've been wanting one, but didn't want to buy one specifically for my machine, since I would like to update my sewing machine soon. smilies/wink.gif This is perfect, since it will fit on any machine..gonna buy one right now! THANK YOU!!!
campncook said:
campncook's picture
This is VERY simular to the ruffeler I got atleast 25 years ago at Sears/Kenmore. I LOVE IT!smilies/smiley.gif
Amy@accidentalcrafter.com said:
Amy@accidentalcrafter.com's picture
What a great little tool! I definitely have to get one!

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