Monday, November 21, 2011

Rough Guide to Ruffs - part 3

Here's the final part in making an Elizabethan ruff

Step 5
Check the size.

Gathering the ruff and checking the size

Draw a circle with a 4cm diameter, and add a centre circle for the neck of 12mm diameter.
I recommend using a photocopy of the circle pattern - I drew my original pattern in pencil and it smudged the fabric.
Check to see if your ruff matches these circles.
The neck edge (the circumference of the 12mm circle) should measure 38mm.

Note: the beads and folded edge will sit underneath so that they don't show.

Troubleshooting Step 5:
If the size of your beads or the thickness of the fabric varies from the sample, your ruff will need to be adjusted to fit the circle -
If the outside edge is too long, remove some beads until it fits the circle.
If the outside edge is too short, add beads (adding gathering stitches at neck edge to match).

If the neck edge is too short, loosen the gathering thread until it fits, adjusting the folds evenly.
If the neck edge is just a little too long (maybe because you had to add beads or your fabric is thick), remove a few gathering threads (you will have to remove a corresponding length of beads to match) - the bead edge can then be slightly loosened evenly all round.
If the neck edge is far too long then the fabric is probably too thick. Re-make the ruff omitting the extra folded layer on the neck edge.

Whatever adjustments you may make, be sure that the thread ends from the gathering thread and the beading thread exit at the same point.

Step 6

The topside of the ruff

The underside of the ruff

When you are happy with your ruff, fasten the threads by tying. If you want your doll to wear it, make the knots so they can be undone. You can secure the knots with a tiny dab of glue if you wish. Trim any excess fabric from the ends on the underside. The gathering thread can be left long as a decorative tie with tiny beads or tassels on the ends.

Step 7 (optional)
Neck lining.
A piece of fabric can be glued neatly to the neck edge if desired. This may be necessary if you decided to have a raw unfolded edge as described in Step 5. Trim flush with neck edge to neaten. The neck edge is best done after the gathers are pulled tight and shaped in a circle, to avoid puckering on the neck band.

You can cut the bias strip on an angle shallower than 45 degrees, but there is more risk of having a frayed edge on your ruff.

If you want to rescue any waste fabric, it can be soaked in water then rinsed well to remove most of the glue.

Recommended reading:
Janet Arnold 'Patterns of Fashion 4'

That's all!



  1. Very interesting tutorial! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Oh my goodness Glenda, these are amazing!! I haven't read thru the tutorial yet but I will soon when my brain is functioning again :)

    Thanks for your note on my blog, I sure am a lucky girl because as you know I adore Lidi's baskets.

  3. Glenda gracias por tomarte tu tiempo para hacer esta gran tutorial, lo llere con calma.....a ver si puedo hacerlo yo.
    besitos ascension

  4. Nice! I made myself a real life one for an Elizabethan riding outfit I wear to the local Renaissance Faire. It's much smaller and simpler than the method you've shown here. :] Your mini looks wonderful, just like the real deal!

  5. Thank you so much for this great tutorial. It's brilliant and so simple!

  6. Thanks ladies!

    Brae - nice to find another historical re-enactor! I've just been looking at the book The Tudor Tailor, it's very good :)

  7. Fantastic tutorial - and so good to have you back!


  8. This is just simply Amazing, Glenda! I LOVE everything Elizabethan! And this is so detailed and precisely PERFECT!
    Don't you DARE try this in a smaller scale!!!! :)