Decorative Details

Gathered Seams

Areas which are to be gathered can be done by one of the following methods:

  • Machine baste at 1 cm and 1.5 cm from cut edge to be gathered. Pull both top and bobbin threads to gather the fabric.
  • Zigzag over cord, string, or dental floss without catching the cord in the machine stitch. Pull the cord to gather the fabric.
  • Some sewing machines have a gathering attachment. Use as directed in the sewing machine manual.


Ruffles are strips of fabric cut on either the straight of grain or the bias. The fabric is folded in half, pressed, gathered, and applied to a flat surface. For minimum fullness, the fabric should be twice the length of the area to which it is to be attached. A fabric strip three times the length of the area will provide a very full ruffle. The wider the ruffle, or the more sheer or soft the fabric, the fuller the fabric should be.

Ruffles can have a narrow hemmed edge or they can be cut double the finished width then folded and pressed in half. The folded ruffle exposes no raw fabric edge and is less time consuming to do, but it does take more fabric.

Ruffles cut on the bias have an appealing soft, gathered look.


Tucks can be very decorative. The folds are generally formed on the outside of the fabric. The wider the tuck, the more fabric required. Tucks can be sewn over cord or they can be crossed with other tucks.

Image Source: Pixabay


Pleats are folds of fabric which can be soft, or sharp and crisp. Pleats can be pressed one way or pressed in different directions to obtain a different look. Pleats can vary in depth.

  Image Source: Pexels

Standards for Evaluating Pleats, Tucks, Gathers and Ruffles

  1. Tucks and pleats should be straight and even.
  2. Tucks and pleats are best in fabrics which are suited to these techniques.
  3. Ruffles must have ample fullness and depth.
  4. Ruffles and gathers should be evenly distributed with no large pleats.
  5. Seam allowances on ruffles should be neatly finished.

Home decorating often includes decorative detail such as ribbon, embroidery, braid, beads, sequins, bows, applique, stitchery, and lace. The decoration is either incorporated during project assembly or it is applied after the project is complete.

Standards for Evaluating Decorative Detail

  1. The decoration should enhance the item, not overpower it.
  2. The cost should be considered as well as the durability.
  3. The decoration should be unique, safe, and easy to apply.
  4. The decoration should be compatible with the decorator fabric in terms of weight, design, and care requirements.
  5. The trim used in corners should be neatly joined, using a technique such as mitred joining.
Image Source: Pixabay