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 a while 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 add shoulder ruffles to 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 centre of the long side.
Using a curved tool, draw a curved line from the centre 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 through two layers of fabric.
Mark the centre 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 the 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 centre 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?
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- Rowan Curve Pattern Tester Roundup
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- How to stabilise fabric with tissue paper
- 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
- How to sew a snap crotch bodysuit
- Pattern Hack: How to Add Ruffle Shoulders (this post!)
- Pattern Hack: Rowan maxi dress variation
- Pattern Hack: Scoop neckline variation
- Pattern Hack: Bodycon Dress
- Pattern Hack: 3 Ways to Sew Ringer Tee
- Pattern Hack: Tiered Gathered Dress
We’d love to see what you’re creating from the Rowan bodysuit and tee pattern or the Rowan Curve bodysuit and tee pattern! Don’t forget to tag your creations #MNRowan and @megannielsenpatterns to share what you’ve been working on, and check out what everyone else is up to!