Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Tale of Three Tops: Pleated Ruffle Shell Tutorial

I told you on Sunday about how I made three tops for WAY less than what Banana Republic would have asked for. Remember the tops?
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Monday I walked you through making the Raw Ribbons Top, and yesterday we made the Slubby Ruffle Tank. Today we’ll make the Pleated Ruffle Shell. Before we get started, though, let’s look at our inspiration top:
ruffle collar
I used the same pattern as for the first two shirts, and this time cut the front the same as the pattern, but the back a bit more narrow since I wouldn’t do a seam up the back.
This shirt came together so quickly (the fastest of the three), that I didn’t get any pictures of the process. So, I’ll just tell you what I did. I serged the front and back pieces together, and then cut a long strip of fabric 2 inches wide. Using my ruffle foot, I ruffled the strip directly onto the neck of the top, around the entire neck. Then I gathered the fabric right under the ruffle (just in the front) by setting my regular machine to the shortest tension and longest stich possible and sewing from 2 inches below the shoulder on one side to 2 inches below the shoulder on the other side. Pull the top thread to gather the fabric, and then zig zag stich over the gathering to keep it in place. Gathering after putting the ruffle on gives it a more clustered look in the front, which I love. If I’d gathered the fabric first, it wouldn’t have run as well through the ruffle foot.
I made bias tape from the sleeves and hem, sewed it on (using a long zig zag so the fabric can still stretch), and it was done! I think this one is my favorite of the three.
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Another thing to note: as a tall person, I love how long this pattern makes the tops!
The cardigan for this top was a heavy knit top/light knit sweater I picked up at Goodwill for $2.
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Once again, I cut it up the middle and serged the edges. At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not since it didn’t seem to hang well on any of the tops I made.
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But then, I added the ribbon as a belt, folded the collar down, and fell in love.
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And Sophie, who is obsessed with being petted whenever I’m crafting, wanted in on the photo shoot.
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Let’s take one more look at what is my favorite combo of the three.
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Ah, this makes me happy.
And there you have it: 3 simple to make, Banana Republic inspired tops, all from the same pattern for just $10 each. I’m sure with a better coupon they could have been cheaper, and in another fabric they’d cost less. But I wanted to use a knit I’d really love. And I do love these.


  1. I LOVE it! the color of the tank with the stripes of the cardigan is gorgeous. You've inspired me.

  2. Found you through Tea Rose home and after looking in awe at all 3 shirts, I gotta say, you are Rocking it, girl! Great job on all 3. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite, but I really do like this one too. It's so simple and sassy, but very classy too. Now that's a combination for you! Great job!


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