How to Make a Sexy Ruched Dress Out of an Old Maxi Dress

6 Materials
1 Hour

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make ruched dress. If you have an old maxi dress that has seen better days, give it a new life as a sexy mini dress with ruching on the sides.

This project is quick, easy, and fun, and a great way to add something beautiful and unique to your wardrobe. Follow along with this DIY ruched dress sewing tutorial for step-by-step instructions.

Tools and materials:

  • Sleeveless maxi dress
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
Thrifted dress before the upcycle

Cutting open the dress at the side seams

1. Cut open the dress

To begin, cut open the side seams of the dress, and lay the fabric flat. 

Pressing fabric so it's easy to work with

2. Iron

Iron the fabric so it will be easier to work with. 

Cutting off the bottom of the dress

3. Fold and cut

Fold one end of the dress in half lengthwise, and cut 8-10 inches off the bottom of the dress. 

How to sew a ruched dress

Do the same on the other side of the dress, using the piece you already cut as a guide to ensure the length is even on both sides. 

Finishing the raw edges with a zigzag stitch

4. Sew

Finish all the raw edges with a zigzag or overlock stitch. 

Sewing the side seams of the DIY ruched dress

5. Pin and sew the side seams

Sew the side seams of the dress back together, leaving a 2 cm (0.8 in) seam allowance.

Pressing the seams flat

6. Iron the seams

Open the seam allowance, and iron it flat. 

Pinning the seam allowance ready to sew

7. Pin and sew the seam allowance

Pin down the edges of the seam allowance, and sew them down as close to the edges as possible, to create two tunnels on either side of the dress. 

Cutting strips of fabric

8. Cut strips

Use the offcuts from the bottom of the dress to cut strips of fabric, each 5 cm (2 in) wide. 

Sewing the strips

9. Sew

Sew the strips together to make four long strips. Fold the edges of each strip inwards and then sew them down along the long edges, to create drawstrings. 

Inserting the drawstrings into the tunnels

10. Insert drawstrings and sew

Use a safety pin to pull each drawstring through one of the tunnels. Sew the ends of each drawstring in place at the top of the tunnels, just under the armholes. 

How to make ruched dress

How to make ruched dress tutorial

Your ruched dress is done! You can add ruching at the neckline as well, and a tie in the back, as optional finishing touches, or leave it as is. 

Isn’t this dress fantastic? This thrift flip is magic. Let us know in the comments what you think of this DIY ruched dress.

Suggested materials:
  • Sleeveless maxi dress
  • Scissors
  • Pins
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation