Ruffler Foot Made Sew Easy It's Hands Free!

If you've ever used a ruffler foot you will know you need to guide your fabric carefully.

I've been making a Victorian Gown. That means lots of ruffley goodness. I have about 150 meters of ribbon I'm using on this project most of which I've been pleating using my sewing machines ruffler foot. 
Carefully guiding that much yardage through would drive me insane!

I needed a way to make it easy and fast without needing a lot of concentration.

I needed to automate guiding that ribbon through.

It's so easy and simple and effective I can't believe I didn't think of this earlier.

Bustle - Analysis of Dimensions

Tampico style bustle
1880 Bustle - Met Museum Accession Number: C.I.38.23.282

1880 Bustle

I wish the Met Museum provided dimensions for this bustle, but they haven't so I made some guesstimates.

The creases and folds make it hard to gauge estimates but I gave it a go.


  • Waistband 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches wide.
  • Ties on the front approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide and of twill tape or similar - they certainly curl like twill tape. 
  • Bound edges approx 1/4 inch.
  • 6 rows of box pleats each pleat approx 1 1/2 inches wide.
  • Number of pleats per row:
    • row 1 - 11 pleats
    • row 2 - 10 pleats with a join in the fabric on the second pleat on the left side
    • row 3 - 11 pleats
    • row 4 - 12 pleats
    • row 5 - 12 pleats
    • row 6 - 12 pleats

  • There is a small pleat into the waistband at each side to shape the fabric to the hip, approx 1 1/4 inches forward from the pleated ruffles.
  • The pleats appear to be either longer or less overlapped toward the hem.
  • The length seems to be just below the buttocks.


Stitching can be seen on the underside of the bias binding and look to be large machine stitches with the bobbin threaded in white.

The ruffles are supported by a base fabric. The supporting fabrics can just be seen at the center back hem under the pleats. It looks as though there are 2 layers, one may be a conservation layer, however only the Met could clarify either way.

The weave of the support fabrics is visible. The finer of which is probably a plain cotton or linen, the second layer is possibly a canvas.

The ruffles seem to be of a coarser hessian or horsehair fabric, possibly a double layer and are stitched to the support fabric.

The binding seems to be a slightly finer weave then that of the pleats.

And finally the fabric for the sides and front are most likely a standard undergarment linen.

What do you think the fabrics could be?