Ruffle Fabric Skirt Tutorial

Today’s tutorial was created by Mel, aka SewingMel, who can also be found blogging at Sewingmel. Thanks, Mel!

This skirt is made based on your measurements, and it can be made for kids or adults. Ruffle fabric can be a bit bothersome, but Mel has documented some tips that made it easier to sew.


  • wondertape
  • 1-2 yards of ruffle fabric
  • 2-3″ wide elastic, 1-2 yards-you will need enough to go around your waist where you wear your skirts
  • lots of pins
  • rotary cutter
  • rotary mat
  • acrylic ruler

*This tutorial is for a skirt width that is 47″ or less (the width of the fabric). If you need a wider skirt, just cut two panels (1/2 of needed width) as instructed below, and you will make two side seams. Make sure to add your seam allowance.*

Step 1.

Cut your fabric length. My fabric was 24″ long. You will cut the bottom layer under the ruffle so that you can’t see the raw edge. There is no need to finish this edge.
Step 1

Step 2.

Measure the width of your fabric. My width was my hip measurement +5 inches. It really helps to do this on a rotary mat so that you can make sure that all of your lines are straight. Place an acrylic ruler (or yardstick) where you want to cut your width.
Step 2

Step 3.

Place a line of Wondertape against the edge of the ruler. Your line should be perpendicular to your ruffle lines. This is why it helps to do this on a lined mat. Do NOT remove the paper backing!
Step 3

Step 4.

Place your acrylic ruler 1/4″ away from the Wondertape line, and cut using your rotary cutter. I now had my hip measurement +5 inches + 1/4 inch.
Step 4

Step 5.

Carefully removed the paper backing of the Wondertape. If the tape starts to come up with the paper, carefully put the paper back and press the tape onto the fabric before continuing to remove the paper backing.
Step 5

Step 6.

Match your raw edge ruffles. Make sure that the fabric is smooth when you place it on the Wondertape. Picture is turned.
Step 6

Step 7.

Turn fabric over to check that ruffles are smooth. The Wondertape will hold the fabric in place. If fabric is not lined up, carefully adjust fabric.
Step 7

Step 8.

Serge or sew raw edge. (Don’t worry if you don’t catch all the Wondertape in the seam – it’s going to wash out in the laundry anyway.)
Step 8

Step 9.

Make waistband by measuring your waist where you like to wear your waistband using your unstretched elastic. Now, pull it tight by 2-3 inches, and cut elastic.
Serge or zig-zag elastic ends before sewing ends together using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Step 9

Finger press ends of elastic open (as shown above), and stitch through both layers of elastic 1/4-3/8″ from edge of seam on both ends of elastic. You can kind of see it. **This picture shows this step on the finished skirt.**
Step 9b

Step 10.

Find, match and pin the quarter points on the skirt and waistband, starting with the center back seam of elastic and center seam on skirt (right sides together).

Place the waistband and fabric around your legs, right sides together (non-seamed side of elastic is touching the pretty ruffled side). Stretching just the elastic waistband (it is best to wear jeans for this), match skirt fabric to waistband. Pin every 1.5-2 inches.
Step 10
Step 10b
Step 10c

Step 11.

Stretching just the elastic waistband to meet the fabric, slowly serge or zig-zag waistband. Do NOT sew over pins. Take your time!

Turn out, and you are finished!


Thanks, Mel! Happy Sewing Everyone!

A scanner to match fabric to thread?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take your fabric swatch to the store and, instead of holding it up to various spools of thread, you could just scan it and the machine would tell you the perfect match? I came across a press release today that makes me think this might not be too far off!

Coats fabric scanner

The new Coats Color CAPSURE device is part of the Coats Color Express system. Industrial manufacturers can scan any material and get a precisely matched color of thread. Coats has 14,000 shades available to commercial customers. Wouldn’t it be great to have that same matching available in a retail store?

Maybe Coats could modify it to match to the closest retail color offered. Then they could collect data on the colors that didn’t have exact matches to help them better know what colors should be offered in the future. It would also reduce the chances that your preschool assistant has time to pull a dozen spools off the display while you get what you need. Sounds like a win-win!

You can read more here.

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