Fabrications – Pretty in Pink (part two)

When the quilting stage was complete, I picked out a green batik fabric for the stem of my flower and for the decorative ruched trim. Both of these were constructed the same way. For the stem, I cut a bias strip of fabric 1 1/4 inches wide. For the ruched trim, I cut a strip on the cross grain 3 inches wide. After folding the strips right side together, I sewed a 1/4 inch seam down the length of the strip. I then turned the strips right side out using a tube turner and pressed them, centering the seam line on the back side.

Tube Turn

To form the ruching, I accordion folded the strips about every inch.

Accordion Folded Tube

I then set up my sewing machine with a straight stitch at 4.5 mm in length. Starting at one corner, I sewed diagonally from fold to fold (a zig zag pattern), letting my stitches comes as close to the edge as possible without leaving the fabric.

Sewing Zig Zag Pattern

When I completed the stitching, I then took one thread tail in hand and gently pulled on it while pushing the fabric in the opposite direction. I continued doing this until the complete strip was gathered and ruched.

Ruched Tube

With the flower and stem complete, I now moved on to the leaves. Using green craft felt, I cut a 4-inch square and backed it with Decor Bond. I then used a fabric pen to draw two basic leaf shapes on the felt. I wanted my leaves to have the same coloring as the stem, so I picked out a few thread colors that matched the batik fabric. Starting with the darkest shade, I thread painted the interior leaves. I then detailed them with the lighter colors.


My flower was now ready to be placed on the quilted fabric. First, I positioned the ruched stem and lightly tacked it down with a dab of fabric glue here and there. Next, I placed the leaves in position the same way. I then threaded a hand sewing needle with the tail of thread from the tip of the ruched stem and brought it to the back side, where I secured it with a knot.

Thread Tail

Finally, I attached the flower. When all was in place, I hand stitched the whole composition from the back side, bringing this project to completion.

I hope you will try some of these techniques in the near future. These little flowers are wonderful on prom dresses, hats, handbags, and other similar items. Have fun!


N. Rene West
Time Treasured



  1. Micki said,

    March 1, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Thank you for this great tutorial. Your little art quilt is lovely.

  2. Ms. D said,

    June 2, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I’m a beginner to sewing and about to purchase my first sewing machine. The one I’m looking at is a very basic model with limited capabilities. There’s preset stitches, which doesn’t allow me to choose length/width. In your experience, would you say 4 mm is a sufficient length to still do ruching? Thanks for your advice!

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