A How-to on Adding Ruffles

May 24, 2012 in Projects




I think one year old birthday outfits are so fun to make (check out my etsy page)! I have a friend who requested this cute little outfit for her daughter…LOVED how it turned out! And, of course, her photography session was that much cuter with an adorable outfit and a talented photographer and ever so gorgeous model to start with! All of the above photographs were taken and generously provided by JHeart Photography (JHeart Photography serves the St. Charles/St. Louis Area)!


For this outfit, my friend got me a shirt to embroider/applique on with my Baby Lock Esante (which I absolutely LOVE)! And then, she purchased pants (but you could get bloomers or shorts), and I stitched ruffles to them, rainbow style (so cute; the only pitfall was all the color changes)!

Here’s the how to! Depending on how many rows you’d like and what colors you actually use will effect how much fabric you’ll need, but, we got 4″ of each ruffle.

1. Cut your fabric double the width of the finished ruffle. I ended up cutting mine down so that they were about an inch and a half wide when folded lengthwise. So, I cut each color at 3 inches and then ironed them in half lengthwise as shown below. Originally, I was just going to use the 45″ fabric width (which would be the length of the ruffle before being gathered), but, that was too long when gathered, so, I took off 8″ …so, the length will depend on the width of what you are sewing it too, but, my dimensions were 3″ x  37″ before folded or gathered.

 2. Fold right sides together, pin, and stitch the ends closed.


 Turn right side out. You should now have a pretty corner.

 Here are all my rows with closed ends.

 3. If you don’t have a serger, finish off the top edge with a skinny, short stitch length zig-zag stitch some type of overcasting stitch. If you do have a serger, serge a rolled hem with your Baby Lock Diana 🙂 (I picked a color that would be similar that wouldn’t stick out rather than making 6 thread changes, like I used blue for the darker colors and pink for the lighter, especially since the pink showed at the top, all the other layers are mostly hidden). You can serge each color with the proper color (I cheated and tied on to the next thread when threading…lots of color changes).

4. Stitch a gathering stitch on each row, needle in the center, right side of foot lined up with the rolled hem, stitch length at 5.0.

 Basting stitch on all rows in the picture below. This, I used pink thread on all, but, you might really want to take the time to use the right color (I basted first and gathered all in one step, but, you might baste, gather, and stitch your row on, starting with purple and so on to lessen thread color changes in the machine).

 5. Mark the pants or shorts with chalk or disappearing ink. I measured to see what would be the best apart so that I could get all my ruffles in a reasonable space (not going to low or high) where they still each show their color enough. For these pants, I started where the top of my first ruffle (the pink one) would be even with the top seam and measured an inch down for each row.

6. Gather your row to fit the amount of space available (I like to tie knots at each end so that it’s the exact width and my gathers don’t start falling off my gathering stitch). Pin the bottom row on the end, the center, and perhaps in between (I pinned my basted line even with my drawn line) and then feed the pants under the needle. With your needle in the center (and I like to put my stitch length (for my Baby Lock Sewing Machine) on 3.0), stitch right on your gathered stitch (scroll down for a picture of stitching a row (the pink one) on).

6. Repeat for all rows! If you did use a different color for the rolled serged edge or the basting stitch, make sure that how you stitch the next row on top conceals that serged edge or basting stitch.

Stitching on the final row!

Make sure you remove ALL pins! 🙂

Front of shirt and back of pants shown below.



Here’s a similar idea, only the ruffles are almost 3″ wide and double the length because they are sewn at the side seams, gathered, and sewn around the entire bloomers. They are also serged on the top and bottom rather than folded and ironed. This little tutu is on my etsy site! This photo was taken by my lovely friend, Jenna.

This photo was also taken by my friend, Jenna.

 Again, the photos below were taken and kindly provided by JHeart Photography!






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