As a part of this project, I have utilized a new attachment for my sewing machine. It is not really new - I acquired a couple of these for about 50 cents from a thrift store years ago. But I have never really needed it. I just thought it might be useful one day. Finally, I DID need it and it IS useful.
Let me introduce the Singer Ruffler. This attachment makes pretty ruffles, tucks or pleats. I am primarily using it for gathering the skirts of my Hawaiian sundresses and it has saved me loads of time.
Since I am a newbie to this attachment, I did break several needles. There is not a lot of clearance under the attachment for fabric. Because of this, it is difficult to tell if the foot is actually all the way down against the feed dogs. My needles were breaking because I had not lowered the lift lever and my needle was hitting the gathering blade. With it properly lowered, there is plenty of clearance for the needle and less needle breakage. It was one of those Duh! moments. Now I double check everytime in lowering the lift lever and attachment before sewing.
Another difficulty with my attachments occurred because they had not been used in a long time. A couple drops of oil at all of the moving points loosened things up and everything slid like it should.
Technically, I should be able to gather and sew my skirt to the bodice at the same time. I didn't do that this time. I am jumping from one size to the next and I have to adjust the gather ratio each time. Plus I am still a bit nervous because of all the needle breakage. But as I become more comfortable, I will give it a try!
I did a quick net search and discovered these attachments (in one form or another) are still available for purchase for about $50, for many machines. But before dropping that kind of cash, check out thrift stores, ebay, etc for the exact same thing at a lower price.
If anyone is curious, I am sewing these dresses on a vintage Singer 503A Rocketeer and a Babylock Evolve. While this is not an industrial set-up, it is working amazing well. One of these days I will be able to afford and find space for a couple of industrial machines.
I would love to hear from anyone else who has used this great attachment!