Ruffle Dress Sewing Tutorial

The following link will allow you to purchase the pattern on Etsy:

Picture-link to purchase the digital pattern

Sewing Instructions:


  • All seam allowances are 1cm unless otherwise stated.
  • Pre-shrink machine washable fabrics: wash, dry and iron fabrics before sewing.

Step 1: Once you cut all the pattern pieces, cut three bias tapes of 3cm wide – two will be used for finishing armholes and one for neckline. The length of the bias tapes should be the same or slightly longer than the armhole length and the neckline length.

Step 2:Place Bodice Front Centre and Bodice back Centre together with the right sides touching and the raw edges of the shoulder seams lining up. Pin at the shoulders if preferred. Sew along the shoulder seams with 1cm seam allowance. Finish the seam with a serger or finish with a zigzag stitch. Do the same with one Bodice Front Side and one Bodice Back Side, and repeat for the two pieces for the other side.

Step 2

Note: Make sure the front sides are on the same side as the front bodice.

Step 3: Take one Ruffle piece, fold one long side of the strip up by 0.5cm, and fold again 0.5cm and iron, sew along the folded edge. On the other long side of the fabric, sew 1-2 rows of gathering stitches within the seam allowance, pull the bobbin threads to gather the fabric to the length of the raw side edges of the bodice centre pieces (i.e. where the ruffles will be on the dress, see the picture below). Do the same with the other Ruffle piece.

Step 4: Place one gathered Ruffle piece on top of the joint Bodice Centre pieces with the right sides touching and the raw edges of the ruffle seams lining up. Place one joint Bodice Side pieces on top of the ruffle piece with the right side of the Bodice Side pieces facing down and the raw edges for the ruffles lining up. Now the gathered ruffle piece has been sandwiched in the middle of the Bodice Centre and Bodice Side pieces. Make sure 1) the shoulder seam of the Bodice Centre is aligned with the shoulder seam of the Bodice Side. 2) the Bodice Front Side is on the same side as the Bodice Front Centre. Pin to secure and sew along the seam with 1cm seam allowance. Repeat to attach the ruffle on the other side.

Note: if you would like to have waist sashes to tie a bow on the back, you will need to leave a length of (sash width plus 1cm) open on the bodice back as shown in the picture below, and insert the sashes 1cm above the waist line of the back bodice.

Step 5: Finish the armhole by placing one armhole bias tape on top of the Bodice Side with the right sides touching and raw edges lining up, and sewing along the armhole with 1cm seam allowance. Turn the tape up to cover the seam allowance and fold it in, fold again along the sewing line, pin to secure if preferred, and sew along the folded edge. Finish the other armhole in the same way.

Step 6: On the Bodice Centre Back, cut around 7cm (Note: this length depends on the head circumference of the child – it should be long enough to allow the head to pass) from the centre of the neckline down the central back line as the back opening.

Make a double-folded bias tape by using a bias tape of 3.5cm width by (6 or 7cm)*2 length. Stretch the opening out to a straight line, and wrap it in the bias tape. Make sure the end of the opening is only ‘caught’ by the bias tape by a little. Pin to secure. Sew along the folded edge of the bias tape, making sure the end the of the opening is secured by the sewing line. Turn the bodice inside out, place the two sides of the opening one on top of the other, and sew a diagonal line from the bottom to form a small triangle – sew back and forth several times to strengthen the line.

Step 7: Use one bias tape made in step 1 to finish the neckline the same way as with armhole (step 5). Make sure both short raw edges of the bias tape are folded in when sewing the first line. After sewing the first line and folding the tape once to wrap the seam allowance, add a short length of elastic folded in half as the button loop on the bias tape on one side of the folded neckline opening, with the loop facing the other side. Secure the elastic with a few hand stitches. Sew a button on the other side of the opening.

Alternatively, as shown in the picture, use one long bias tape to finish the neckline and form the stripes to tie up the neck opening.

Step 7 neckline.jpg

Step 8: Sew the side seams (under the armholes) with the right sides touching. Finish the seam with a serger or with a zigzag stitch.

Step 8 side seams

Step 9: Sew the side seam(s) of the skirt with 1cm seam allowance. Finish the seam with a serger or with a zigzag stitch. Hem the skirt by folding the bottom raw edge in by 1cm and fold again by 1cm, and sew along the folded edge. Sew 1-2 rows of gathering stitches along the top raw edge of the skirt within the seam allowance, and gather the fabric to the width across as the bodice.

Tips: Mark the seam allowance on a paper card and use it for hemming.

Step 9d Skirt

Step 10: Turn the gathered skirt inside out, place it on top of the bodice with the right sides touching and the waistline lining up. Pin together all the way around. Match up the side seams. Sew along the pinned seam and adjust the gathers as you sew if necessary. Finish the seam with a serger or with a zigzag stitch.

Step 10

Congratulations! You have just created a beautiful ruffle dress.


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