Technique Tutorial: Ruching


“The Tooth Fairy” cushion by Laura Jenkins Thompson

Designed by Laura Jenkins Thompson, this precious “Tooth Fairy” cushion is featured in issue #70 of Australian Smocking & Embroidery. An adorable picture smocked fairy dances among sparkling seed beads on the front of the silk dupioni cushion, while a piped pocket on the back keeps precious teeth safe until the Tooth Fairy’s arrival. Ruched green silk ribbon edges the cushion, ribbon bows trim the top corners and a ribbon loop completes the cushion. Below, follow the step-by-step guide to recreating the delicate silk ribbon ruching featured on the cushion’s edging. The complete how-to for the pillow is in issue #70 of AS&E.

NOTE: Contrasting thread was used for photographic purposes. A No. 18 chenille needle and 1/2-inch-wide silk satin ribbon was used to create the ruched edging shown on this cushion.


1. Using a water-soluble fabric marker, mark 12mm (1/2 inch) intervals on the left hand side of the ribbon.

2. On the right hand side of the ribbon, measure up 6mm (1/4 inch), and then mark at 12mm (1/2 inch) intervals. These marks will be half way between the marks on the left hand side.


3. Using one strand of thread approximately 92cm (36 inches) long, begin stitching at a diagonal with two long running stitches from the first mark on the right to the first mark on the left at the ditch of the selvage.

4. Overlap the ribbon selvage and continue making two running stitches diagonally across the length of the ribbon.


5. After several repeats, pull the thread to gather the ribbon.

6. Continue stitching along the entire length of the ribbon. Pull up the ribbon to fit the edge of the cushion and tie off.

Check out issue #70 of Australian Smocking & Embroidery for the complete guide to creating this adorable “Tooth Fairy” cushion. This issue of the magazine also includes six other adorable projects for little girls.

Happy Sewing,