Friday, August 12, 2011

From a Dress to a Ruffle Blouse Tutorial

I have been wanting to try my hand at making a ruffle shirt for a while now. I guess I was waiting for the perfect two shirts to come along, as that is what I read you need when you are making ruffle shirts - you need two shirts so you have the same material to make the ruffles with. Well one day I had a light bulb idea - I can be looking for dresses too. So pretty much the first day I went looking for dresses I found a perfect dress to make a ruffle blouse. Let me tell you about my adventure....

So I bought the dress and let it sit for a while as I was a little fearful of my sewing skills. I wasn't sure what kind of ruffles I wanted to do or how I was going to do them. I had liked a shirt my friend has and she came over to my place with it on and the next day I went to work. Turns out as I went along the ruffles were nothing like what was on my friends shirt - it kind of took on its own life - I just had to get started.

1. I tried the dress on and made a cut mark where I wanted the length to be - then I cut it across.

2. I looked at the excess material I had to make ruffles with and went from there. I wanted the ruffles to be wide at the shoulder and get more narrow as it went down the shirt. To do that I folded the fabric over at an angle and cut. 

3. Since I was working with the bottom of the dress material, I had to sew strips of the fabric to each other to make it one long strip. I made two ruffles - one was half the length of the other one as it basically just needed to go from the shoulder to the bottom neckline. The second one was twice the length as is was going to go from the shoulder, to the bottom neckline, to the waist.
4. I sewed a seam in the middle of my fabric ruffle - my stitch length was "4". I also made sure I had lots of thread at both ends so I could pull on the threads to gather the fabric.

5. I gathered the fabric.

6. Here is is a finished gathered ruffle.

7. I pinned the ruffles to the blouse.

8. I basted the ruffles on the blouse. Basting is sewing with long stitches that are easy to remove.

9. Try the blouse on. Do what adjusting you think is necessary. I had to remove the ruffle as it was  not centered, and then I basted it again. So do yourself a favor and mark where the center is before you baste. I like to do things the hard way.

10. Machine stitch.

11. Take out basting stitches.

12. Enjoy your beautiful new blouse. 

FYI - I liked that the design of the dress was a pullover. It would probably not work with a zipper dress but who knows.
- I did not finish the edges of the ruffles as the material was t-shirt like and it did not fray.

This was a super fun project - even though I was kind of freaked to start it. This project taught me that if I just try things, the result might be good. I am totally looking for my next ruffle project now because it was fun, and I will actually wear this blouse (I can't say that about my other sewing projects).
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  1. Great job! I've got a thrifted dress I plan on turning into a shirt but haven't been brave enough yet.

  2. Super cute, you did a fabulous job! I am currently reworking both a shirt and some pants. I have done all the measuring and marking and the sewing starts tomorrow, yikes!

  3. Fantastic job and your new blouse looks gorgeous.
    Warm Regards,
    Susan B., Western MA

  4. Very creative, it turned out very cute. Thanks for sharing! I hope you can join our Miracle Makeover blog party to support a great cause and see a story about a family that will melt your heart. Visit to watch the video, for every comment left DGB will donate $1 to Friends of Kids with Cancer/Miracle Makeover until 18th. I hope to see you there!

    Many Thanks,

    Sherry, The Design Gives Back Team

  5. I love before and afters with clothing- I can't sew so I admire those that can!

  6. This is such a cute redo!! I love finding things to remake into "new" clothes for me!

  7. super cute shirt, wish I could sew. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  8. That is truly fantastic! I love it so much. I'm going to have to try this one of these days.