Monday, April 25, 2011

Ruffle Dress for the Ruffle Event


You just have to know how excited I was when Kate from See Kate Sew invited me to participate in her Ruffle Event. SO EXCITED!

Of course, when she actually asked for our ruffle projects so she could plan the specifics for her event, my mind was a complete blank for days. When you check out all of her ruffle projects and her awesome guests (and the rest of her amazing blog), you will see exactly why I was stressed out!

For my project, I had to go with a little girl’s dress—my favorite place to put ruffles. I ran through so many ideas, but decided I would challenge myself on this one. With three girls of my own, (yes, the oldest two are fraternal twins—lots of emails about that last week ;) I have lots of opportunities to sew dresses, but I don’t always get to try out my ideas on them.

I call this my Idol Style Dress because I was inspired by a blouse on American Idol (yes, I am a groupie) worn by Ashton Jones the night she was eliminated. I loved the look, but wasn’t so sure I could really replicate it in a way I was happy with. I wanted it to have both sleeves and I wanted to use silky fabric, but I really don’t like sewing on silky fabric. I finally figured out how to make this dress work and decided to go with a washable polyester fabric that was also inexpensive.

Right look, right style, right price!

Tutorial Button

coordinating thread
1/4 inch elastic

Make a pattern to cut the armhole.
Use an armhole from a blouse or dress to get the arc for the armhole. Trace the arc shape (and shape it up a bit like I did) on the corner of a sheet of paper. Be sure to make it 1/2 inch longer on each end than the actual armhole so you have enough fabric for a seam allowance. Make the corner into a rectangle (last picture) and cut out the armhole shape.
Circle Ruffle Dress 2Circle Ruffle Dress 1Circle Ruffle Dress 3

Cut 2 rectangles for the dress front and back.
You will need to estimate on this one. I googled average chest and waist sizes by age and then actually checked a few patterns to get an idea of finished sizes to help figure out how big to make the rectangles. I wanted the dress to be gathered a little at the top so I wasn’t too worried about it being too big there, but didn’t want it to be huge around the legs. If you aren’t comfortable with this, you could always cut newspaper to size and check it on the child. (Remember, the top will be gathered so it will have to be “too wide” at the top.)

Cut out the armholes.
Fold the rectangles in half lengthwise. Place the armhole pattern along the top and side edges (raw edges, not folded edges) and cut out the armhole openings.
Circle Ruffle Dress 4

Cut out 2 circles for the ruffles.
Straight cut gathered ruffles don’t work for this dress—it turns out like a clown collar. I thought bias cut ruffles would be perfect, but they didn’t add as much flounce as I wanted. Circle cut ruffles are perfect for this because they are flouncy ruffles and they give enough room for the collar to be a collar and still drape nicely over each shoulder. If you haven’t used circle cut ruffles, you have to try it. They are gorgeous and they even ruffle (flounce) without a gathering stitch.

I have done this with commercial patterns in the past, so I kind of winged it for this. The first try didn’t work, but the second did. When I searched for some info to offer a resource for you, I found THIS excellent source. It describes how to make circle ruffles so you can get it right the first time. My ruffles ended up being huge and a bit elliptical, but still worked. Since I also gathered them onto an elastic neckline, it really didn’t matter. I think next time, I would make them a little smaller so the collar is still flouncy, but not as full from the gathers.

Here’s what you should have to make this dress:
Circle Ruffle Dress 5

Sew back to front. 
With right sides together (RST), sew the back to the front at each side. Press seam flat.

(Difficult to see in the pictures—sorry.)Circle Ruffle Dress 6

Finish armholes.
Turn armhole edge in 1/4 inch and press in place. Turn in another 1/4 inch and press in place. Sew along edge. Sew slowly around the curves to keep the seam in place and prevent puckering.

Repeat for other armhole.Circle Ruffle Dress 8

Turn to right side and press armhole seams smooth.
Try to lay it flat on the ironing board in the U shape of the armhole to do this.  Circle Ruffle Dress 7

Make collar.
Use a pin to mark the center of each circle piece. Circle Ruffle Dress 9

Use a pin to mark the center front and center back of the dress. Circle Ruffle Dress 10

Sew one circle to the other circle at both ends. You will now have one giant circle that is already flouncy.

Press seams flat. Circle Ruffle Dress 11

Serge or zig zag the top edge of the collar. Remove the centered pin as you come to it, but put it right back after sewing past that point for the next step.

(You can also mark your fabric with chalk, but I always lose my chalk lines--not my pins!)
Circle Ruffle Dress 12

Finish the bottom edge of the collar.
I used a rolled hem on my serger, but you can also sew a narrow hem where you turn it under 1/4 inch, sew along the folded edge, trim the excess fabric close to the stitching, then turn it again the width of the seam and sew in place close to the edge.

(I suspect that you can make your ruffle wider and fold it so you don’t even have to hem it, but I was worried that it would be too heavy and make some of my flounces hang out.)

Press hem flat. Circle Ruffle Dress 12

Sew collar to dress.
Place the collar inside of the dress to match the center of the collar (marked with a pin) with the center of the front of the dress. The right side of the collar should face the wrong side of the dress.

Repeat for the back of the dress.

Sew the collar to the dress along the top edge of the dress using a zig zag stitch. You will sew right up to the edge—there is no seam allowance. Only sew the collar to the dress along the dress section. Do not worry about the rest of the collar sections—these will become the sleeves (the top of the armhole).Circle Ruffle Dress 13

Sew along the entire collar and the dress sections with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. This is kind of weird because you will sew the collar to the dress (again), but the collar sections for the armholes will just be a sewing line along the collar.Circle Ruffle Dress 14

Flip the collar over the top of the dress so the wrong side of the collar is facing the right side of the dress.

Slowly and carefully, press the entire collar section so that everything is smooth.
You will make a folded section (folding along your sewing line) where there is no dress front or dress back.

(I didn’t have a pink dress picture for the inside, but the blue dress shows the inside view really well.)Circle Ruffle Dress 15051

Slowly sew along the entire collar section using a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Leave a small opening to insert the elastic.

(Mine puckered a little on this part, but it is okay since this will be gathered anyway.)Circle Ruffle Dress 17

Insert elastic.
Cut elastic to neck measurement. Use a safety pin to slide the elastic through the casing. Circle Ruffle Dress 18

Sew ends of elastic together and ease into casing.

Sew casing closed being careful not to catch the edge of the elastic in the stitches.Circle Ruffle Dress 19

The collar is finished! {woo-hoo}Circle Ruffle Dress 20

Hem the dress.
Hem the dress by turning under 1/4 inch, pressing, and turn under 1/4 inch again.

Stitch in place.

Press flat.Circle Ruffle Dress 21

Lots of instructions (and comments), but the dress is so fast and easy to make.Circle Ruffle Dress 22

You should know that I love to sew with patterns—very precise patterns. This project was a huge challenge for me. If I can sew a dress with such general directions for sizing, you can definitely do it!

I just love the way it turned out. It’s almost exactly the way I pictured when I saw the inspiration blouse on American Idol. I can’t say I am ready to ditch my precise patterns or that I will be sewing on silky types of fabrics frequently, but I just love this dress and feel inspired and motivated to try all kinds of things that aren’t in my comfort zone.

And, really, I owe it all to Kate and her Ruffle Event! Thanks, Kate!dress4

Get over there and check it out!
(And it isn’t just girl ruffles either!)

(I'll be linking to the places in my sidebar--check them out!)


Two Shades of Pink,  said... April 25, 2011 at 8:49 AM  

This is just the sweetest dress and I love the color of it too. It is sweet and chic all at the same time!

kate,  said... April 25, 2011 at 10:23 AM  

I may have to make one in my size! So cute Tammy! Thanks for ruffling it up with us!

Unknown,  said... April 25, 2011 at 6:15 PM  

Great job mama! And it looks so comfy for your little girl too!

Sbb1 Wellness,  said... April 25, 2011 at 8:33 PM  

Lovely dress and great tutorial. Thank you for posting it. I'm here from the blog hop and I'm so happy I stopped over and decided to follow your blog. Hope you will enjoy my blog as much:

Nancy,  said... April 25, 2011 at 10:18 PM  

This dress is so stinkin cute!!! I love the flouncy neck/sleeves! And the color is gorgeous too!

liZ ,  said... April 26, 2011 at 1:36 AM  

I just found your blog from the Sugar Bee link is so cute.

I don't think there is anything better to make than fancy pants clothing for your little girls. I love the dress, the color, and the ruffles.

I'm glad I came across your site. I'll be back to visit soon.


Anonymous,  said... April 26, 2011 at 1:50 PM  

This is just adorable! And your tutorial makes it look so simple to actaully make! I'm adding this to my to do list on my blog.

Thanks for sharing!

Jessica at Me Sew Crazy,  said... April 27, 2011 at 6:40 AM  

very cute! I have considered doing a similar design, but always feared how it would turn out. I think you did a fabulous job!

jbr,  said... April 27, 2011 at 10:57 AM  

Very cute! I'm keeping this in my files for my little girl.,  said... April 27, 2011 at 12:54 PM  

So CUTE! I wish i could sew!
Im following!

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Amanda,  said... April 28, 2011 at 9:18 AM  

You were featured at Today's Top 20! WOo HOO!


Unknown,  said... April 28, 2011 at 6:31 PM  

Oh this is so cute and seems easy enough to sew. Great job stepping up to the challenge.

Thanks so much for participating in my Strictly Homemade Tuesday Linky Party!! I hope you will come back and join me next week!

SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime,  said... April 28, 2011 at 6:46 PM  

That turned out so cute :)
Really appreciate you sharing this great post with us at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop.

Ladybird Ln,  said... April 30, 2011 at 12:09 AM  

Oh, I just love a good ruffle! That dress is so sweet and sassy! Thanks for all the lovely comments on my blog! I am so happy I found your blog as well!


Samantha,  said... July 31, 2011 at 2:58 AM  

I love Ruffles. This is for sure one of my favorites. I used your pictures and website on my blog.


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