Friday, August 26, 2011

Delicately Ruffled Top

dressin up week

I’m a total girl. I like to look cute and love clothes and accessories. I tend to look at all the What I Wore types of posts in blogland and then get just slightly envious of everyone else’s clothes. But when I recently did laundry (a rare occurrence for me… I figure the more clothes I own, the less often I need to wash, right?) and realized that I have a lot of cute clothes. They’re just usually so buried I forget they exist.

So rather than feel the need to go buy more clothes this next month, I’m instating a No Spend September for myself. No spending money on clothes or fabric. I need to use what I have. I’ll be shopping in my closet and dresser and when I feel the need to make something for myself, I have to use fabric already on hand. I’m excited to stretch my clothing creativity!

To set myself up well for this next month, I thought it would be fun to have a week dedicated to making new additions to my wardrobe. Hopefully then I’ll feel less tempted to shop, right? For the next week, I’ll be sharing my shirts, skirts and dresses with you. Ready for some fun?

Let’s start with the delicately ruffled top.

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I saw this top on Etsy a while back and knew it would be easy to make for myself. After a bit of studying, I was able to figure out how to do it.

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It really is just a tank with three rows of lettuce ruffled knit strips, the same kind that I did on my Ruffle Collar Top.

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I used some light pink knit I had sitting around. Start by cutting out the front and back of your tank (and sleeves if you don’t want a tank). I used a top I like the fit of for a pattern because right now my go to top pattern is missing. Also cut out three long, 1 3/4” wide strips for your fabric. At first I cut it in the direction where it stretched the most, but it ruffled up too much, so I cut new strips along the non stretching direction. It’s just a matter of how you want your ruffles to look.

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I set my machine to the zig zag stitch and way reduced the stitch length (so the zigs and zags are close to one another) and widened the stitch (so they’d cover more fabric). Then just run your strips through the machine, on both sides, stretching it as it goes through. I held the end that had gone through the machine with one hand and the other end with the other hand and just kept the fabric tight. Be careful you don’t pull your fabric through too fast, otherwise you stitches will spread out too much. You can read more about doing a lettuce ruffle here.

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I used a contrasting color of thread so the edges would show up like they do in the shirt I was fashioning this one after. In the picture above you can see the three strips I did along the non stretching line of the fabric. The far right strip was done with a non contrasting thread and along the stretchy line. I just didn’t think it had as polished of a look (which you can see more in real life… the fabric started to fray and just didn’t look very pretty).

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Then your ruffles are ready to be pinned on the front of the shirt. I started with the one closest to the neck line. Since I was going to use my serger to sew the shirt together, I just pinned the edge of the ruffle 1/4” from the edge of the neck line. If you’ll be using your sewing machine, just add 1/4” to the seam allowance you’ll be using and pin the ruffle that far from the edge. I then pinned the other ruffle 1/4” in from the edge of the sleeve and curved it around the first ruffle. The third ruffle started just past half way from the shoulder to the arm pit and had much less of a curve.

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Using your knit stitch or a zig zag (so your shirt can still stretch), sew the ruffles to the shirt. (For more tips for sewing with knits, check out this tutorial.)

Now sew the front and back of your shirt together, right sides together. To finish off your neck, arm holes and waist band, follow this tutorial. I wanted the bands on the neckline and arm holes to be a little more narrow this time, so I cut my strips at 1 1/2 inches instead of 1 3/4” (trust me, that quarter inch does make a difference). I wanted the waist band to be thicker, though, so I cut it 6 1/2” wide so it would be 3” after sewn onto the shirt. I also made it smaller around than the bottom of the shirt, so the top would hang loosly and then fit tight at the hips. (Make sense? I hope so!)

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After I serged all the bands on, I went back and top stitched just below the seam so the serged edge would stay down. You can do this for your raw edges even if you use a regular sewing machine. I like the finishing touch that top stitching gives. See the difference in the two?

I’m really happy with how easy this top was to make! Since we’re just finally getting multiple days of summer heat here, I think I’ll get quite a bit of wear out of it as a tank top. Then, when the weather gets cooler, I can pair it with a cardigan or jacket. Now if only I had a pencil skirt…

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Thanks for stopping by!

If you have a moment, check out the great parties I’ll be linking up with:


  1. You are so pretty and I love the girly tops- they look like they definitely suit your personality!! Pinned another one!

  2. LOVE this! I love the ruffles and that it's pink! Such a great tutorial too :)

    I started a brand new linky party over at my place that is centered around diy fashion...i would LOVE for you to link up a project or 2 over at DIY Diva Thursdays :)


  3. That is really pretty. We may have added the same shirt to our favorites on Etsy! It looks really cute on you. Great job!

  4. Found you on craft gossip! Great job with your knockoffs and your own creations! Another basic pattern I found that is highly noted is Lydia on the burdastyle website. A PDF pattern for $1! I'm using that for a couple of your designs!


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