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Ruching, Rouching, Rutching?

user-218332 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hi All,

I am working on a pattern for my neices wedding dress. The bodice has small straps as part of the bodice, with cross over bodice, fitted waist which extends to high hip leverl. She wants to have ruching and soft pleats across the bodice and all around the waist.  I have been working in miniature to try out the pattern making techiniques, but would like to see what others have done.

I am not sure how I should stabelize the finished sections other than underlining them. The fabric choices will make quite a difference here.  One she like is a very light “Bridal Silk” the other is a Dupponi.

Any and all suggestions, photos etc. would be helpful.


Judy Anne



  1. Josefly | | #1

    I recently saw a gorgeously ruched dress, created and worn by a guest at a wedding, made of dupioni. It was ruched diagonally around the low waist and up to just under the bust. It was sensational, and the dupioni was so rich looking. The skirt was gathered and full; I can't remember now if it was attached, or if the ruching somehow was released below the waist to form the full-ish skirt. The wearer was a dress-designer who had also designed the bride's gown. The skirt was knee-length in the front, tapering to about mid-calf in the back. Absolutely the prettiest thing I'd ever seen. At the top, she used lace from an heirloom tablecloth from the top of the bust up over the shoulders, around the neck, and just hanging free at the back, several inches below the neck. It looked like a strapless dress with a lace "collar" attached to the dress only in the front. So creative and elegant, I thought. Wish I had a picture of it.

    1. user-218332 | | #2

      Thanks Josefly,

      I would love to see pictures if you know anyone who might have taken some.


      Judy Anne

      1. ctirish | | #3

        I am going to play devil's advocate - just so you can see both sides of this process. Have you seen any of the episodes of Project Runway?  In one of them they need to make something that defines them as a designer. Michael does this long gown with ruching all across the bodice. The judges ripped him apart, they didn't like the way it was done or what it did to the figure of the model. I can't remember the episode but if you go to Bravo TV you may be able to figure it out. Do this may give you an insight into how the judges thought it should be done to look great. There are many ways to download an episode to watch on your PC.  If you have never watched one of these shows, just ignore all of the foul language and infighting. Now that it is over they have admitted they were told to play it up.

        For pictures you might try PatternReview.com


        1. Ralphetta | | #4

          I think the dress you are talking about was made by Malan..not Michael.  Was it the brown one?

          1. ctirish | | #5

            It could have been, I thought Michael made one later in the season that was similar, but that could be my mind playing tricks on me. 

            Thanks for keeping me honest...jane

          2. Ralphetta | | #6


            I had forgotten about Michael's blue couture dress.  I think it was more shirring than ruching.  I love ruching, but Milan's dress looked, as they said, "heavy as a log."

      2. Josefly | | #7

        Now that I read the other posts on this thread, I'm wondering if the dress I saw was shirred, not ruched. It wasn't puffy at all...the pleated/gathered fabric was nice and flat.

        1. user-218332 | | #8

          Hi all,

          I have never seen this show, and don't find a dress picture on that website that I can see any detail to find what dress it might be.

          I think people in retail possibly use ruching, shirring, gathering interchangeably,

          and I don't know if I would know the difference.

          I certainly do not want to make a dress that is "heavy as a log".  But my neice does want the ruched effect.

          So, I will continue.

          If anyone has any more ideas that might help with developing the pattern and making the garment, please write on!


          Judy Anne

          1. Ralphetta | | #9

            Michael had a blue evening gown with a swirlling shirred design on the bodice.  It had two big swirls above the bust, which the judges had him tuck in.  The idea of the dress was fine, but it looked really home made. Was that the one?

  2. Ralphetta | | #10

    I think that maybe there has been some confusion between ruching and shirring.  Ruching can be pleated or gathered.  Frequently it is a  narrow strip that is sewn down the center and then gathered up and applied as trim. It gives depth to something because it sticks away from the body/garment.  I have used it in a serpentine pattern around the lower part of an evening gown.  When you use the same fabric as the garment you get an interesting change in texture without looking too overdone.

    Many times it is used across the bust if the wearer is flat chested. Even when it is extrememly narrow and of a soft fabric it doesn't "flow."

    When I think of shirring I visualize something more grecian and drapey.

    Both are beautiful, but create very different looks.

    1. Josefly | | #11

      I think Ralphetta's right. The shirring can lay very flat and creased, and that was how the dupioni I saw was made. Sorry if I contributed to the confusion. Hope someone here can help you with the drafting, which would be quite different depending on whether you're shirring or applying ruched strips.

  3. ctirish | | #12

    Judy Anne, Have you been to the website http://www.theknot.com it is the most popular site for wedding gowns. It will take time, but you can look through many many gowns and see if you see one that is smiliar. Or better yet, have the bride look through them and see what she can find. She has probably been there many times.

  4. ctirish | | #13

    Judy Anne, I love weddings so I went to The Knot and started looking at gowns, I actually did a search on ruching.  A designer - Jim Hjelm - had several gowns come up. They are all bridesmaids dresses. I found one under Jim Hjelm Occasions - style 5662 - that has what I think you are looking for. You can look at the gowns in large and they will do a detail look too. Just turn off your popup blocker. This dress has the ruching, soft pleats from the waist up to the straps. It won't be exact but you can keep looking.  I may look more tonight, but right now, I need to sew or people will be getting I owe you's for Christmas.

    Good luck, jane

    1. user-218332 | | #14

      Thanks ctirish,

      I did look up the picture that you mentioned.

      It is very much like what reg wants, with the bodice more like Style JH8656

      So, you know what I am planning to make.

      Any tips anyone has on simple pattern making for this would be appreciated.

      Judy Anne

      1. ctirish | | #15

        Judy Anne, Have you been to the website Pattern Review ?   I believe they are having a chat session with one of the top pattern makers this week one night.  They also have a lot of imformation available for perusing.  You can  also call Vogue or Simplicity, or Butterick to ask them questions, they may be able to reference a pattern they have just for that piece of it.

        good luck, jane

        1. user-218332 | | #16

          Thanks Jane,

          I haven't seen the website.

          I will take a look.

          I have not used chat rooms or forums before, so this is all new.

          Judy Anne

          1. ctirish | | #17

            Judy Anne, Don't worry your computer skills will get better and better, it is like sewing. I think this may be your lucky day...I found one brand new pattern from Butterick that looks  like what you are trying to do.  If the pattern is close to what you are doing then you should get it and try working with the patterns pieces to see how they are put together.

            The number is B4914; it is a Misses dress - a Maggy London design. the dress is a pullover but it has shirred midriff with stay, below waist skirt - I believe that means the shirring goes down to the hips rather than ending at the waist.

            Butterick sent me an email with all of the new patterns - if you want me to forward it to you, let me know. It has an offer to purchase patterns at 40% off  with free shipping if that is a good price for you.  You may want to check the other patterns sites to see what they have for new patterns.

            If I come across any more I will let you know.  jane

          2. user-218332 | | #18

            Hi Jane

            Thanks for the pattern # I did look at it and it is very much like we want,

            It is for knits tho, so I have decided to use a Vogue pattern #2134.

            This pattern has much more stabilizing to the bodice, that I want.

            I will have some pattern making to do to make the waist and bodice more like my neice would like.

            So, thanks for everyones help.

            Judy Anne

          3. ctirish | | #19

             I am so glad you have found something to work from, for me it makes it so much easier.   I guess I will never be a designer on Project Runway, I like to look at other people's ideas and then so of put mine together from there. Which I think is fine I am not looking to be the next Michael Kors anyway.  Take  it slow and you re going to do the best work ever on this gown and everything you make for this wedding.

            We are all her to help, so ask any time. jane


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