This is not a can opener. It is a special attachment for sewing machines that can make pleats and ruffles on fabric. The foot works much faster than making ruffles by hand and it can stitch a ruffle down to a second layer of fabric at the same time.
Yes. It is a great idea. But it isn't new-fangled or anything. The ruffle foot was patented in the late 1800's! You can buy one for your machine for about $20. I bought mine at Sears.
Check your machine's manual for sources or have a look at Charlene Phillip's book, The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook. This is a helpful guide to keep on your shelves - there is stuff out there you've never even heard of. Charlene knows her stuff and will walk you through setting up the right attachments for your machine.
Be sure to check your needle position! The ruffle foot may require the needle to move to the left or right. If you make a mistake, your needle will hit the metal and break.
The ruffle foot works by scooping up the fabric with a little fork and forcing the pleat under the needle for a stitch. Watch this super-short Pfaff ruffler foot demo video to see how it works. You can adjust the distance between gathers. Here, my pleats are about one inch apart.
On this strip of red ribbon, I've made teeny-tiny ruffles. Helpful, if you're into the Elizabethan thing, I guess.
Now if I could just find ruffle projects that don't look cheesy! A ruffled pillow might be good. Like this pillow, made from an old bridesmaid's dress. Or this pillow, made from strips of t-shirt. Any project ideas you can think of for ruffles?