Ruffled Skirt Tutorial

Ruffled Skirt Tutorial:

Remember those Monster High dolls I put through my jacuzzi/stand mixer? See it here! Savi’s crazy about them and has decided to be Frankie Stein for Halloween. I hate buying costumes now that I have a sewing machine, so I decided to make something for her that’s both funky and functional.  I whipped up this skirt with a skull-and-bones applique in an afternoon, and she LOVES it! So here it is:
N.B. The waist measurements I tell you to use will make a skirt that is a bit too big, but the idea is to leave one side seam unfinished and baste it so you can try it on and decide the perfect fit for you. I know that information makes NO sense right now, but just trust me, ok? I won’t lead you too far astray! If you run into any problems, please email me!
You’ll need:
About a metre or so of fabric, depending on your size
Enough 1 inch wide elastic to fit your waist
Optional dental floss for ruffling (it works!)
Matching thread

Seam allowance: I use a 1cm seam allowance throughout unless otherwise noted. 1/2″ is ok, too.

Here’s how to determine how wide your skirt panels need to be:
Skirt panels: Take your waist measurement (say, 30 inches, ha ha ha), then halve it (15 inches), then add 2 inches (total= 17 inches) So, pretending the width needs to be 17 inches, cut 2 panels: 17 inches wide by, say, 10 inches (if you want it shorter or longer, that’s ok by me)
Now for the ruffle: I like my ruffles to be very ruffly, so I made the ruffle panels twice as wide as the skirt panels by about 6 inches long to allow room for ruffling and hemming. So mine were 34 inches wide by 6 inches long. If you want it super ruffly, make them longer, and if you want a very mild ruffle, make it shorter.

Two long ruffle pieces
Two skirt panels and elastic

Prepare edges for sewing: serge or zigzag ONE short side of each panel (where you’re going to join them to make one big panel and ruffle- see below)

Sew one side seam:
Place the skirt panels Right Side Together (use the sides you’ve just finished.) and sew a seam down ONE short side, making a super long skirt panel.
Now do the same for the ruffle panels.

See how long that is?

Hem like crazy: Now hem the long ruffle panel by turning the edge up 1 cm (1/2”), pressing all the way. Then turn it in another 1 cm (1/2”), press it, pin it, sew it!

It takes a while to hem it, but it’s so worth it!

Make the ruffle: I use dental floss with a zigzag stitch to make my ruffles because I find that it’s WAY easier than using a basting stitch. My cheap machine’s basting stitch isn’t that long, so it sucks. And anyway, the ruffle is pretty long so it’s less fiddly to use dental floss. But you can do it any way you want! Just do it about ¼” from the edge.

Dental floss: for more than just teeth!

Attach ruffle: Lay the ruffle on the skirt panel, with Right Sides Together, and line up the centre hems so it looks professional when you sew it.  Using a million pins or so, pin the ruffle onto the bottom of the skirt panel. Now sew it on, using a ½” seam allowance or wider. Just make sure you’re stitching to the left of your floss or whatever so it doesn’t show on the skirt.

Match up those seams – you’ll be so mad if you don’t!

Lots o’ pins!

Topstitch the ruffle: Press the ruffle and skirt panel so it all lays relatively flat, then carefully topstitch it about ¼” from the seam edge so the top of the ruffle is sewn to the bottom of the panel.

Sorry about the blurry pic, but you can just barely see a black stitch on the white plaidy-stuff.

Baste the side seam: Sew a side seam (w/ right sides together!) into the skirt using the largest stitch length possible, and try it on! It’s probably a bit too big, right? That’s ok! Now you can decide how loose you want it to be when you’re wearing it, and you can redo the side seam so it fits.  Just remember to serge or zigzag your raw edges so it doesn’t unravel!

Finish the side seams with zigzag or serge stitch so they don’t unravel.

Now for the elastic: fold the top edge ½” or so toward the wrong side and press. Now fold it 1 ¼” down. (if you use smaller elastic, just make the ‘sleeve’ about 1 cm larger than the width of the elastic.) Press and pin.  Sew along the bottom, leaving a 3 inch opening so you can thread the elastic through.
Elastic: I usually make my elastic waistbands a tiny bit smaller than my waist measurement because I don’t like my waistband digging into me. But you might like yours more fitted, in which case make the waistband about 1 inch smaller than your actual body measurement. Either way: make sure you leave enough extra that you can actually join it together, then trim it after. DON’T cut it exactly the size you want the finished product to be!

I hold my elastic together with a safety pin until ready to sew.

 Thread and slipstitch or edgestitch: Thread the elastic through using a threading tool or big safety pin, then stitch the elastic together to make one lovely happy waistband. Now stitch the opening closed, either by hand sewing it, then edgestitching it to match the other stitching. Or do what I do, and just edgestitch it because I’m lazy and my wrist is hurting by this point. Who’s gonna see the waistband stitching anyway?

Here’s the final product:

I added the bones/flower applique to make her halloween costume a bit fun and funky.

You can embellish your skirt any way you want to – I used DUI applique because I’m quite lazy and the rough edges look cool.

Thanks for reading!

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011
All rights reserved

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2 thoughts on “Ruffled Skirt Tutorial

  1. Great tutorial, thanks! I'm going to make my niece a dress (or 2!) for Christmas, so this will be great for adding a ruffle at the bottom! 🙂 x

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