How to Sew Ruffles on a Dress: Ruffles 3 Ways

Posted by on Jun 6, 2013 in Sewing | Comments


dress ruffles

Ruffles can really dress up a dress! There are a few different ways you can accomplish this, and the best method for how to sew ruffles on a dress depends on where you want to add the ruffles.

Here’s how to sew ruffles on a dress, depending on the type of ruffles you are adding:

If you are adding ruffles to the bottom of a dress, you can follow the steps for gathering fabric by machine. Check out this post for the how-to. Once you have your ruffle, pin it to the bottom of the dress (make sure to match up any seams on the ruffle to the body of the dress), right sides together, and sew. If you are having a difficult time maintaining the evenness of the ruffles while sewing, you can also hand baste the ruffle in place before machine sewing. Once the ruffle is sewn on, hem the ruffle and finish the inside seam. With this method you can easily play around with the length and fullness of the ruffle.

If you are adding ruffles to the front of a dress, like on the button band of a shirt dress or on a wrap dress, you will probably want your ruffes to have a bit more drape to them. This can be achieved by cutting the ruffle on the bias of the fabric. I recently constructed a wrap dress from a pattern that had a pretty ingenious method for cutting a long ruffle on the bias without using yards and yards of fabric: the ruffle was cut in a circular coil shape. As a result, the ruffle had a nicely rounded bottom edge, draped beautifully, and because of the way it was cut, required no additional ruffling. It’s now my favorite method for how to sew ruffles on a dress. This method might involve a lot of trial and error if you’re starting from scratch, but it’s worth it’s worth it if you don’t have a never-ending supply of yardage.

Just like with the previous method, once your ruffle is prepared, pin in place, matching any seams. Ruffles cut on the bias might require more pinning and unpinning due to the slight stretch of the fabric. Sew, and then finish the inside seam and raw edge of the ruffle. A narrow rolled hem will work best of this kind of ruffle, and it’s a good opportunity to invest in a hemmer foot for your sewing machine if you don’t have one already. It makes a rolled hem much, much easier.

Another option for adding ruffles to a dress is to add them in layers around the body of the dress. This works best when you are using a tube dress as your base. It’s a really cute option for little girls but works for adult women, too! The ruffles you will use for this dress are called circular ruffles, and they resemble a donut when you cut them out: a larger circle with a smaller circle cut out of the center. The size difference between the inner and outer circles will dictate the amount of ruffle: a larger inner circle will give you softer, drapier ruffles while a smaller inner circle will result in a more voluminous ruffle. The length of the ruffles can be as long or as short as you want. It’s a good idea to hem the ruffles before adding them to the dress. To sew the ruffles on the dress, start from the bottom hem of the dress, layering the ruffles slightly as you go. The idea is to cover the stitching of the ruffle underneath with the hem of the ruffle you are adding.

Have you added ruffles to a dress? What’s your favorite method?

If you’re in a ruffle mood, be sure to check out all the great dress sewing patterns with ruffles available on Craftsy.

Comments

  1. Ginger says:

    Could you share the name if that wrap dress pattern?

  2. Ok, i feel really dense, i cannot figure out what i am looking at. the previous post says it is a wrap dress but i still cannot see it. do you have a link to more pictures so i can get a clue how this is put together? thanks

  3. Aloma Cronberg says:

    This garment would look much better if it had been pressed before the picture was taken. As a professional seamstress I always press as I go and to give the garment a final press when it is finished. I was taught to press when I took sewing in highschool!

  4. gillian Sutherland says:

    I’ve added ruffles to a jacket I tailored for a friend’s family wedding last month. The pattern (Butterick B5720 – Connie Crawford)has ruffles in it, but I didn’t like the amount at the neck when I added it, so I made another ruffle of my own calculation. Realistically, I lengthened it and altered the curve at the back of the neck so that the ruffle stood up (gently, as it was habotai silk with a black lace overlay) – my friend was wearing her hair up, so the ruffle allowed the eye to travel up. At the front of the jacket the neckline ruffle tapered down to a natural point at the fastening. It was a small enough design alteration, but it made a tremendous difference. The ruffles at the cuff were as per the pattern. Instead of sewing the ruffles as gathers, however, I made them into pleats, which looked much more neat – and professional. The jacket was the first time I’d ever done any tailoring – also, my sewing machine, which I was learning how to use, went on strike and refused point blank to work, so I made the entire garment by hand. Great stress, but a success. Next to the bride’s mother, she was the best-dressed woman at the woman not the bride. I made a fascinator, handbag and corsage too. to complement and compliment the outfit. I felt very proud that my efforts stood the scrutiny of the wedding party (my friend had been bragging about her outfit during its making!)
    For anyone wanting to make a classy jacket with or without ruffles this pattern is tops! My friend is a small plus sized woman, and the jacket is extremely flattering.

  5. gillian Sutherland says:

    edit:after the bride’s mother, she was best dressed woman at the wedding who wasn’t the bride