How to Sew a Dreamy DIY Ruffle Dress Out of Old Curtains

by Recreateful
14 Materials
6 Hours

I bought curtains at the thrift store at a super cheap price and decided to make a ruffle dress. If you’ve been wanting to learn how to make ruffles on a dress or how to sew ruffles on a dress, this tutorial will walk you through how I did it.

You don’t have to copy the pattern exactly as you may not find the same fabric or even like the same style I chose. However, what you will learn is how to make ruffles on a dress and how to sew ruffles on a dress all by yourself.

Follow along with me as I make my DIY ruffle dress to inspire you.

Tools and materials:

  • Fabric
  • Well-fitting top
  • Zipper
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Safety pin
  • Pins
  • Needle and thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Button
  • Elastic

I’m making this dress out of a single curtain panel. I’m making the pattern myself, based on my measurements. Follow along to learn how I did it.

DIY ruffle dress pattern

1. Make the pattern

Watch the video from 0:30 to see how to copy the DIY ruffle dress pattern using your own measurements and a well-fitting top.

Inserting a zipper

2. Insert the zipper

Open the zipper and pin it into the back skirt pieces right sides facing.

Sewing along the pinned edge

Sew along the pinned edge using a zipper foot. 

Sewing the seam below the zipper

Once the zipper is attached, fold the skirt in half, right sides together, pin, and sew the seam below the zipper. Serge or zigzag stitch the edges of the seam.

Sewing channels for the ruching

3. Sew the channels

Serge all the edges of the two channel pieces.

Placing the channels on the skirt

These are sewn on the front skirt piece right below the bustier.

How to sew the channels

Each channel piece is sewn on either side along the length and a shorter center seam.

Folding the ends of the channels

Before sewing the channel, fold over the top and bottom for a professional finish.

Sewing the channels onto the skirt

It should look like this.

Pressing the strips like bias tape

4. Sew the strips

Attach two strips together to make a long strip. Use a bias tape maker or fold over the top and bottom along the length and press the raw edges in. Fold along the middle and sew all along the edge. Fold in the top and bottom to enclose all the raw edges.

Sewn drawstrings for the ruching

Use the same technique for the second strip. 

Feeding the strips through the channels

5. How to sew ruffles on a dress

Feed the strips through the channels with a safety pin out to the other end.

Feeding them strips back out the other side

Feed it back through the other side of the channel. Repeat for the second channel. Sew the top of the channel shut so the strips can’t be pulled out.

Sewing a basting stitch along the side of the skirt front

Sew a basting stitch along the side of the front skirt piece. 

Pulling the thread to gather the fabric

Pull on the thread to create the ruffled effect to match the length of the back piece. 

How to sew a skirt with ruffles and ruching

6. Complete sewing the skirt

Place the front and back pieces of the skirt right sides together. Sew both side seams. Turn right side out.

Pulling the drawstrings to ruffle the skirt

Pull on the drawstrings to ruffle up the skirt to be the same length all around. Distribute the ruffles evenly. Tie a bow at the bottom of each channel.

Sewing the bodice of the dress

7. Sew the top

Serge all the raw edges before sewing. Sew a basting stitch along the shoulder seam on all the bodice pieces. Pull on the threads and ruffle the shoulder seams to the desired length. 

Sewing the bodice pieces together

Sew the bodice pieces right sides together. 

Finishing the neckline with bias tape

8. Finish the neckline

Measure the entire neckline. Make a bias tape with the neckline measurement, pin, and sew it into position.

Gathering the armhole to fit the bodice

9. Sew the sleeves

Sew a basting stitch at the top. Pull on the threads to ruffle to fit the armhole of the bodice.

Attaching the sleeves to the bodice

Attach them with pins, right sides together. Sew into position.

Sewing the sleeves

Close up the sides by folding the top in half and sewing along the sleeves.

Sewing the cuffs

10. Sew the cuffs

Fold in the cuff on the top and bottom. Sew into a loop.

Folding the cuffs in half

Fold in half, right sides facing.

Attaching the cuffs to the sleeves

11. Attach the cuffs

Sew a basting stitch at the bottom of the sleeve and pull on the threads to match the size of the cuff.

Inserting the cuff into the sleeve

Place the raw edge of the cuff into the sleeve bottom. Pin in place, matching up the side seams.

Topstitching the cuffs by hand

Topstitch the cuff in place. I found it challenging to use the machine here so I hand sewed the cuffs.

Trimming the back pieces

12. Assemble the dress

Trim the back pieces to match the front of the bodice.

Sewing a basting stitch along the bottom of the bodice

Sew a basting stitch all along the bottom of the bodice. Pull on the threads.

Pinning the bodice to the skirt

Pin the bodice to the skirt, right sides together, matching up all the seams. This is the ideal time to adjust all the ruffles to make sure it fits properly. Sew them together and serge the edges.

Attaching a button and neck closure

13. Add a neck closure

Attach a button and a small elastic loop at the top neck closure.

Full disclosure: When I tried my DIY ruffle dress on, there was a bit too much going on. I decided to shorten it, remove the bows, and make other adjustments so it wasn’t quite so dramatic. I attached the strips at the bottom when I hemmed the dress.

DIY ruffle dress

DIY ruffle dress tutorial

Here’s the final result. I’m thrilled with my DIY ruffle dress.

How to make a ruffle skirt dress

I hope I showed you how to make a ruffle skirt dress. Please let me know in the comments if my tutorial helped you.

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Well-fitting top
  • Zipper
See all materials

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