Ruffles, frills, flutters - I must confess - I’m not big on them. As a designer, my personal aesthetic is more of clean edgy lines, geometry. But this season, fashion has over flooded us with just that - ruffle revolution. Think every basic garment and add a ruffle. Somewhere. Or more than one.
Even though the ruffles are starting to grow on me, I’m not planning on designing any new patterns jumping onto this trend - I mean, why spend dollars on yet another basic pattern with just something extra, when you can alter your already bought patterns? So this blog series is to help & inspire you to achieve just that.
For our first example, I worked with our crew sweater pattern in size 80. Instead of adding the waistband, I hemmed the sweater with a ruffle.
STEP1 | I decided to shorten the bodice by a 5 cm and to create a more A-line shape. Please remember to add seam allowance when creating a new partition seam or shortening/lengthening a pattern piece. Also make sure to match the changes to the other corresponding pattern pieces - for instance, when shortening the front bodice, make sure to also shorten the back bodice.
STEP 2 | Measure the bottom width of the bodice and determine the desired width of the ruffle. For this ruffle I increased the bottom width of the bodice by 2. For the height of the ruffle, keep in mind the amount you’ve shortened your original pattern to make sure your garment won’t be too short. For instance, when working with a pattern with a waistband, don’t forget to add that up to the total shortening! In this case, I shortened the bodice length by 5cm + the waistband of 4cm height, which comes to a total of 9 cm shorter. I went for a 7 cm ruffle height with a 2 cm hem. Divide the bottom width of the garment in 4 equal pieces and add notches. Also do this for the top of the ruffle.
STEP 3 | Next step is to prep the ruffle. First, close & finish the side seams of the ruffle. Finish the hem, fold it up and stitch in a small zigzag or with a twin needle. If you don’t own any fancy (sewing machine) tools to help you divide the ruffle evenly over the bottom width of your garment, then using a basting or gathering stitch comes in very handy. To create a basting or gathering stitch, set your machine to the longest stitch length. Don’t backstitch at the beginning and end of your row of stitches. This way, you should be able to pull the thread and gather the fabric.
Baste two lines of gathering stitches at the front along the top of the ruffle between the side seams, leaving tails at both ends of the stitching. Repeat this for the back. At both side seams you should have 4 tails, 2 at the front & 2 at the back.
STEP 4 | Sew your sweater by following the tutorial, up until the point of attaching the ruffle. With the right sides together, line up the ruffle around the bottom of the sweater. Match the side seams & notches of the ruffle to the side seams & notches of the sweater. Pin in place.
Use the basting threads to gather the ruffle matching it to the bottom width of the sweater. Pin everything in place and attach the ruffle to the sweater with a small zigzag or knit stitch. Remove the basting stitches and finish the seam with a serger or a big zigzag.
All done!! Admire your work! How easy was that? This principle works for adding ruffles to any garment. It’s also a great way to transform a top into a dress! In short, here are the main 4 steps to keep in mind:
Go forth and ruffle! Happy sewing!