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How to Make a Ruffle Bum (That Snaps Off!)

Posted by Amie Parham, Wiggle Biscuits on

Love the look of those frilly ruffle bum cloth diapers? Here's how to sew your own, by Amie Parham of Wiggle Biscuits. The ruffle is detachable so you can use the diaper under clothing. This tutorial uses Eco-PUL and KAM Snaps from Diaper Sewing Supplies. 

Let's get started! 

1. Cut out your body piece, and mark it for snaps.
I put my marks about 1.5" inward from the elastic mark, and about 1.5" UP from the elastic marks on each side, then put one more mark right in the middle of them.

The placement of the ruffle snaps on the diaper is pretty important, and this is why! It is easier to get around the snaps with your presser foot with these distances, but again, for a different look, you can adjust the distances as desired.

2. Measure the distance between your snaps.
Mine is 7".
You will use this distance for the base piece that your ruffles are sewn to.

3. This photo is blurry, sorry about that.
Cut out your ruffle pieces.
The top is the base piece. I make mine 3" x 7" (that 7" comes from the distance between your snaps).
Then you'll have 3 ruffle pieces, each is 2.5" x 16". For a different look, you can make the ruffles taller or shorter, and longer!

4. Take your base piece and fold it in half. Sew down all the edges.
For a different look, you could make the base piece shorter, say 2.5" instead of 3", and the ruffles would end up closer together, or if you wanted to put more than 3 ruffles, you would make the base piece taller, say 4".

Base piece is sewn on all 4 edges and ready for the next step!
Set it aside while you prepare the ruffles.

PRO-TIP!
While you can just eyeball it, marking the center of your ruffle is helpful to ensure a nice straight line. So for these, it is 1.25".

5. Now to do some gathering!
Set your machine to the longest stitch length. I loosen my tension just a touch as well.
My tension dial is on the left, the stitch length is set to 4.

5 (cont.). Stitch right down the middle of your ruffle pieces from end to end. DO NOT BACKSTITCH.
*technically, you should do two rows of stitching for gathering, however, I like to live dangerously and do one, and it is easier to get a good ruffle with the single row in the middle.

All 3 pieces are now ready to gather/ruffle!
I try to save myself some time when I can, so I typically use thread that matches the fabric when I do these stitches, but to show what happens if you don't, I used red thread on the royal blue ruffle.

PRO-TIP
It is helpful to mark your centers, to make sure the ruffle turns out nicely. I put washable marker dots on the top/bottom/middle of the ruffle pieces. Do this before you gather the ruffles, or it will be much trickier!

6. Choose top or bottom thread, and pull it GENTLY to gather the ruffle piece. You want it to be roughly about as wide as your base piece.
Now is also a good time to mark the center of your base piece.

6 (cont.). All three pieces gathered.
Decide now which you want on top/bottom. It will matter slightly in the end.

I flipped it around, but I didn't like it so much. Red on top it is!

7. Match the center of the ruffle to the center of the base piece, and match the ends of the ruffle to the ends of the base piece.
Then it gets a little fiddly. You will want to adjust/spread the gathers so there are no flat spots, and be generous with the pins so it doesn't move.
Keep the ruffle in the middle of the base piece also!

PRO-TIP
Double check that your machine is set back to normal settings before sewing (I have missed this step before....).
Tension set back to 4.75ish, and stitch length for me is 3 here.
Use thread that matches your fabric choices, for a cleaner look.

8. Sew a straight line right down the middle of your ruffle, and be sure to backstitch or secure your start/stop points somehow. Remove pins as you go, or sew over them like a rebel.

Front of the base piece with the center ruffle sewn on!

Back with the ruffle sewn on!

9. Now, do the same thing with the top ruffle, being sure to get the middle mark of the ruffle matched up with the middle mark of the base piece.
You will also want to get the ruffle close to the top edge of the base piece. I try to match the gathering stitches on my ruffle to the seam on the top of the base piece. You could move it down a little bit if you need to, there's some wiggle room here.

Again, pin the middle of the ruffle, then the ends, and adjust the gathers to ensure there are no flat spots, and pin it down.

10. Sew down the ruffle, removing pins as you go, and be sure to backstitch at the start/stop or secure your stitches somehow. Be careful not to sew off the edge (I've done it a few times...)!

The top piece is sewn down now (yes, my machine did some birdnesting at the start, but this one is for me, so I'm just leaving it)!

A little close up. You may be able to see the gathering stitches here, but since they are the same color as the PUL, I don't usually pull them out.

11. Repeat the pinning/adjusting process with your third ruffle, again matching middle marks.
I do the same thing as the top piece, and match the gathering stitches to the stitching on the seam.

This is the underside pinned. You can see the pins go right over the seam stitching, so I feel pretty good about sewing right down that line!

12. Sew down the center of the ruffle, stitching it to the base piece, removing pins as you go, and being sure not to sew off the edge of the base piece.

13. Trim up your threads, you're almost done!

Front of the ruffle!

Now, if you used thread that matches your fabric when you gathered it, then you don't need to do this, but since I didn't, I have to pick the red thread out so it looks cleaner.

14. Now to add snaps.
Here's where you want to be sure which way is up!
Pull the top two ruffles apart and put the snaps on the ends of the base piece. Then put one squarely in the middle.

Snaps applied!

Finished ruffle, ready to go on a diaper!

15. Admire your handiwork!
Sew the rest of your diaper as normal, and put your ruffle on when it is finished!

Isn't it beautiful??? <3 <3
And since it is PUL, it is perfect for cake smashes or even just playing outside, since it washes easily!

The ruffle is easily removed so the diaper is usable under clothing!
Now go add ALL THE RUFFLES!!!!

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