Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Adding Drawstring Ruching to a Top

This technique is courtesy of Meg from Curvy Sewing Collective. As she mentions in her post, I can see it on sleeves, centre front on tops, on skirts, pant legs, just about anywhere.


  1. Choose your pattern eg tee shirt or tunic top, knit or woven.
  2. Determine whether you want to lengthen the pattern to accommodate the ruching/gathering. Lengthen the pattern if you want, especially the area where the drawstring gathers the garment as the gathering will shorten it at that point. eg lengthen by 3" and consider sizing up.
  3. Make a full pattern piece.
  4. Decide where you want your gathers to be. They should start in a seam and finish in a hem and can be achieved in two ways: (1) Create a seam/casing. The drawstring casing can be straight down from shoulder to the hem, gathers running diagonally from shoulder to side seam, on sleeves, up the centre of the bodice, diagonally from shoulder to hem. or (2) Use existing seams for your casing. An alternative option for creating your casing is to take advantage of you pattern's existing seams, such as the centre front or back bodice seams, princess seams, side seams, etc.
  5. Widen your existing seam allowances to create casings, or add seam allowance to your new seam. Essentially what you're trying to do is create a double drawstring casing from the seam allowances. It depends on the width of your drawstring but 3/4" seems safe.
  6. Hem garment. In order for the drawstring to emerge from the end of your casing, you need to leave an opening at the bottom hem. That means you have to hem the portion of the garment with the casing before sewing the casing seam together. Consider using a zig-zag stitch to hem both front pieces.
  7. Sew the casing seam. Before fully constructing your garment, sew the casing seam. 
  8. Finish the seam allowances and press them open. Finish the seam allowances and press open.
  9. Topstitch the seam allowances. To create the casing, topstitch the seam allowances you just pressed open on either side of the seam. Again, how wide you do your topstitching depends on your drawstring, but ½” to 5/8” should work.
  10. Create your drawstrings. Use your fabric to create your drawstrings, or you can use some sort of store-bought cording or ribbon. If you use fabric, cut long strips (longer than your seam/casings, ensuring extra length so you can tie a bow if you like) and then either sew them in a tube and turn it right side out, or fold the two long side inwards and then fold in half again and stitch.
  11. Using a safety pin or bodkin, thread your drawstrings through the casings on either side of the seam.
  12. Baste the drawstrings in place at the top of the seam. In order to secure the ends of the drawstring, baste them in place at the seam, within the seam allowance. 

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