Easy Rococo Trims, Ruffles and Carnations

Designer: Janelle Marie

Instagram: @Seams.come.true

Skill level: Intermediate



  Read Janelle's Interview here.


This tutorial will take you through several ways of making historically-inspired trim and ruffles to add dimension and decoration to your sewing projects! We will be using the scallop rotary blade to prevent fraying.

Tools and Materials:




    Style 1 - Single Line Narrow Trim

    1. Lay your fabric flat on your cutting mat. The length of your fabric strips will depend on how much trim you need. I'll be using a 1:2 gathering ratio for this example so:
      1. If you need 12 inches of ruffles, you will need to cut 24inches of fabric strips
      2. Because this is a narrow version, each strip will be 2 inches wide
      3. For 12 inches of trim, your final measurement of cut fabric will be 24 x 2 inches
    2. Using your rotary cutter, scalloped blade and 1 x 12” acrylic ruler as a guide, cut your desired length of fabric.
      1. Make sure the rounded design of the blade is pointing away from the center of your fabric strips
      2. If your fabric is not long enough to cut your trim in one piece, you can attach multiple sections together using a french seam to hide the joined raw edges, press well to make it blend together even more



    1. Take your cut strip of fabric and fold it in half long ways. You may choose to iron it to make the center line visible but I don’t usually find that necessary on such narrow strips.
    2. While the strip is still folded, take your needle and thread, knot the end and make loose whip stitches 6 inches down the folded edge. Pull your thread tight until those 6 inches of stitches measure 3 inches then backstitch to hold the gathers in place.
    3. Repeat this until you have reached the end of your strip, knot your thread and clip the excess.
    4. You can either open and attach the trim as is to your project or use your iron to press it open for a more period-appropriate look.



    1. Pin the trim to your project to check placement, size and length.
    2. Attach the trim to your project using tiny prick stitches hidden in the “gutter” or crease of your trim.
    3. If you are unhappy with the placement once sewn on, my favorite tool to remove the tiny stitches is the OLFA AK-5 Art Knife.


    Style 2 - Double Line Wide Trim

    1. This is very similar to the narrow trim method except for two things: Measurements and gathering placement. For this example, I want my trim to be 4” wide and 12” long when attached so I'm going to cut each strip 5” wide to accommodate the gathering and slight “poof” I want in the center.
      1. Cut one 5” x 24” strip using your scalloped rotary blade, mat and ruler
    2. Measure 1" from edge and either mark or iron that line so it remains visible
    3. Repeat for other edge



    1. In the same way we did for the single narrow trim, whipstitch 6” of the folded edge but do not gather or back stitch yet
    2. With a second needle and thread, whipstitch the other folded edge until the lengths of the stitched portions match
    3. Pull both threads until the stitched sections measure 3”, backstitch
    4. Repeat until you get to the end of your fabric strip, tie off and trim excess thread
    5. Press flat with your iron if desired
    6. Pin your trim onto your project to check placement and length
    7. Use tiny prick stitches in the “gutters” of your trim to attach it. Sew both lines of gathers.



    Style 3 – Gathered Ruffles

    1. These lay a little flatter than the previous two trims due to the type of stitching and are great to add to areas of your project that you want to lay a little more flatly. Begin by cutting your desired length of strips using a 1:4 gathering ratio. In this example, I cut mine 5”x24” to equal 6” of ruffle
    2. Before stitching the gathers, consider adding some decorative lace or other edge treatment to the un-gathered side of the ruffle
    3. Mark or iron to mark 1” from the edge. Make a single line of running stitches 1/8 - 1/2" apart depending on how tightly ruffled you want your strip to be



    1. Gather down to 6” and backstitch. Knot and trim off excess
    2. Iron flat if desired



    1. At this point you can attach your ruffle to your project as is (with a prick stitch) or layer with a narrow trim, beading or fabric florals for an extra luxe look


    Style 4 – Carnations

    1. Cut one strip of fabric 24” x 1.5” using your scalloped rotary blade and mat (or you may use similarly sized ribbon)
    2. Make a single line of running stitches down the center of the strip
    3. Gather down to 6” and back stitch



    1. Sew the ends together with a simple whipstitch, knot and trim off excess
    2. You may attach your carnation as is or iron flat before attaching depending on which look you like better



    Thank you for taking the time to read through this! I hope it is helpful on your own fabulously extra Rococo project! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for any questions