Ruching is a technique that involves gathering a ribbon or fabric. The most common rushing is Straight Line Ruching, a running stitch down the center of the ribbon or fabric strip, followed by Shell Ruching; a long running stitch is sewn in a zig zag fashion (the stitching line is at 45 degree angels at each edge) along the length of a ribbon or fabric strip. There are a wide variety of ruching or gathering patterns you can use to create different effects. When the stitching is pulled the fabric gathers and the result can be used for quilts and garments. This embellishment technique was originally used in Baltimore Album Style Quilts and garments. Rushed ribbon can be made into flowers for applique as well as to decorate or enhance borders. 

Benefits of Rushing

  • Ruching ribbons make beautiful flowers for dimensional applique on quilts, lapel or hair pins and hats.
  • Ruching can be done on any width of ribbon or fabric.
  • Varying the stitch length and ruching patterns will produce different results.
  • The technique is very fast and versitile.
  • Ombre ribbons or strips of silk, cotton batiks or other fine fabrics work well for Ruching.

Tools and Supplies - Ruching

  • Hand sewing needle and matching threads strong enough to pull for gathering.
  • Ribbon or fabric for Rushing
What I Wish I Knew When I Started - Ruching

When RUCHING roses, ombre ribbons work very well and make beatiful ruched roses.  As you pull the gathering thread, make sure the initial knot is secure and carefully move the gathers from the knot end toward the ending point.

Ruching Resources