Adding Ruffles- A Simple Skirt

adding ruffles

This is not the post I was going to share with you today. You know those projects- the ones that have you beat before you pull out the pins? The projects that remind you that you should take the sage advice you offer. Like don’t sew over pins, you’ll break a needle. Measure twice, cut once- that’s a good one. Or how about don’t try to snip threads on a finished garment with your full size shears…. The kind of project that where your bobbin runs out of thread three inches before the end of the project?

empty bobbin

The good news is that the project is complete! And next week I’m going to have a great tutorial for you. Seriously I’m really excited about how it turned out- I can’t wait to show you. It will come complete with printable pattern pieces for 12 & 18 month sizes. But since it was not quite ready for you, today we are going to get ready for it by practicing our ruffles.

Adding Ruffles

I’m going to construct a super simple skirt to put my ruffle on. This is what you’ll need.

skirt pattern

Cut 2 Skirt pieces and 1 Ruffle. 

Here are my materials:

This is a skirt I have not worn in years. But I keep pulling it out of the giveaway bag. I can’t seem to part with it. So I’ve made the decision to put it on my baby…so there.

Helloooooo waist band. Simple and easy! The piece of elastic you cut for your waistband should be about an inch smaller than your child’s waist measurement.

Basic Skirt Assembly

Once you have cut your pieces, sew up the side seams on either side of the skirt. Turn over a small amount of fabric at the bottom and hem it. (If you have added an inch to your pattern piece you’ll have a 1/2″ seam allowance on each side)

Flip it over and press. You have a skirt!

Adding a Ruffle

Hem the long edges of your rectangle. You will now add your basting stitches. Lengthen your stitch. You may find it helps to also loosen the tension of your stitch. Remember, basting stitches are made to come out.

* A Good Tip- When you get finished hemming, basting, gathering, and then stitching your ruffle on to your garment, there will be a lot of threads. You may find it helpful to use a contrasting thread for your gathering stitches. There is nothing worse than realizing you’ve been ripping out the wrong thread line…..

My gathering lines are green. You want to sew 2 stitching lines. Once the ruffle is gathered, you’ll affix it to your garment by stitching down the center of these two lines. This will help hold your gather where you want it.

Two lines also help because, especially with long stretches, you run the risk of a thread breaking. If you lose one line, you can gather the second without having to go back to your machine and start over.

Find the loose thread at the end. Separate out the bobbin thread of one stitching line (I use the bottom) and pull –GENTLY. You’ll rearrange the gathering as needed to keep it even. This takes some tinkering, time, and practice. And patience. Lots of patience.

Sew your ruffle into a circle when you have gathered it to the appropriate length.

Go out and Play!

And outta here….

We’re linking up at:

Blissful & Domestic

I'm a Fan of My 1929 Charmer Blog!


{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Amanda August 9, 2012, 8:19 am

    I have fallen in love with my sewing machine agian so I am excited to explore your blog. I am a new follower from blog working wednesday I would love a follow back at

    • onceuponasewingmachine August 9, 2012, 4:17 pm

      Headed over to check it out! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Cathy@My1929Charmer August 14, 2012, 8:25 pm

    I know why you couldn’t thrift it away, that is an adorable skirt! Now it looks adorable on your daughter, and she was meant for ruffles. I love to sew and have for many years. not my sewing focuses on home dec. A very cute skirt and you can now love it on your daughter cause she wears it well. Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration with Sunday’s Best – you helped make the party a success!

    • onceuponasewingmachine August 14, 2012, 9:25 pm

      Thank you! The benefit of her still be such a tiny bean is it really didn’t take very much material…I could plan something for her for next season yet!

  • Pam August 20, 2012, 6:49 pm

    Fabulous refashion!!! I just love ruffles as they’re not hard to do (once you get the hang of it) and they really make an outfit pretty and girlie. Great tutorial on how to sew a ruffle: clear and easy to follow. And a very, cute, little skirt!

    • onceuponasewingmachine August 20, 2012, 8:42 pm

      Thanks for stopping by the page! I’ve recently really got the hang of the ruffle, although I’m not going to lie I have been eyeing up a ruffle foot for my machine…

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