Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall ruffle dress tutorial

Hi there! I decided to take a break from Randi's Room posts and give you a tutorial. Before I start I have to put a disclaimer out there. I am NOT a professional! I don't know all the terms for sewing or all the correct techniques to use. I just experiment. I'm writing this tutorial with amateurs like me in mind. That being said, all you professionals out there that would like to give constructive criticism, go right ahead!

I started this dress originally wanting it to be ruffles from top to bottom, but ran out of material. I had two cotton baby doll style tank tops that coordinated with each other and just knew they'd be perfect for this little project.

Start by cutting off the tops of the tank off so only the dress part remains.

Then cut 2 or 2.5 inch strips all the way down. I used the the first strip as a guide for the rest.

I grabbed an a-line dress that fits my daughters now, turned it inside out and used it as pattern for the skirt part of the dress. Then using neutral toned stretchy material (preferably knit) I cut 3 slightly shorter(1.75" or 2.25") strips for my 4 patterned ruffles I planned for each dress. They need to be just a bit shorter so they don't show between each ruffle. I cut these using the a-line pattern of the pink dress pictured.

Your next step, if you have used two different materials, is to alternate the two patterns from shortest in length to longest. Notice that the two different shirts are different in lengths. Don't worry it won't be noticeable in the final product.

Then on a surger or sewing machine you'll need to finish the bottom edge of each top(patterned ruffle piece) strip. I did this with my cheap sewing machine with a zigzag stich, shortened in stitch length, to what I thought looked good. This is probably the most time consuming part of the project.

Now you have to gather each ruffle. Use a gathering stitch and make sure your patterned ruffle is not shorter then your neutral strip.

Start with your shortest nuetral fabric and shortest patterned ruffle. Sew the right side of the neutral fabric to the wrong side of the patterned ruffle. For those of who are not familiar with sewing terms, the "right" side is the one facing you when the clothing piece is worn. If you haven't already figured out, the "wrong" side is what would face you if you were to turn the piece inside out. Something I didn't do here that would've been better for this dress is to sew the two pieces together with a zigzag stitch so that there is give throughout the whole dress. Next time.

You'll notice when you're done sewing the ruffles to the neutral strips that you have an extra patterned ruffle. We'll deal with that in the next step. Once again you need to arrange the ruffles from the shortest to the longest so we don't mix them up in this step. Line the bottom right side edge of your shortest ruffle to the top right edge of the next shortest ruffle. Pin them together making sure your side seams are lined up. Now you can sew these pieces together using a zigzag stitch (again something I should've done that I didn't).

Now you have three ruffles sewn together top side and underside looking something like pictures above. Now just sew the top right edge of remaining ruffle to the bottom right edge of the dress, just like the last step.

For the top half of the dress all I did was take a cheap thermal top I bought at Walmart and with right sides together, sewed the dress to the shirt. This time I did do a zigzag stitch which makes all the difference.

To finish my masterpiece off(don't make fun, I told you I was an amateur), I twisted some of the scrap fabric up into flowers and just tacked them on to the collar area. So not professional, but it works for these girls.

So there you have it. A fairly simple dress that most anyone can make. Please let me know what you think and if you try it out send me your pics!


Camila said...

These are really cute, Em!!! And good job on the tutorial, it turned out great!

Wesley said...

CUTE!!! I love these dresses.

Lee and Michelle said...

Formal patterns confuse the heck out of me! Love this tutorial, I know I can do it:) Thanks! Love your creative inovation. I love things half bought,altered, and turned into something sooo much better! keep 'em coming ....

Anonymous said...

So cute! I just made some out of my old t-shirts. I love the flowers made out of the scraps. I thought about making a headband out of the scraps of t-shirts.

Shelli said...

I think these are sooo cute. I would totally make something like these for my girls but I don't know if I can. I am not very good at sewing (have tried a few things) and have a serger but am just starting to figure out how to use it correctly. The ruffles scare me, haha. But super cute and excellent job!