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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ruffle Collar Dress Tutorial

Whew! For some reason this one tutorial seemed to take me forever this week! You might remember this dress from a little while ago but I went through and made a navy blue one with a tutorial. I added pockets to this dress as well and I'll show you how I did them but you can totally leave them off if you prefer.

You will need:

1 yard of fabric (for about a size 2T, you will need more or less depending on the size you are making)
1 button for your back enclosure
2 buttons for the front pockets (optional)
Matching thread
The usual sewing line (scissors, ruler or straight edge, invisible marker etc.)

 Grab a dress or shirt that currently fits your child. Try to grab something that doesn't have much stretch, or add about 1 inch around it if it does stretch. In this case I used the first dress since I knew it fit and it was the same material I would be working in again.

Fold the end of your fabric over just long enough to fit your dress or top you're tracing. This saves you space on the fabric instead of cutting right into the middle.

 Take a pen or marker and trace around your shirt or top with about 1/2 inch for seam allowance. I you're using a shirt, extend it to the length you want your dress to be. Sorry, I know the outline is hard to see in this picture...I guess that's the downfall of the navy blue!

 Cut out your dress on the fold. Now fold your fabric in again and lay the dress you just cut out on top of it. Trace it again and cut it out. This will be your front and back main pieces.

 This is how I like to line the top and create a cleaner edge on the neck and sleeves. I hate ironing and folding in the fabric to hem around the sleeves and neck so this is my way around it!

 Fold your fabric in again and lay your dress piece that you've cut out down. Trace the top half, stopping about an inch or 2 below the arm hole.

 Cut it out on the fold. Use that piece to trace and cut another top piece.

 Now you should have 4 pieces: a front of the dress, a back of the dress, a front bodice and a back bodice. (These are folded in half in this picture because we cut on the fold. Also the buttons are randomly laying in this picture but there's no reason for it!)

 Take your top bodice pieces and hem them both by folding them under, ironing it down, folding under again and then sewing it in place. This will keep it from unraveling inside the dress.

Take your back dress piece and lay one of your bodice pieces down on top of it with the right sides together. Line it up and cut a V shape into both layers. This will become our button and elastic enclosure. (Ignore that I have sewn around the edges already in this picture. That was a mistake!)

Pin around the bodice and back dress piece and sew it around the top. Do not sew the bottom of the bodice that you have just hemmed. Make sure to sew down around your V that you have cut out. Near the top of the V, add your elastic loop facing the inside of the dress. That way the elastic will be on the right side when you flip it back right side out (sorry i'm not sure what happened to the picture of this).

 Repeat with the front of the dress, laying the bodice and front piece right sides together, pinning and then sewing being careful not to sew the hem you just made on the bodice.

Now flip the bottom hem of the bodice right side out so your seams that you sewed are now on the inside. Repeat with the other piece.

You should now have a piece with the bodice and front dress sewn together, and a piece with the other bodice and back dress piece sewn together.

 See how the seams are all nicely tuck inside now? It's going to look a little lumpy so now's a good time to bust out the iron and flatten it out nicely. Do this for both the front of the dress and the back dress pieces.

Now we're going to make pockets so if you don't want pockets, skip this part!

I'm pretty sure this way of doing pockets is the same way Dana does it here. Gotta make sure I give credit where credit is due!
 Fold your fabric over so you cut both pockets identical at the same time. Roughly sketch out the shape of your pockets. Make it bigger than your think you need, once we gather it under it will be quite a bit smaller!
 Cut it out and fold them in half to get them even. Cut around it to make sure they are symmetrical.

Cut a strip of fabric about 2.5 inches wide and long enough to finish the top of both pockets. We will make bias tape out of this strip. 

Set your machine to the longest straight stitch and sew around the sides and bottom of the pocket. Do not sew across the top of the pocket. Leave the strings long. 

Now pull your strings on both sides and gather your pocket in. See how much smaller the pocket gets? I find that this way is much easier than folding all the way around and hemming, however, if that's what you prefer that would definitely work too! 

 Now we're going to make bias tape for the top of the pocket. This will give it a nice finished look.

Iron the edge of your strip halfway in and then iron the other edge in to meet it.

 Iron it in half again. Now you have a little fabric sandwich ;) but don't eat it.

Sandwich the top of your pocket between the fabric and sew it down. 
 This is what it will look like from the back.

It really helps to press down the gathers on the back of your pocket.

Now repeat with the other pocket.

 Decide where on the dress you want your pockets, and pin them down.

 Sew it down
 I wish I had sewn closer to the edge of the pocket since that looks more professional so I might suggest you give that a try. ;)

 Repeat with the other pocket, pinning it and sewing it down.

 Now lay your front and back pieces together with the right sides together and pin at the shoulders.

Sew down the shoulder. I like to use a tight zig-zag stitch and go over it several times to really secure the shoulders. 

 Repeat on the other shoulder.

Now it's time to make our big ruffle to go around the collar! Grab what's left of your fabric and a ruler or straight edge and scissor or rotary cutter.

The size is totally up to you and how wide you want your ruffle. I like a pretty big ruffle so mine is 5.5 inches wide. You want your length to be about twice the length of your neckline around. Mine was about 10 inches around and my strip was about 30 inches long because I like lots of ruffles.  

Grab your strip and iron it in half. 

Sew down along the open edge. 

 Now we have a tube but we want to turn it right side out so the seam is on the inside. Grab a safety pin and pin it through one layer so we can turn it back down through the loop. Turn it right side out.

Now the seam is hidden on the inside. 

Iron the seam in the middle. It will be on the bottom of the ruffle so you won't see it. 

Roll the edge inside a little so the raw edge will be tucked inside and we can finish the edge. (chipped nail polish is not necessary for this step. Don't mind mine!)

 Then sew down the edge with a tight zig-zag stitch so the edge is finished off neatly. Repeat on the other side so both edges are finished.

Set your machine to the longest straight stitch and sew down the edge of your fabric strip. Leave the strings long so we can gather it. 

 Grab the strings and gather the strip until it's the length you need to go around the neckline.

 Pin around the neckline.

 Sew around it pulling out the pins as you go.

Now turn your dress inside out so the right sides are together and pin down the sides starting right under the armpit and pinning down to the bottom. 

 Sew down your pins, pulling them out as you go. I went over it again with a tight zig-zag stitch to reinforce the side seams.

 Fold the bottom of your dress under, iron and fold it under again to hem it. Sew around the bottom. I sewed 2 lines to secure the hem...but they were messy ones so I would recommend you take your time!

 See? Almost done!

Sew the button in place on the back for your elastic to hook around. 
 I wanted to embellish the pockets a little too so I sewed 2 big red buttons on top.

 There ya go! All done! Now put it on your little one and desperately chase her around bribing her with things to let you take pictures.

 In our case it was hand sanitizer. Don't worry, she didn't drink any!

Hope you enjoy! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!



  1. I absolutely LOVE IT! Thanks for such a thorough tutorial! Writing it up surely takes a lot longer than sewing it! :)

  2. oh my! I love the ruffle collar. great idea.

    new follower!

  3. I really love this! I love the color combo and the ruffle! I have never seen pockets done like that, so genius! It would be way easier than folding under the edge, thanks for sharing!

  4. This is so pretty! I love to sew little girls' dresses and am always looking for fun ideas--this is definitely on my list! ;)

    I'll be sharing on my blog tomorrow! ;)

  5. i love it so much , i will made for my baby , thanks for share^^