Rescuing the Ruching

44. Gather side edges of midriff front (5) between small circles.
45. For stay, with right sides up, pin midriff front to one midriff front lining (6) section, matching notches, centers and circles. Adjust gathers. Baste raw edges together, stretching midriff front to fit…

Follow these Vogue V8182 directions, which have you gather the midriff sections only at the side seams, and you’ll end up with a saggy, baggy mess, at least with a cotton/silk blend like mine. I learned the hard way.

My fix was to add four extra rows of gathering stitches evenly distributed along the width of the midriff. After spacing the ruching out like I wanted on each of the stitching lines, I tacked the fabric down to the underlining, then I removed those extra rows of stitches so none would be the wiser. I did my best to make very small stitches through the fashion fabric, but, as you can see from the picture above, I wasn’t able to just catch the ideal thread or two of the fashion fabric. Still, my 1/16th of an inch stitches are hardly noticeable in all of the ruching.

Since I made this fix up myself, I’m curious what those of you with more experience would typically do to make a nicely ruched section of fabric like this one. My wedding dress had crisp pleats, so I imagine pleats here could have been an option. Any other suggestions?

17 thoughts on “Rescuing the Ruching

  1. Good question… I’ve never done ruching before, but have often seen it in drapey silk so I wonder how it works without bagging. Perhaps the piece was too wide, creating too much ruching and flopping? Maybe some really big pintucks that flopped evenly over each other would be an option?

    1. Yeah, I think pintucks would have worked nicely. But, the top was already gathered, so I wanted it to match. Next time I make this pattern, I might make pintucks both at the shoulder and across the midriff band. How’s your sewing going? I’m hoping to finish this dress and move on to the Lonsdale in the next day or so!

  2. Hi Amy – I have tried ruching – without success. I have a book in my sewing library called “The Art of Manipulating Fabric” by Colette Wolff. It’s a great book for referencing all sorts of pleats, tucks etc. Must admit I have not had to ruche anything fabric of late, so I haven’t used this book yet, but if I had to, I think it would have the answer. Sorry – couldn’t be on any more help. Will look great in the end.

    1. Unfortunately, though what I’d done looked great as part of the bodice, it looked out of place when I added the skirt. Back to the drawing board…

  3. This is actually a request and I will try to be brief. I am considering redesigning and changing a wedding dress I had partially made by a local seamstress. The dress is actually two pieces, a bodice with a sweetheart neckline a gentle pointed type curve at the bottom the skirt has pick ups on front & back with the pleated part of the first row of pickups approx 12″ from waistband. What I want to do is make the bodice over and add a section of ruching and make as one piece then use the skirt I have but not lose the pickups except maybe the 1st row. I can provide many pics with examples of possible variations mostly to top. I need to kno 1st is this even doable or do you lno already without specifics. I’m really excited about what I came up with& I even have ideas on how to bling the dress out to make it look like a real wedding dress and not a plain homemade boring dress. Any help would be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Joan! Sorry to take so long to get back to you. It’s been a crazy month around here! I think if your wedding dress was already designed to be two pieces, then making a new bodice shouldn’t cause any real problems since the skirt should still work as-is. I had a lot of problems getting my rushing to work, but in the end I was very happy with the result. I’m not sure how much sewing experience you have, but I imagine there should be local sewing studios that would help you turn your ideas into a reality. If you’re in the Seattle area, I’ve always wanted to take advantage of the sewing lab at the Sewing and Design School in Tacoma.

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