Maternity or Not Frock : Ruffles

After seeing lots of ruffles on Anthropologie models I decided to add some to my frock to dress it up a bit.

You can do it too, and here is how:

1- I wanted the ruffles to have diagonal plaid just to add a bit of interest, but it is not necessary to cut this on the bias as I did.

Cut multiple strips of fabric 4 inches wide (two inches if you fold it like I did here) and at different lengths. I made my lengths 20", 15" 10" and 6" (i later added one more at 3").

2- Take one strip and fold right sides together. Stitch a 1/2" seam allowance along the top edge.

3- Turn right side out.

4- Tuck in both outer edges by 1/2". Press whole strip. Edge stitch two short sides.

5- Change stitch length to a long basting stitch. Starting at one end on the top edge stitch the length of the strip at 1/2". Do not back stitch. Leave strings long on both ends.

Put a straight pin in both ends.

6- Wrap the long strings from the basting stitch on one end in a figure eight pattern around straight pin to secure.

On other end hold top string and then push the fabric towards the other end (the figure eight wont allow it to run off the edge) to gather the ruffle.

7- Once it is the length you want the ruffle to be secure the open end by doing a figure eight around the other pin.
8- Return stitch length to normal and stitch on top of basting stitch, backstitching at both ends, to secure the ruffle.

Repeat for all ruffles.

9- Now that you have all of your ruffles ready to go start pinning them on the front of your frock starting with the longest one right along the neckline. Make sure that it is centered.

Topstitch ruffle onto garment about 1/4" from neck edge.

10- Repeat with shorter and shorter ruffles. Each lower ruffle should tuck up underneith the top ruffle by about 1/4".

Once all of your ruffles are sewn on, press and clip strings. It should look something like this.

Now try it on, upload a pic to our flickr page and wear it out somewhere fun!


  1. The frock looks very pretty and the ruffles are just the right finishing touch. I'd almost wish I was pregnant again, to be able to sew such cute maternity clothing for myself :-D

  2. I LOVE it :) I'm going to make one even though I am definitely not pregnant. It is so versatile and flattering.

  3. Alright Kelli, I am very inspired. I picked up my fabric and I am gunna make this adorable top! Thanks for the stellar instructions!

  4. Thank you so much for this awesome tutorial. I even made my bf join your flickr group just so I could post a photo lol. Thanks to you, I finally made my 1st piece of clothing :)

  5. Anonymous27.4.11

    I have a question about the ruffles on the cute maternity frock. When I stitched the 1/2" seam on the bias strip and turned it inside out to press, where should the seam be positioned? I put it at one edge, but wondered later if it should be centered.

    This occured because I couldn't figure out whether to run the basting stitch on the thicker edge with the seam allowance(4 layers), or the thinner one (2 layers) and the instructions said, "on the top edge." This is unclear as it depends which way you lay the ironed bias strip, and the photo didn't help.

    For the ruffle to work best, should the gathering be on the thickest part where it will be stitched onto the shirt thus leaving the thinner edge free to ruffle, or should the gathering be on the thinest part that will be stitched onto the shirt, thus leaving the thicker edge to be the loose ruffle?

    This led me to wonder if the ironing step should place the thicker seam allowance in the middle (of what would then become the back of the attached ruffle) so that neither the gathered/attached edge nor the free ruffled edge would have the seam allowane in it.

    Please advise me as I have never done this kind of ruffle before and may need to unstitch and redo the bias strips before I gather and attach them. Thanks for any assistance!

  6. This is really up to you. I put the basting stitch on the thinner two layer edge and left the four layer edge as the end of my ruffle. But I think ironing the sewn edge to the back is also a great idea. Good luck. Kelli

  7. I just stumbled on your blog (I think through a google search of "maternity tutorial"), and I'm so glad I did! I'm going to bookmark this little project until I find the right fabric!

  8. I love this dress... Thanks for putting up dis tutorial