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Ruffled Tunic Tee Tutorial

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I have been hoarding these pink and black knit fabrics from Hobby Lobby for over a year.  I have decided I need to start using fabrics from my stash before buying anything new.  (Wink, wink… Yes, I have an Etsy basket just waiting for me to press “purchase”…)  I thought this fabric would look adorable as ruffles, so the Ruffled Knit Tunic Tee was born!

Here is how to make a Ruffled Tunic Tee for yourself:

(The measurments I am using in this tutorial will work with a size 4 to 7 t-shirt.  I will figure out what is needed for a 2/3t and add those measurements to the bottom of the post.)

Materials needed:
-Longish tee that fits (I used a Target Cherokee Tee)
-4 strips of knit fabric 3 inches by x 52 inches (you could use recycled tee’s, just cut into 3″ strips and sew together to get 52 inches)
-1/8 yard of knit fabric for the underskirt (I used the bottom of an old tee from my recycle bin.)
-water soluble marker

This top is designed to be a longer tunic length top and should hit around mid thigh.

The first step is to cut off the bottom hem off the tee.  (This will help reduce bulkiness.)

Fold underskirt fabric in half.  Using a ruler, cut a straight edge on the bottom of the fabric.  Line up the t-shirt on the fabric and draw out a 3.5 inch fabric extension for the shirt.  Then add 1/4 inch on each side as shown.  Cut out the pattern.

Turn the right sides together and sew up the side seams 1/4 inch from the edge.

Then, right sides together, line up the bottom edge of the t-shirt and top of the tunic extension piece, matching the side seams.  Pin and sew together.

Now, grab the four fabric strips. Line up the short edges, right sides together.  Pin and sew.  You will have a big circle of fabric.  Do this for all 4 fabric strips.



Next, we will ruffle the fabric circles. Switch your sewing machine to the longest stitch length. (Mine goes to 7.) Sew a straight stitch all the way around the top of the fabric circles, 1/4 inch from the top edge.  Leave the ends loose, no backstitching. Do this on all 4 fabric circles. Go ahead and move the stitch length back to the normal length.

Starting with the fabric circle for the bottom ruffle, pull on the top thread while holding the fabric, you will see the fabric start to gather up.

Keep pulling, spreading the gathers evenly around the circle, until the ruffle is as wide as the bottom of the t-shirt tunic.  (I just keep comparing the widths until they are even.)

Measure 7/8 inch from the bottom edge of the tunic top.  Mark this measurement all the way around.

Pin the wrong side of the ruffle to the right side of the tunic at this mark.

Place the gathered edge under your sewing foot and sew right over the gathering stitch. (All the books say you should remove the pins as you sew, but when I sew gathers, I usually leave my pins in.  I have broken a needle or two this way.  So if you sew over the pins, go carefully…)

With your ruler, measure 2 inches above the top edge of the bottom ruffle.  Mark this measurement all around the tunic top.
Grab the fabric for the next ruffle.  Pull the thread and gather it to appropriate width.
Pin the ruffle to the mark the same as the first ruffle and sew.  Repeat this step for the third ruffle.
For the top ruffle, mark 1 1/2 inches from the top of the 3rd ruffle.  Mark this measurement all the way around the tunic top.

This ruffle is pinned on differently.  Turn the ruffle upside down, with the right side of the ruffle fabric facing the right side of the tunic top.  Line up along your markings.

Sew right over the gathering stitch.  Once sewn, fold the ruffle down and press lightly with iron.

The next step is to top-stitch the top ruffle down.  This process was a little hard to see in my original pictures, so I re-created it in different fabrics that I could photograph better.



I used a lot of pins to hold the folded edge in place.



Sew right along the folded edge of the tunic top.  Go slowly and try to keep the fabric feeding through the machine evenly.  Remove the pins as you go.

That was the last step, you’re done!  Sit back and admire your work.  Better yet, have a sweet someone come and try on her dress…

Come back next week and I will show you how I made the t-shirt embellishment…



I hope this tutorial inspires you to make something pretty!

{Here are the measurements for a 2t/3t (Keep in mind this is just a guesstimate based on a 2t/3t
Gymboree t-shirt.)

             Line up your t-shirt on the extra fabric and draw out a 2.5 inch fabric extension.
             Cut 4 2.5 x 46 inch ruffle strips
             Sew the bottom ruffle 7/8 of an inch from the bottom (this is the same as for a larger size.)
             For the placement of the next 2 ruffles, measure 1.5 inches above the top edge of the bottom ruffle.
             For the top ruffle, measure up 1.25.}

If you are inspired to create something based on this tutorial, I would love to see it!

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  1. Sew Country Chick says:

    I love this tutorial! You really have some great projects!

  2. Shabby chic Sandy says:

    This is adorable–lucky little girl to have such a crafty Mom!

  3. OMG… I think our girls go to the same school! Love this tutorial, and can't wait to check out the rest of your site.

    Heather 🙂

    1. Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom says:

      We do go to the same school! I recognize you from your picture. Small world isn't it?

  4. Cathy @ My 1929 Charmer says:

    Love the ruffles, and the color combinations you choose. I do love to sew, so I think I might be making one for my granddaughter. Your little one is so cute, and seems to meant to be a "model". Your white chocolate peanut hearts looks so good and so does the chicken soup. Chicken soup is my fav, and always make from scratch. Thanks for sharing all your creative inspiration with Sunday's Best Par.tay!

  5. Nancy's Couture says:

    I love the mix of the pink and black fabrics!!! My little girl loves ruffles so this tunic is on the never ending To Do List:)
    Visiting from Mad Skills Monday 🙂

  6. This is just precious! I love your fabrics and your little model is adorable! I am so going to make something like this for my little granddaughter.
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  7. I love this, going to be making one for my little girl!

  8. This is so adorable!!! Love the color combos! Thanks so much for sharing at Homemaker in Heels! 🙂

  9. Laurel @ Ducks in a Row says:

    I love that you use knits – I bet it makes it that much more comfy for her. She is adorable!

  10. suburbanprairiehomemaker.com says:

    What a great way to repurpose! Thanks for sharing!
    Ann @ Suburban Prairie Homemaker

  11. atnumber29 says:

    I love this idea!!! have pinned it! :o)

  12. Very cute! I made something like this here -http://jamesandleighann.blogspot.com/2011/10/new-outfits.html

  13. So cute! Thanks for sharing.

  14. craftytexasgirls says:

    Visiting from Whipperberry! I love the 'boutique look' of this shirt. I'm a crafty mom too- stop by and see me sometime!
    🙂 Samantha

  15. freckled laundry says:

    Very sweet, Jamie! I need to make a few for Edyn. Thank you for sharing with air your laundry friday!

    1. freckled laundry says:

      P.S. (Your little model is a cutie too!)