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Re-Purposing: T-shirt into Ruffly Dress

Oooh, oooh, oooh……ruffles, ruffles, and more ruffles.
I received several different colors of ruffle fabric a few weeks ago (from the Ruffle Fabric shop, found here).  I ripped open that box and colorful ruffles came pouring out.  I could hardly stand it.  I was in love.  Ahhh….
And for my first project, and to keep things nice and simple, I turned a T-shirt into a ruffly dress…….based off my t-shirt into dress tutorial here.
And to keep that satin flower nice and full……and from getting damaged in the wash……
……….it’s removable.
And don’t forget that big floppy bow, tied up in the back.
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Such a fun and full little ruffly dress.  And all those ruffles came just like that……..pre-ruffled. Yay.
This girl wants everything to spin.  Check.  The dress does that too…
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Sure to look sweet on any sized girl……..even you!.
Who doesn’t love ruffles?
What a great discovery…..this great Ruffle Fabric shop(You should see all the colors and ruffle sizes they have over there.) Mmmmm.  Love the possibilities.
I’ll be making more with my ruffles from the Ruffle Fabric Shop.  So keep an eye out.
Would you like to make your own Ruffly Dress?


So the key to this project is, having your own ruffly fabric. (found here)  These ruffles are primarily polyester and are light and airy.  Not a heavy fabric with all those ruffles at all.  And you don’t have to hem up the bottom at all…….once you cut between the rows of ruffles, your fabric is set and won’t fray.  Love that.
And see?  Each row is pre-ruffled, the perfect amount…
**Keep in mind, this fabric has a good amount of stretch to it.  So while sewing with it, it acts a lot like knit.  So if it’s pulling and stretching while sewing, increase your stitch length to help you guide the fabric under your needle a little easier.  Using a zig-zag stitch can be very helpful too.
The rest of the tutorial is very similar to this one, which I’ll be referencing often.  So be sure to check that one out too!
First, I cut the little knit tee off where I thought I’d like the little empire waist line to hit my daughter.  (I used a pin to mark the shirt while she had it on, and then added another 3/4 of an inch for a seam allowance.)
Then I decided how long I’d like the skirt portion on her.  I cut a length of 18 inches and left the entire width of the fabric (50 inches) so that I could gather it in to give the skirt more fullness.
I folded my 18 inch long piece in half width wise, and placed each selvage edge together, trying my best to match up each row of ruffles.
Then I serged along that edge (but you can sew and then zig-zag), to create a tube of fabric.  This seam will be placed along the back of the skirt.
Then I made a basting stitch along the top front section of the skirt and the top back section of the skirt, both about 1/2 inch from the top.  (Need help with gathering?  Click here for help.)
(And if you look closely at the image below, there is a little bit of a strip of fabric above that top row of ruffle.  This is where I made my basting stitch and also where I’ll be sewing the skirt section to the shirt.)
Then I found the center and sides of the shirt bottom and the skirt top…..and placed pins.
Next, I turned the skirt section inside out and placed the shirt upside down, down into the skirt section.  Then I matched up the edges that will be sewn together, having both pieces of fabric together with right sides together.
Then I pulled on my basting stitches at the sides and gathered up the fabric to match the width of the shirt.  Pin the skirt in place.
Then serge (or zig-zag) that raw edge.  Be sure to keep checking that your ruffles are pointed down towards the bottom of the dress, and aren’t getting in the way as you’re sewing.  You only want to include that top strip of fabric in this seam.
If your seam stretches and ruffles a bit after sewing……it’s okay.  After you turn it right side out and add the belt……it will all be hidden.
Then turn it right side out.  Perfectly attached.
Then just like in the tutorial above, you’ll make a belt to go around the dress.
But before attaching the belt, I made a flower (like the ones here).  But I added pearls to the center instead, with a needle and thread.  I also held the flame under the satin more, to really ruffle up each petal.  Just be careful not to burn yourself or melt through the fabric.  Or blacken it.  Play around with it to see what works for you.
And then I also cut out some felt leaves.  And then stitched around the outer edge of each leaf.
Then I hot glued each leaf to the back of the flower.
And then I cut out a felt circle and attached a snap to it.
Then hot glued the circle with the snap, right to the back of the leaves.
Then I positioned the belt where it needed to go, then marked with a pin where I thought the flower should go, removed the belt, and hammered the snap into the belt only.  Then I layed the belt back down, pinned it in place……..
……..and then sewed the belt in place, just like the dress tutorial referenced above.  (Along the top and bottom of the belt and at each side of the dress.)  Just be sure to keep your ruffles down as you’re sewing, so they down get mangled and twisted under your seam.
And that was it.
All ready for it’s ruffly debut.

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  1. Annette H says:

    I can’t WAIT to make this dress x3! One for my daughter and two for my nieces, all for Christmas. You make this look so easy, perfect for a beginner like me. Thanks for the tutorial!!

  2. Marnie says:

    Thank you, Love it, and so does my daughter-in-law so will be making it for my 2 little grand daughters!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Love it, and so does my daughter-in-law so will be making it for my 2 little grand daughters!

  4. tharana says:

    thank u so much for this! check out what i’ve done with pre-ruffled fabrics

    and i’ve linked you in my site too!

  5. vanessa says:

    I just finished my ruffled dress and I’m so pleased with the results! Great project for a beginner with just a few projects under my belt.

    Thanks and I’m officially obsessed with your website!!


  6. Kristy says:

    I love this dress!! I am wondering what the ruffel langth is though. I went to the web site and there are sooo many to choose from. I love the way this one looks for little girls! Thanks

  7. Jess says:

    Very georgeous….I am a begginer at sewing and I find your site very helpful. Thank you.

  8. Amy says:

    Thank you for the tutorial! I made a ruffle shirt/dress for my daughter to wear at a wedding rehearsal and it was a big hit!

  9. Gizem says:

    What a great idea! Loved the dress. I am thinking of a way to adapt it for myself :)

  10. Michelle says:

    My 16 year old would even love to have a skirt made from that material.

  11. Anonymous says:

    So cute… You teach me new things everyday now there is something I have been wanting to know how to make is the petti romper or bubble romper if you find out can you please let us know….

  12. Anonymous says:

    I sooooo totally have to make that dress!!!!! You are such a genius!:)

  13. Toya of The Limerick Lane says:

    When I saw this post I ran out and bought fabric for this dress. I just completed one for my 2yr old niece. I'm going to complete one for my 3yr old niece today!! I love it and it was so easy!!

  14. Ashley says:

    Christy, I used the 1" inch ruffle for this dress.

    Alysson, yes I think the 2" ruffle with the satin bodice would make an adorable flower girl dress. GO for it! :)


  15. Tim, Allyson, and kids says:

    Do you think the white 2" ruffle fabric combined with a white satin bodice and brightly colored waistband (and back bow) would work for a flower girl's dress?

    Our daughter is in my brother's wedding and I'd like to make something, but want to keep it pretty and simple.

  16. Admitted Fabricaholic says:

    I wanted to thank you again for introducing me to pre-ruffled fabric! Came up with the cutest dress thanks to you:

  17. Valerie says:

    perfection! i needed something to do with my extra preruffled fabric!

    Thanks!! I am filing this at

  18. Beth says:

    Oh. My. Stars! That is so stinkin cute! And I have the perfect top to make it with! Well, actually it's a knit shirt-dress that my daughter decided to get "creative" with and cut a hole right in the middle of the tummy! It's the cutest stripe pattern and I just couldn't throw it out, so it has just been waithing for several months till I could come up with a good re-purposing project for it. Hopefully it will still fit my 4-year-old. If not, I have a 3-month-old that I just may have to pack it away for. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!

  19. Danielle says:

    That ruffle fabric is AWESOME! I've never seen it before. Absolutely love what you did with the dress :) My niece may have one of these in her near future!

  20. Christy says:

    What size ruffle fabric did you use for the adorable dress you made?
    I really love the scale on your daughter! I hate to order and be disappointed!

  21. ClassiclyAmber says:

    Oh, this is so sweet! Thanks for sharing the tut. I will stick this on my list of 999 projects to try! :D

  22. Eva Marie Harp says:

    That dress came out cute as can be. I was so easy thank you for sharing.

  23. silvia says:

    How much fabric did you used for this dress?

  24. Jennifer says:

    love it, just love it!!!!

  25. Rhonda says:

    Love, love, love this!!!

    Do you sell them pre made??

    I would love one, or 2 for my little girl, but I am not a sewer :(

  26. Melissa says:

    Your blog has to be my most favorite crafty blog!! There is NOTHING you can't do & create. Thanks for so many fantastic tutorials, I know that has to be time consuming. Can't wait to try this dress sometime!

  27. plantinglittleseeds says:

    Your blog is SO cute! You have inspired me to start SO many NEW projects! Great Tuts!!

  28. Steph says:

    That's so funny! Whenever my 3yo tries on a dress she has to "see if it spins" before she decides if she likes it. Cute!

  29. Lindsey says:

    Love this! Can't wait to make one for my girls!

  30. Prissy says:

    Just precious!…especially the twirling.

  31. teapotrose says:

    Well, I would NOT look good in it but I do think it is adorable, LOL.

  32. Lori says:

    Wonderful! You're so right everyone could wear a version of this. My daughter (she's 19) and I both want something with this fabric.

  33. Anne Magee says:

    So adorable! My 5 year old would love this!

  34. SouthernProletariat says:

    I don't know who I love more- You for telling me about them- or them for supplying the fabric!

    Big fat SMOOCH! to you!!

  35. Anonymous says:

    OH MY GOODNESS!!! I LOVE IT! I have a 9 year old and 5 month old…I see matching RUFFLY dresses in the nvery near future. I'm addicted to you blog by the way! I just need to learn to sew in my sleep and all will be good. :o)

  36. bethanndodd says:

    So adorable! I don't have any daughters (3 boys for me!). You think the ruffle fabric would look good made as a circle skirt for me?

  37. Lynsie says:

    This is soooo cute! I am going to try a smaller version, on a onesie!!

  38. Leslie says:

    Damn, this sooo make me wish I had a serger! thanks for all the great ideas you share.

  39. Lil' Bit and Nan says:

    Ashley! This is gorgeous! I have to make one for me and my daughter. You are so amazingly talented!

  40. Laree says:

    one word: LOVE!!!

  41. Malea says:

    love love love this ruffle fabric!! And great idea with the removable flower… I'll have to remember that tip!

  42. Smith Family says:

    Darling! I love that you can remove the flower so that it doesn't get tattered in the wash!
    I might have to check out that shop for me!

  43. Cole's Corner says:

    Adorable dress!

  44. Leigh the sewing diva says:

    that is lovely! things like this make me wish i had a girl too.

  45. The Wade's says:

    Oh my gosh! HOW darling!! Can't wait to make one for my darling girl!!

  46. Grace says:

    This is perfect! I would totally wear this! ;)

  47. Country Mouse says:

    Super adorable!!! Thanks for the tutorial!!!

  48. Malori says:

    This is so pretty!!! I love that it twirls – that is very important!

  49. Trica (Tree' - ka) says:

    Love it!!

  50. Natalie says:

    Sooooo cute! I love all the colors together! You are FABULOUS!

  51. ❣❤ Daniela ❤❣ says:

    It's adorable!
    I love it!

  52. Louise says:

    Love that fabric, haven't seen it in the UK yet though, might have to keep looking as that is adorable…..

  53. kpmattingly says:

    LOVE the ruffles!!!! Such a cute dress!

  54. Mrs. Knitters says:

    I have just read your blog from the beggining. I love your ideas. I also like to use things that are no longer needed and turn them in sth that can be used again :) It's great fun!

    The dress is fabulous. :)

  55. Admitted Fabricaholic says:

    oh boy oh boy oh boy! Pre ruffled fabric – who knew?!! Thank you so very much! Your dress is adorable!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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