Hey everyone! Holly here! I’m here with a tutorial that has been a long time coming. I’ve been adding these sweet little shoulder ruffles to my Rowan bodysuits for awhile now (this is my fourth one!), and I finally got my act together and made a little tutorial to show you how to do it yourself. Not only is it super easy, but the best part is that it’s technically not just for Rowan! This technique can actually be used on any garment, woven or knit, that has a basic set in sleeve. It would also be cute on Briar, Floreat, or even Darling Ranges or Sudley! I just happen to use it a lot on my Rowan bodysuits, so that’s what I’m going to show you here.
Let’s jump right in!
To make the ruffle pattern, start by drawing a rectangle that is 16″ long by 2 1/4″ wide. Mark the very center of the long side.
Using a curved tool, draw a curved line from the center mark down to one corner. And then again to the other corner.
Cut this piece out, this is now your ruffle pattern piece.
Cut out four ruffle pieces out of your fabric.
Place two ruffle pieces together, with right sides together, and pin along the straight long edge.
Sew together 5/8″ from the raw edge along this straight end. (Even though I’m sewing a knit, I still used a straight stitch because I’m not worried about this part of the ruffle detail needing to stretch).
Turn around, right sides facing out, so that that seam is now enclosed. Press well.
Sew one or two lines of long basting stitches along the curved edge, 5/8″ from the raw edge. This will be threw two layers of fabric.
Mark the center of the curve with a pin.
Gently pull on the thread tail at one end and use your fingers to create the gathers.
Repeat on the other end until you have an evenly gathered ruffle.
At this point you should have sewn your shoulder seams of your bodice and attached the neckband.
Lay your bodice down in front of you with the right side facing up. Place your ruffle down so that the gathered raw edge lines up with the raw armscye and the center pin mark of the ruffle matches up with the shoulder seam. Pin the rest of the ruffle to the armscye.
Repeat for the other side. Carefully measure to make sure they are even! Adjust the gathers as needed.
Now, you can stitch the ruffle to the bodice at this point to secure it, before attaching the sleeve. But I prefer to do it all at once.
You can now attach your sleeves as normal, the ruffles will just be sandwiched in between the sleeve and bodice.
One pin at a time, pin the sleeve to the ruffle and the bodice along the armscye. There will be three layers at this seam.
See the ruffle hidden, sandwiched in there?
Stitch together as usual, using a zig zag stitch or serger if you are making a Rowan or other knit garment.
Turn right side out and press. Look at those cute little ruffles! Mine ended up being a little lopsided, but still cute. Even though I measured, one of the ruffles stretched a bit when sewing. So make sure you both measure it out and sew slowly and carefully!
You can now continue sewing your side seams, hems, elastic, etc.
That’s it! Of course, you can always modify this to fit your wants and needs. You could make a bigger, wider ruffle. Or make it longer so that it extends farther down the armscye!
// LOOKING FOR MORE ROWAN POSTS? //
Here’s a list of Rowan tutorials:
- How to stabilise fabric with tissue paper
- Inspiration and ideas for sewing your Rowan
- How to lengthen or shorten the pattern
- How to sew a V neck on knit fabric
- How to insert a neck back with a regular sewing machine
- Rowan dress variation
- Scoop neckline variation
- How to sew a snap crotch bodysuit
Don’t have the Rowan sewing pattern yet?! Order Rowan today! We absolutely love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNrowan and @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media, and check out what everyone else is up to!