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Repurposing – Girl’s Ruffle Front Shirt

Okay, humor me with one more re-purposing project. I’ve just had a bug lately.

I can’t stop.


How about a sweet little shirt with a ruffle front, for a little girl……..or even a big girl/lady/mom.

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I’m going to have to try one out for my size next.
You should too.


: : : Remember to click images to enlarge them. : : :


Alright, first I had to decide what shirt I wanted to pattern my new shirt after. I am using a ribbed knit so I found a ribbed knit tank top that my little girl already has and I knew I could cut a new shirt out about the same size, since they both stretched about the same. If you pattern after a different type of fabric, you’ll have to consider that before cutting. (They will probably lay and stretch differently.) So I knew the width of the shirt would be the same as this red tank.


I made a pattern out of paper, but made the shoulder width an inch or two wider, so that it would fall at the edge of her shoulders…..and then I could add sleeves.


Here’s what my paper pattern looked like. You can see that I measured the front and the back of the tank, making a line for the front kneck line too.


Then I cut out my front piece and back piece (out of an older, retired women’s ribbed shirt), using my pattern on the fold.


Then I sewed the front and back pieces together at the shoulders, with right sides together.


Then I found another shirt of the same size, that had longer sleeves. I just needed to know the shape of the sleeve folded in half. Make sure that the sleeve opening of your main shirt piece, is the same size as the top of the sleeve opening. That will ensure that they fit into each other. Make sense?


But I wanted half sleeves, so I cut some length off of my pattern.


So I cut out two sleeves, using my pattern on the fold.


Then I pinned the sleeves to the shirt, lining up the center of the sleeve, with the shoulder seam of the shirt. I pinned all along the opening of the sleeve, making sure to ease in the fabric. (It won’t fit exactly perfect, just line it up…pin it….line it up again….and keep pinning.) Sew into place.


Then, with right sides together still, I pinned the sides together and the underneath sides of the sleeves. I sewed one continuous seam along each side.


Then I clipped under the armpits because of the severe curve under there. (That will help it lay flat after you turn it right side out.)


Then, I cut out about 1 inch wide strips of fabric to finish off my kneck line and sleeves.


All I did was fold the strip in half…….


…..and then fold it over the kneck line, starting in the back. This isn’t a completely finished look…..but knit doesn’t fray and I really liked the more shabby look. And it would match the shabby look of the front ruffle too.


As you are sewing it in place (if you’re using knit), make sure to pull the strip of fabric and make sure that the shirt’s kneck line isn’t pulled at all as you sew. This will help the kneck keep its shape. Believe me, I didn’t pull the strip very much the first time and I had to pick out the whole thing and try again.


Here’s the finished neck line. Far from perfect…..but it will work for a first attempt.


Then I did the same thing with the sleeves.


And then I turned under the bottom once, and sewed it into place….making sure that it didn’t pull at all while I was sewing.


Then I cut out 3 more strips that were about twice as long as I wanted each ruffle to be….and about 3/4 of an inch wide. I made the center strip just a tad longer. Then I pinned them to the shirt, exactly where I wanted each ruffle to start.


And then, I don’t have a picture of it, but I pinned where I wanted each ruffle to end, so that I knew how much I should make it ruffle and where to end, as I was sewing.


As I started sewing each strip in place, I just bunched the fabric up as I went. I’d sew about an inch, bunch up some more fabric, and sew another inch.


No science to it really…….I just wanted a simple, imperfect ruffle.


And that’s it. I learned a lot from putting a shirt together from scratch…..but most of all, that it was easier than I thought it would be. Seems intimidating but seriously, give it a try. And consider that you aren’t wasting a single thing if you are re-purposing an old shirt of your own.


Go on, gather up some old shirts…..and make something new.

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 the 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. Lina Art says:

    Thank You for work and info.

  2. Jess says:

    U have awesome ideas. Im so excited to see what else you come up with. I have 3 little girls, so finding your blog was a treat! I can not wait to see what else you make!! :D

  3. childrens jackets says:

    I’m happy that I got an idea to what to do with my old clothes. I think this one is easy to do. I try this for my kid’s clothes.

  4. Embellished by Design says:

    I LOVE this shirt and finally got a chance to make 2 for my little girls. Here is a link to see what I made:

  5. Vanessa says:

    OH! That is so cute!! You have just managed to convince me to pull my sewing machine out of the basement!!

  6. binelectric says:

    looks really nice…want to make on for myself!

  7. says:

    You make it look so easy (& so great!)–I'm going to give it a go, thanks!!

  8. Nancy says:

    Wow! How clever. I'm so excited to try this one out.

  9. Genevieve says:

    so i just made a shirt this morning using your tutorial and i love love love it!!! thank you SO much for sharing your awesome tutorials. i've blogged about it here-

    thanks so much again!

  10. Lisa says:

    LOVE IT!! She is SSSSOOO beautiful!! You are an amazing photographer also!!

  11. TwoHeartsTogether says:

    Thats awesome! I would have never thought to do that…

  12. McKeehan's says:

    I love your site and LOVE this idea. I am so glad that I just found your site and now I will be reading it every day for these great ideas! Also, I'm going to raid my husband's closet right now for old dress shirts!

  13. Mama Lusco says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial…this is adorable! I also love to reuse fabric. I can't wait to try this!

  14. adrienne says:

    I just heard about your blog and I'm so excited about it!! Please keep the re-purposing projects coming!!

  15. msbits says:

    Hey! I loved this post so much I also did a shirt! You can see it here: Also, I think it's funny that I should point out that my daughter has the same skirt and shoes! lol. I think your daughter and my daughter have the same "look." :) So chic!

  16. Sabrina @ Twiggles and Trunks says:

    you made this look so easy!

  17. Sabrina @ Twiggles and Trunks says:


  18. Elisha says:

    Just love your blog.. its so full of inspiration, that i cant wait to get on the net each day to read what new project you have created?
    thanks for your blog.. keep up the great work of inspirating others! :)

  19. Mango Mom says:

    I just love this I thought that it was cute on an adult shirt but its super cute on a little girls. Great tutorials.

  20. Sarah says:

    I for one just love all of the re purposing you are doing. Bravo.

  21. Grace says:

    That's adorable! My projects list is piling up!

  22. Watson Ink. says:

    I love it! I am totally into repurposing my old shirts into stuff for my little girl! Thanks for the idea!!

  23. MaryAnne says:

    I love repurposing fabric, so I've enjoyed this series of posts you've been running. I really like the way you finished off the neckline; I wouldn't have thought to do it that way but it looks great!

  24. Kelsee says:

    Thank you! I was totally waiting for another tutorial. Lol I have yet another project to add to my list now! Thanks for clearing that up! -Kelsee

  25. Curtis and Dani Welton says:

    I love how you did the ruffles. So simple.

  26. Jennifer says:

    That came out well. I may just try that.

  27. The Paxton Family says:

    I absolutely LOVE your tutorials! They are so easy to follow and make me excited to try and make them myself! This shirt is gorgeous, I used to have a fear of ruffles, but you make them look so easy and so good! Thanks!

  28. JK says:

    Okay, this has got to be one of the cutest shirts EVER! Love it!

  29. The Wood FAMILY!! says:

    When i look at this i think Amazing and impossible, BUT im determined to do it…….well atleast try!

  30. Kari @ Ucreate says:

    Loooove it!!

  31. Kent and Katie says:

    I am just LOVING all of your repurposing!! Keep it coming!

  32. Ashley says:

    Kelsee, no, those are just baby legs that she's wearing under a denim skirt. Thought I tricked you, huh? :)

  33. Jen Ell says:

    How adorable. I may just have to make one for myself!

  34. Kelsee says:

    Ok, now I'm looking closer now, but are the leggings you have her in something you made too? Did you just do the same thing that you did in the post of making the skirt and leggings with old shirts? -Kelsee

  35. Diana says:

    So very cool! The great part about it is that if you mess up, you didn't spend on fabric. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for re purposing cotton shirts that were a little bit stained? Any ideas?

  36. evan-emily-lincoln says:

    So cute! You are so creative! What a great idea – I can't wait to try it!

  37. Kelsee says:

    You rock my world, seriously! I never thought about making my own shirts for the kids, just the bottoms. I have a ton of knit stuff and I might have to get crackin' now! This is so awesome! Thank you! I've used so many of your ideas for kid clothes it not even funny! -Kelsee

  38. Alisa says:

    You amaze me! I just found your blog and love what you are doing with repurposing.

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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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