Ruching is a design detail most often found on garments, although it can also be found on footwear and accessories. Fabric strips are pleated, fluted, or gathered together to create a folded and ripple-like effect. Ruching can look like draping, a gathered seam, or have a drawstring casing with a tie. Both woven and knitted garments can be ruched.

We see ruching every season. But because it’s having a trendy fashion moment, you’ll see more of it for a while. You’ll find ruching on any garment, and in all sorts of areas on a garment. Side seams, princess seams, back seams, sleeves, skirt fronts, button stands and necklines are the most commonly ruched areas on clothing items.

Here are some examples.

Ruching makes a garment look more substantial and interesting by adding depth and texture. Excessive draped ruching has a dramatic visual effect. When ruching is strategically positioned, especially in a patterned garment, it can even out lumps and bumps thereby smoothing out the body’s silhouette. Ruching can also narrow or taper a garment and provide some structure.

Ruching does not have to create a form-fitting appearance. The design detail can appear on voluminous garments too. Check out the ruching on these sleeves, and how it amplifies the volume creating an exaggerated architectural effect.

Most of my clients enjoy ruched garments of some sort. Every so often, ruching can also make a garment feel less than fab by adding too much bulk, too much structure, or too much pouf. Sometimes ruching can feel too constricting, and other times it simply looks too maximal. The devil is in the details.

Generally, I like garment ruching. I don’t actively seek out ruched garments, but if it’s part of a garment that works well and feels good, I will happily wear the design detail. How about you?