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Embellished Tee with Ruffled Front and Cuffs

Remember how I have been improvising with my maternity wardrobe?
Instead of buying a bunch of maternity shirts……I have purchased some knit tees, a size or two bigger than normal, and have embellished them up a bit.
I seriously tire of my maternity shirts.  Really quickly.
And sometimes feel grumpy wearing the same ones over and over again.
So this has been the perfect way to add a few new shirts to the maternity closet.  And not spend a ton.
Here is the Embellished Tee with Flowers, here.
And the Embellished Tee with Strips, here.
Remember, all of these ideas can be used for non-maternity use too.  So if you’re feeling grumpy in your same shirts like I have been (it’s okay, just admit it), head out and find some inexpensive knits to embellish up a bit.
So today……….a ruffled front tee with ruffled cuffs.
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A nice and quick way to happy up your mood.
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With a sweet multi-layered ruffle down the front, adorned with several buttons.
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And similar ruffles along the sides of both cuffs.
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Who doesn’t need a little change from their plain ‘ol tee?
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TIP: I always hang dry the clothing I have made. (Mostly because I’m tall and don’t want them to shrink up.) But after washing shirts that I have embellished, I pat the embellished part flat, so that it dries in the shape I’d like it…….and then hang or lay the shirt flat to dry.  Placing them in the dryer may distort/scrunch up your embellishment, making you very unhappy! :)

Would you like to make one for yourself? 


Find a knit tee on sale (I found this one at Target), in your closet, or make one yourself (like I did here for another project) to use as your main shirt.
Then, find a few pieces of sheer fabric to use for your ruffle.  You can use thicker cotton or knit but it will make it heavier and may pull funny on the shirt because of all the layers.  I found these scraps of chiffon/voile/curtain-y material in the scrap bin at Walmart.  All were machine washable and they cost me about $1 for more than I needed.  I bought two different textures……one has a crinkle to it and the other is just a plain sheer voile.  (The crinkle one was made for curtains I’m pretty sure…)
All measurements will be a bit different, depending on tall you are, where you want your ruffle, etc.
But here are the measurements for my ruffle pieces.
I cut three pieces of my sheer fabric to be:
  • 9 x 17 inches
  • 7 x 17 inches
  • 5 x 17 inches
Here’s a more up close shot of the fabric texture…….in case you’re looking for fabrics that are unlabeled in the remnant bin at the store.
Fold each strip in half lengthwise and sew 1/4 inch from the edge.  I used a narrow zig-zag stitch and then trimmed off the edge.
Then turn each strip right side out and iron flat.  While you’re ironing, place the seam along the backside, but not directly down the middle.  (I placed my seam right down the middle but found that it adds more bulk as you’re trying to ruffle the pieces in the future steps.  So just offset the seam to the side just a bit…..while still keeping it hidden in the back.)
Then fold under each end a 1/4 inch, another 1/4 inch, then sew in place.
Next, stack your 3 ruffles on top of each other, with the most narrow strip on top.  Then sew a basting stitch right down the center of your 3 ruffles.  (Need help with basting stitches and gathering?  See the post here.)
Gather your stack of strips down to about an 8 inch long ruffle and place on the front of your shirt.  I started the ruffle right below the collar and it ends slightly below my bust.  Pin in place.
And while pinned, try on the shirt to see if it looks right on you.  (Differences in ruffle length will also depend on how low/high of a scoop the collar on your shirt is.)
Then sew a seam right down the center of your ruffle, attaching the ruffle to the shirt.  You may need to increase your stitch length just a bit, so you’re not pulling too much on the ruffle or the knit shirt as you go.
Then steam/iron your ruffle flat.  Also, if your knit shirt pulled at all while sewing the ruffle to it, steam the shirt from the inside to shrink that knit back up again.
Next, hand sew some buttons on.
For the cuffs, I only made a single layer ruffle for each cuff.  So I cut two strips of the chiffon that were 4.5 x 9 inches.  I folded, ironed, and sewed up the ends the same way as the ruffles above.
And then ruffled them up the same as above.  I attached them to sides of the cuffs, opposite the inner seam of the sleeve.  My shirt already had little cuffs on them that were were 4 inches long, so I used that as my guide for how long to make each ruffle.  But you don’t have to have a cuff on your shirt to add this detail.
Then I added a few buttons down the center of each ruffle.
I layed the sleeve on the right flat, with the seam along the right side………so you could see how the ruffle placement on the outer edge of the cuff looked.
And that is it.
Nice and simple……..and pretty quick.
Sure helps a drab wardrobe.
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Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Jaderbomb says:

    this is SO cute!!!

  2. Barbara says:

    This is great! I just love the fact that you take the time to post such wonderful detailed easy to follow instructions for your projects. I'm still very much an amateur sew-er but I feel that I can actually do this! Thanks so much for all you do.

  3. Atelier Caseiro says:

    Hello! I love to visit your blog. My name is Ana, I'm from Brazil and I am adding your blog to my list, ok?

  4. kbloems27 says:

    Great idea!! Can't wait to give it a try!!


  5. Missy says:

    I love this!!!
    I stumbled on your blog via One Pretty Thing. I am 28 weeks pregnant today and definitely could use some cute maternity shirts and this is adorable! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Patty Wright says:

    I love it!!! Thanks for this tutorial! Would you teach us more some sewing tips,pls? You inspired me to start sewing and as i learn more and more from you I get so excited that I can't just stop!! Would be really cool if you also taught us how to read patterns and maybe how to install zippers on purses, or maybe how to create/design your own pattern. Happy New Year!

  7. Slipcovers by Shelley says:

    Fabulous idea….I love it.

  8. Empty Nest Full Life says:

    What a great way to spruce up a plain Tee. I will need to try this one out, and just realized that you are in Georgia, so am I, and we must be fairly close since it snowed at my house the day after Christmas too! Looking forward to seeing more of your creative ideas in the New Year. Have a blessed and wonderful New Year. Jackie

  9. Magia da Inês says:

    ♫°° Amiga,

    °º♫ Para você em 2011:

    ° • ♫ "Os sonhos realizados…
    °º ♫°° ♫♫ O amor esperado…
    ° ·. •*• ♫ A esperança renovada…"

    Brasil °º♫
    ° ·.

  10. Country Girl in the City says:

    So cute! Now if only I had enough ooomph to do that to some of my maternity tees right now….

  11. Carrie says:

    super cute! i hope to try this =)

  12. just chic says:

    lovely idea

  13. Lisa says:

    You are so creative! Now when do we get to see a picture of you wearing these maternity shirts??? :) Hope you are feeling well!

  14. southernscraps says:

    Love this! Cute touch on the sleeves!

  15. thefinderofthings says:

    I love this idea for re-purposing shirts that may be covered in stains :)

  16. Lynette @ My Craft Discovery says:

    love what you did to the sleeves!

  17. Tiffany says:

    This is something that is simple and easy that even I could attempt it. And the outcome is adorable.

  18. Laura Gerencser says:

    I love it!

  19. Chelsea says:

    Wow, this is adorable! And you make it look so easy!

  20. *katie says:

    Very cute! I need to do this to my post maternity clothes :)

  21. Mindy says:

    Adorable! The cuffs are super cute.

  22. Smith Family says:

    I love it! What a darling idea….love the cuffs!

  23. Laurelann says:

    I had the most amazing thought while reading this post. I struggle with changing up my wardrobe and I rewear the same things over again a lot. Couldn't you make a ruffle with a felt back and pins to hold it on? Then you could move the ruffle to any item you wanted. This would be especially neat in the case of the cuff sized ruffles. Just a thought!

  24. Sheri says:

    Oh my gosh that is just ADORABLE!!!! LOVE IT!

    I don't know if you know Edie or not,but i have a pray-hop for her on my main blog: if you would like to add your prayers.

  25. Michelle says:

    Love the shirt! And I love the phrase "happy up your mood." I'm going to use it as much as possible over the next few weeks. Thanks for the inspiration!

  26. Homemaking Expert says:

    So, I got a sewing machine (BRAND NEW) at Savers before Christmas for $14!! It is YOU who inspired that purchase. ;) I shared this adorable post with my readers:

  27. Kim's Treasures says:

    Adorable!! Love it!

  28. Cold Oatmeal and Purple Cows says:

    What a snappy looking t shirt. I have a pile of shirts waiting to be prettied up… Maybe this will get me going. Only 5 more days of Christmas vacation left.

  29. Pam @ diy Design Fanatic says:

    Very cute!

  30. Sweet Audrey says:

    ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ Thank you for sharing.

    Merry★* 。 • ˚ ˚ •。★Christmas★ 。* 。*
    ° 。 ° ˚* _Π_____*。*˚★ 。* 。*。 • ˚ ˚ •。★
    ˚ ˛ •˛•*/______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛★ 。* 。*★ 。* 。*
    ˚ ˛ •˛• | 田田|門| ˚and a Happy New Year!



  31. Admitted Fabricaholic says:

    Love it – what a cute idea for a drab old tee. So happy I found your site! Thanks :)

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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