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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Simple Ruffle Dress

I posted a picture of a dress I made Amelia on my personal Facebook and received a lot of comments from friends and questions on how I made it. And to be honest, it was super easy and a quick project! Since I had so many people asking, I thought I'd just compile some of the places I got the idea and a quick how-to for anyone interested in making their own ruffle dress!

So first, here's the dress...

My model was not being cooperative at all. In fact, most of my pictures during my attempt to get this one look like this...
The blonde curl blur.

So, she wasn't much help.

I got the idea from a skirt I made using this great tutorial. This is one of my favorite blogs for fun sewing projects so if you don't read it yet, you should. Here is a skirt I made Amelia earlier this summer using her tutorial. It's very simple and super cute!

I also saw this great dress and tutorial that served as some inspiration. But what I did was much simpler than that since I cheated and used a pre-made tshirt instead of sewing a bodice.

So how to make this dress in a few quick easy steps.

First, I found a plain black 4t tshirt for the base.

Next I cut out my 4 fabrics. I cut 4 ruffle pieces and 3 connector pieces. The sizes depends on how big you want the dress and how much ruffle. I measured the fabric around the tshirt + 1 inch for seams and used that length as a connector length. The ruffle length was double the connector length.

To get an idea of how wide to make each piece, measure the length you'd like the entire skirt to be. Divide that by 4 then add an inch for your seams. So if you want the skirt section to be 12 inches, you'd make each connector piece 4 inches wide. The ruffle pieces should be an additional inch wide (so 5 inches in this example) so they lay on top of each other and to leave some fabric to hem each piece at the bottom.

Really, doing the math to cut out each piece is probably the trickiest part. it doesn't have to be an exact science. My connectors were about 22inches x 5 inches and the ruffles were 45 inches x 6 inches. Everyone following along? I really suggest reading Dana at Made's tutorial. She's a professional. I am not. She's much better at explaining all of this. I used the same idea to cut my pieces.

So now that you have everything you need, get to sewing! I hemmed each of my ruffle pieces first so that would be done with, then sewed a basting strip a long the top of each piece. Only do this to the ruffle pieces, leave the connectors raw. Please note if any of your fabrics should face a certain direction so you don't hem them upside down. That'd be silly. Then sew everything into circles by sewing the 2 ends together. Gather the ruffle section with your basting strip to fit with each connector piece so that all of the pieces are the same size. HERE is a great tutorial on gathering and ruffling if you are a beginner.

I measured a spot on the tshirt where I wanted the skirt section to start. You can hold the fabric up to the tshirt to get an idea of how it will look and where you'd like it to sit. If you did an empire waist, you'd probably need to add an additional ruffle or make much longer ruffles than mine were. If you want it lower, you can always leave out a layer. It can really be whatever you'd like and I promise, once you figure it all out, it's quite easy to make changes.

Where the tshirt is gathered is wear it's attached to the skirt section.

Now this is where I recommend veering a bit from Dana's tutorial. While she started at the bottom, I'd suggest starting at the top sewing the top layer, simply because it's easier to attach just one piece to the tshirt than it is to attach the whole skirt and keep it straight around the tshirt. If you prefer to sew the whole skirt section together than sew it onto the tshirt, that works too. I had a hard time keeping my skirt even around the tshirt doing it this way. It's a lot easier with only 1 layer to adjust the tshirt so you don't get a wave going on when you sew it all together.

You'll sew it right sides together with the skirt inside out and upside down over the right side out tshirt. The layers will go tshirt on the inside, ruffle piece, then connector piece on the outside and you will sew all 3 pieces together. Woo. Can you track that? Pin well and flip it right side out to make sure 1. you're going to sew it so the hems are on the bottom, ruffle layer will be on top and the connector piece under the ruffle. and 2. you have a straight line all the way around the tshirt. With a stretchy tshirt, it's easy for it to stretch and become uneven so I usually check then sew.

Now that you've done 1 layer, you're pretty much done with the whole dress! Or atleast, done with the hard part. Here's a few pictures of some of the layers flipped up so you can see how it all goes together.
So simply attach the next layer to the bottom of the connector piece. Flip the next layers ruffle and connector piece inside out and upside down. Keep the main part of the dress right side up and move the ruffle out of the way so it doesn't get caught up in the next layer. You're layers will be connector piece, 2nd layer ruffle, 2nd layer connector piece. Remember to keep the right sides together. If you have a hard time picturing how it will work out, pin well, flip everything right side out so you can see. You don't have to work hard to keep the layer straight anymore so it's a pretty quick, pin and sew. Continue on with as many layers as you'd like. The last layer is just a ruffle without a connector.

And just like that, you have a cute fun ruffle dress! Super easy! I promise. It seems confusing but once you get the hang of it, it's a quick, easy project, great for any holiday or in any fun color scheme you can dream up!

Happy sewing everyone!

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