Eyelet Ruffle

Saturday’s Stash: Eyelet Ruffle

Eyelet (pronounced aye-lett) is a lightweight cotton or cotton blend that’s decorated with shaped holes bound with thread, much like buttonholes or eyelets (hence the name). Sometimes they’re round holes with a simple floral motif around them, and other times they’re part of a complex embroidery design. In nicer eyelet, the edges are scalloped.

Eyelet can be bought as a flat lace, a pre-gathered ruffle, or as wide fabric. Eyelet lace is often used to decorate historic undergarments, such as a ruffle around the hem of a petticoat. Eyelet fabric can be used to make summer blouses or skirts, and is often used for children’s or infant’s clothing. Today, though, we’re looking specifically at a pre-gathered eyelet ruffle.

Tips For Working With Eyelet
You can use pre-gathered eyelet for many things—just use your imagination. As I said above, it works very well as the ruffle for a petticoat, especially if you add rows of tiny pintucks above it. You can dye a length of eyelet to match your fabric and add it to the hem of a full skirt. It could be used as ruffled cap sleeves for a sundress. You could sew rows of it onto a base fabric and fashion it into a ruffled handbag, or using the same idea, make a pair of ruffled baby shorts. Play around with it and see what ideas you get.

When you cut eyelet, any embroidery that is along the cut edge will begin to fray. Try to avoid cutting through any large motifs, but if it can’t be helped, then take a few blanket or button-hole stitches to secure the loose thread. For a cohesive and luxurious look, try to match any large embroidery patterns at the seams.

Use a needle suitable for the weight of the main fabric. You may need to adjust your stitch length while sewing over a thicker patch of embroidery, but don’t forget to return your stitch length to normal once you’ve passed over the embroidery.

Example of the Day
This is a scalloped eyelet ruffle that’s pre-gathered into a ruffle. It’s heavily embroidered and has a scalloped pattern on the edge. It’s cream-colored, and the embroidery thread has a sheen to it, giving the eyelet a luxurious appeal. The gathered edge is bound with a narrow bias tape, so it has a finished appearance.

I bought several yards of this eyelet ruffle at an independent fabric store in southern California called M & L. The eyelet should be hand washed, laid flat to dry, and pressed on the wrong side with a cool iron, but only if necessary.


Embroidered Eyelet Ruffle

I plan to use this eyelet to make a ruffle around the hem of a Victorian petticoat. I just hope I bought enough!


Have you worked with eyelet fabric or eyelet lace? Did you encounter any special difficulties?

About Lisha Vidler

I am a sewing instructor living near Memphis, Tennessee.
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