Saturday, February 11, 2012

2 Schoolhouse Tunic Ruffle

Tutorial looks familiar? A few of my favorite tutorials has made the move from Happy Find and is now residing here. Enjoy!

In case you didn't know... I LOVE this tunic. I had gotten the pattern from Sew Liberated and fell in love. Although my aprons and pincushions are bright and busy, I myself am drawn to more simple designs and neutral colors. My mom thinks I'm very BLAH and always pokes fun at me, but that's just me! Funny... now that I think about it, I like grey skies and grey apparel... NOTHING like my personality, I assure you!
Any-who, I made the tunic and like I said earlier, I do like simple designs, but I felt it needed a little bit of my "personality" in it. And so I added the ruffles. I am quite pleased how it came out. So pleased that I've practically worn it to death and has gone through MANY washings, and would you believe that it still looks lovely as it did when I first wore it?! ((sigh)) I love you, tunic...
OKAY, so many of you have asked, "How'd you do it?" and for a brief moment I thought, "Hmmm... should I dare share my secrets?!" ((tee-hee)) OF COURSE!!! What fun is it to not share?! So let's get sewin'!

So here's the fabric I used. It's by WESTEX and is from Japan. You might be able to get it through here. Let me know if you need additional info. 
**Make sure when you're getting your fabric, get about 1/4 yard more for the ruffle along with ribbon for the trim.**
Ruffle tute2
Once you have completed your tunic, measure the top half (from the edge of the collar to the inseam below the bust. General rule of thumb, when you are doing a gathered ruffle, take the measured length and double it. 
Take note and measure the bottom half.
Ruffle tute3
Now, you can measure all the way to the hem
or halfway or anywhere you wish for the ruffle to end and double that. For me, I went just about half way. I noticed that crotch length was good. Any longer and it can be nuisance. 
Ruffle tute 1
With those measurements, I cut two strips of fabric. One for the top half and the other for the bottom. The width of my ruffle is 1 3/4". You can make yours however you wish.
For this tunic I cut my strips against the grain (if I was to sew my ruffles on a curve, I would cut it on the bias of the fabric), but here it's just a straight sew. By cutting it in this direction, I am able to use the finished edges when joining the two strips. That way I don't have to serge the edges to prevent fraying.

Once it's sewn, open and flatten like so.
Now you can make your ruffle one of two ways... 
You can either have an "unfinished" edge (like the one above this picture) or you can have it "finished". The tunic you have seen, I did the ruffle with a finished edge. For this tunic, I prefer the unfinished look.
**If you decide on a finished edge, add 1/2" all around for the hem.**
For the unfinished edge, I did a zig-zag stitch all around to prevent fraying.
I cut any thread "snots" sticking out.
Then I took the fabric (sorry, I didn't take a pic of the unfinished edge ruffle) and folded it lengthwise to make a crease. 
This will be a guide for you when applying the stitch for    gathering.
Set your machine to the longest stitch and you will want to do two rows of stitching(on opposite sides of your crease). It's cleaner and the last thing you want to happen is have the thread break in the middle of your gathering. TRUST ME... it's not fun when that happens!
BEFORE you start to stitch, switch to a different color thread. It makes it a lot easier to spot and take out and the end. I would do one color for the top thread and a different color for the bobbin. Here's why...
When you are gathering, you want to pull on either the top threads or the bottom threads. It just makes it easier to spot which one is which.
Okay, remember when I had you take measurements of the top and bottom half of the tunic for your ruffle, and cut two strips of fabric? There's a method to my madness...
That seam is going to be another guideline for you. 
Ruffle tute4
You will line that ruffle seam to the shirt seam and gather the ruffle to the measurements of the top and bottom halves.
Here's the top half and do the bottom half the same way. Make sure you have the seams lined up while you're doing this.
To keep my ruffle from unraveling, I'll tie a not at the ends.
Ruffle tute5
Now take your ruffle and double stitch the
BOTTOM HALF. All the way up to the seam. Make sure to back stitch to secure.
Now you are going to stitch the
TOP HALF to the tunic. I'll place a book underneath the front of the shirt so that while pinning, I won't accidentally pin the back side of the shirt as well.
Ruffle tute6
Line up your edges. Pin.
It's okay if your stitch isn't straight. That's where the ribbon comes in handy!
Ruffle tute7
Stitch up to the seams. 
Back stitch to secure.
After it has been sewn on, go ahead and remove the gathering stitch. CAREFUL! You don't want to cut the permanent stitch!
Voila! You got yourself a fancy-schmancy ruffle!
REPEAT the steps to do the other side.
I got a little ruffle happy and added a few more to my tunic...
Ruffle done without
Whatcha think? Hmmm... wait a minute... it's missing something...
DUH! The ribbon!
So just measure the length and add 1/4"-1/2" to the ends for the hem. Pin it to the ruffle HIDING the stitch (remember what I said about not having a perfect straight stitch?) and stitch all around the edge of the ribbon. Try to get as close to the edge of the ribbon.
Ruffle done with 
Ooooh... much better!
And there you have it!!!
Hmmm... I'm having second thoughts about the second row of ruffles... 
What do you think? 





  1. clever lady. that great. im so gonna do one for me now. there goes my pattern ban!

    1. Thank you! I have a lot of patterns and there are a FEW that make my list, and this is one of them. I'd say if you have to get a pattern, this is one of them!


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