Ruching can be a great way to give pieces of clothing character. The sides of shirts, shirt sleeves, bottoms of skirts, and even the tops of skirts can all be ruched to make the item fit more snugly without making it more restrictive. The following guide walks you through a quick and easy way to ruch an item with minimal effort.

Determine Where You Want the Ruching

The first thing you need to do is determine where you want the ruching to be placed on your piece of clothing. Ruching draws attention to the area, so you may want to try ruching on an area that will accentuate a part of your body with which you are most confident.

Measure and Cut the Elastic

You will need a thin piece of elastic to do the ruching. It is best to have one that is roughly a quarter of an inch in size to ensure that you can easily stitch it into place when needed. You will be stretching the elastic out when sewing it, so you want to cut it to be an inch to an inch and a half shorter than you want it to be when you are done sewing it into place. Use a straight pin to pin the piece of elastic into place at the top of where you want the ruching to start.

Set up Your Sewing Machine

Take a sewing machine, like those sold at stores like The Sewing Studio Fabric Superstore, and set it up to do the widest straight stitch that it can do. This will ensure that you have control over the stitch as you sew the elastic into place. Place the elastic and fabric under the needle of your sewing machine with the elastic facing the ceiling. Put down the presser foot and turn the large knob on the side of your machine until the needle goes into the center of the elastic and through the fabric.

Anchor the Stitch

Next, start sewing the stitch for roughly half an inch. Stop sewing and press the reverse stitch button and sew in reverse back to the position where you started. This will lock the elastic and thread into place so that you do not have to worry about it coming undone as you stitch.

Sew the Elastic

Make sure the needle is pressed through the elastic and the fabric and stretch the piece of elastic until it is taught and stretched as far as possible. Apply tension on the fabric that is behind the needle and then start to sew again. Be sure that you sew a straight stitch down the elastic and through the fabric.

Lock the Stitch

When you reach the end of the fabric, hit the reverse stitch button again and sew over the stitch in reverse for half an inch and then let go of the button and stitch forward again to lock the end of the stitch into place.

Make sure the needle is pulled out of the material, lift the presser foot, and pull out your material. You should see that the elastic has sprung back, pulling the fabric with it to create a rushing effect. You will need to use scissors to trim any loose strings and then the item is ready to wear. This is a quick and easy technique that you should be able to do at any skill level.