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Everything you wanted to know about Rufflers, and some things you didn't feel the need to ask

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When I bought my 1928 15 Class Singer treadle, in the 1970s, I went to the Singer Shop and bought it a Ruffler. It was Very Expensive, and I got an amazing amount of use out of it, as the fashions and soft furnishing styles of the time tended to the frilly..
Rufflers were one of the earliest of the fancy attachments for sewing machines, and they are a little bit magical. And a bit fierce, too..
And when I was sorting and testing the big basketful I had awaiting preparation for adding to the Stock, I realised that there were more sorts of Rufflers than even I had realised, so I made this page for your enlightenment..
Or amusement
Or something..

The numbers are my Stock Numbers - if a price is given the item is in stock.. Some are from sets and a link is given to the relevant page.
All Singer and other Low Shank Rufflers are supplied with instructions and a worked sample so you know I've tested them.. On the 1928 Singer treadle...

And here's the beast in action (and the machine in question, still going strong)

And from another angle..
The ruffler works by making little pleats in the fabric, using a spring-steel plate with sharp little teeth, and the action is driven by the needle-bar motion - this is a neat way of driving a repetitive motion for sewing-machine feet, and is used for quite a lot of different attachments... Later versions have a variety of settings, but the earliest ones pleat on every stitch..

I only have a drawing of this one.. It's the earliest Singer type as far as I know..
Interestingly, it appears to work the "wrong way round"..

OF107 Earliest type of Singer ruffler that I have had dealings with (There is an earlier one (left), but they are very uncommon and I've never held one) Pleats on every stitch; note the adjuster which is a lever on a ridged plate.
I think these were supplied with Transverse shuttle machines (12 and 13 class) and early vibrating shuttle machines (27 and 28) (Added later - I have just been informed that these indeed work on the early New Family/12 class machines)
Out of stock

BC008 Every stitch. As far as I know, these were only made like this for Back-clamping 66 class machines.
Very elegant and nicely engraved; adjusted with the knurled wheel at the back

SF012 Every stitch. These would have been supplied with the early 27 and 28 class long-bobbin machines, and the 15 class. There is a version for 66 class back-clampers, so presumably for both varieties of these, too. Adjusted by the small internal knurled wheel
Side Clamp £6.50

SF013a Earlier type of 5 + 1 Ruffler (pleats on all stitches or every fifth one). Changes between the settings with the lever at the right-hand end, and adjusts with the knurled knob on top.
This one took me by surprise - I had seen several before I realised that they adjusted between stitch modes..
Side-clamp £6
BC006 for Back-clampers £8

SF013 Later version of the 5 + 1 Ruffler.
This one changes between modes with the lift lever at the back.
Supplied with later 15s, 66, 99, and 201 machines.
Very easy to use; £6

SF014 1-6-12 Singer 86642 (as far as I can see, this is the only one with a Singer stock number)
This is the type I bought originally - quite the pinnacle of the art..
Ruffles on every stitch, every 6th, and every 12th, and has an "off" setting.. Luxury!
OF284 Also (161561) for Slant shank machines (not shown as virtually identical); £15

OF297 Now this is very like (but not identical to) the one on the left, except that it has an adapter fitting to make it work with older-style Bernina machines. Rare, new.

FS088 Greist ruffler and other feet; £25

OF296 Very like the SF012 version above, but made by Greist.

FS057 Low Shank. Also made by Greist, in a different shape. With the matching shirring foot

This elegant beast is from a Wheeler and Wilson 9 machine and is probably the most beautiful of its kind..
It's from FS059 on this page and has a Shirring plate (see below)

This one is from a New Home top-clamping set - FS065 on this page
Also rather elegant of line

This one is a bigger version of the Greist, with 1-6-12 capability, from FS042 on this page
Above are three Shirring Plates, to be used when you wish to ruffle in the middle of a piece of fabric, rather than on the edges. From right to left OF065 for VS machines, OF060 for class 66 and 99 machines, OF064 for 15 and 201 class machines. All £4.50 each

Images from Other People's Collections

These images are from Annette York, whom I thank. The first three show a ruffler for the New Davis Vertical Feed machine from about 1885. The next two show a later version from a machine of about 1914
The differences in style are quite subtle.

These two images show the OF107 type above working (and very nicely too) on a Singer 12 class New Family machine from approximately 1877. Photos from Mary T, many thanks
My address is:-
Helen Howes
Helen Howes Sewing Machines
4, The Raveningham Centre, Beccles Road, Raveningham, Norfolk, NR14 6NU. United Kingdom
01508 548137
From outside the UK dial:- 0044 1508 548137
I'm open 11 till 5 every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays