How To: Sewing a Lined Ruffle Skirt

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ruffle fabric is so fun.  What girl wouldn't want a ruffly skirt?  Read on to learn how I made Big Sister's lined ruffle skirt.


ruffle fabric
elastic (mine is 1.5 in. wide)
knit fabric for lining  (fairly thin fabric works best)

I purchased my fabric and elastic (which I *love*) from Ruffle Fabric.  I've also seen a pretty good selection of ruffle fabric on Ebay and at Harts Fabric.  I've even heard of people finding some at their local Hancock's Fabric.

There are instructions for dying elastic on the MADE blog, but I have not tried it.


1.  Determine dimensions and cut.  The length of the ruffle fabric should be waist measurement plus about 3 inches.  To determine height of the ruffle fabric, figure out how long you want the skirt to be, waist to hem, and subtract about one inch.  For my 4.5-year old daughter, who wears about a size 6, I cut a ruffle fabric rectangle that was 28 inches long by 13 inches tall.  I cut my lining rectangle an inch shorter in height and half an inch shorter in length, so 27.5 inches by 12 inches tall.  Make sure that the lining fabric stretches in the direction of the rectangle's longer side.

2.  Serge or zigzag the bottom of the lining piece.  It would be totally fine (and faster) to leave unfinished too, but I'm compulsive about finished edge.

3.  Sew/serge the short edges of the lining piece together, so you now have a tube shape.  I used 1/4 inch seam allowance. 

4.  Place right sides of ruffle fabric together and pin short edges of rectangle together, lining up ruffles.  Sew/serge that seam to create a tube.  I used 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Do your best to keep ruffles lined up.  They'll likely be slightly off here and there (see below), but you can do what I did and put that seam on the side of the skirt so nobody will really notice.  Now your ruffle fabric is a tube shape too.

5.  Place lining tube inside of ruffle tube.  Ruffle fabric will be right side out, and wrong sides of fabric will be together, so that the seams face each other.

6.  Serge or zigzag the top of the tubes together.  That edge will later be sewn to the elastic.

7.  Measure the skirt wearer's waist and subtract an inch.  Cut elastic to that length.  If you like, serge or finish elastic edges.

8.  Put right sides of elastic together and sew along the cut edges of elastic.  I used about a 1/4-inch seam allowance, maybe a little more.  This creates a loop of elastic.

9.   Open up the seam, and sew down each edge of elastic to the wrong side.   This part will be the center back of the skirt. 

10.  Divide the elastic loop into quarters and pin.  So one pin will be opposite the back seam, and the other pins will split the difference between that pin and the back seam.  Do the same with the skirt tube.

11.  Pin the elastic to the skirt, lining up the pins that are already marking quarters.  The right side of the skirt (the ruffles) should be pinned to the wrong side of the elastic.  The elastic will cover the stitches, where you stitched the ruffle fabric to the lining.

12.  If you want to, add more pins between the existing pins.  Although it's tedious, and I generally hate pinning, I found this very helpful.

13.  Stretching the elastic but not the fabric, sew along the bottom of the elastic (on the right side).  I find it helpful to use both hands and stretch both behind and in front of the presser foot.  I also lengthened my stitch a bit.  If you look closely, you can see the stitching here:

It's okay if the inside isn't perfect.  See, I'm not winning any sewing awards here, but nobody will ever notice.

14.  After you've attached the elastic to the skirt, admire your work because you're basically done.  You could stop here, or you could add a couple of finishing touches that I like.

15.  Add a second row of stitching on the elastic that will help reinforce the attachment of elastic to skirt. As you can see in the two photos above, it doesn't have to be perfect, and it's okay if it doesn't catch every bit of the skirt fabric.

16.  Add a label to the back of the skirt.

Ta-da!  You're finished!  You don't have to sew the hem.  Just trim neatly in a spot where the cut edge will be hidden under a ruffle.  

Your skirt should look basically like this on the inside (note that the lining is supposed to be an inch or so shorter than the ruffle fabric).

And it should look totally cute on the outside.

Now give yourself a pat on the back and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

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