Ruching fabric is a relatively simple way to ornament clothing using simple sewing supplies and a beginner’s crafting experience. The term “ruche” means to plait in French, and the technique dates back to at least the Middle Ages. Using ruching techniques, you can add frills and pleats to your clothing to add ornamentation and taper pieces to fit closer to the body. With a sewing machine and elastic thread that matches the color of your fabric, take a piece of clothing you already own and give it a boost of visual interest through ruching.

Things You'll Need

Select the piece of clothing you wish to ornament with ruching. Turn the item inside out, and measure the length of the seams you will be ruching.

Cut a piece of elastic for each seam. Each elastic should measure the length of the seam plus one additional inch.

Pin the elastic to the garment using a few fabric pins, leaving an extra inch above the hem to hold while working with your sewing machine.

Turn on your sewing machine. Turn on the working light if applicable. Prepare your sewing machine by switching in the thread that matches the color of your garment.

Select the zigzag stitch setting on your sewing machine. If you desire more frills and bunches in your ruche, select a longer zigzag stitch length.

Insert the needle through the thread and elastic at one end of the seam. Sew a zigzag stitch through the center of the elastic and the seam, to the end of the seam and elastic. As you sew, slowly and carefully pull on the elastic in order to stretch it, which will result in cleaner ruching.

Select the straight stitch setting on your sewing machine, and add several straight stitches to the end of your ruching so as to tack down the end of the elastic.

Cut the excess elastic and thread away from the garment. Turn the piece of clothing right side out once to see the ruching effect on the seam.

Repeat the above steps for any other seams you wish to ruche on your item of clothing.