Make a One Shoulder Ruffle Top From a Floral Skirt

I’m dedicating this refashion to my mother who taught me to love and appreciate beautiful things, especially flowers.   This floral skirt I scored at the thrift store is exactly the kind of print she would wear – bright, bold and a little edgy.  I thought the abstract print would translate beautifully into a modern but feminine one shoulder ruffle top.  On a recent visit, my mother gave me the thumbs up on this easy refashion project.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to upcycle a skirt into a one-shoulder ruffle top by remaking the bottom of the skirt into a ruffle and reusing the remaining fabric as a one shoulder tank.  This project took an afternoon to make.  Here’s a quick overview:

  • Step 1:  Chop up the skirt

  • Step 2:  Cut out the tank

  • Step 3:  Sew shoulder and sides of the tank

  • Step 4:  Finish the armhole

  • Step 5:  Cut off the bottom of the skirt and make it into a ruffle

  • Step 6:  Attach ruffle to the tank

  • Step 7:  Attach a casing to the top of the tank

  • Step 8:  Insert elastic in the casing and hem the bottom of the tank

Step 1:  Chop up the skirt

I chopped off the ruffle and waist.  The blue fabric is the lining of the skirt I will reuse for the tank.

Step 2:  Cut out the tank

I made my pattern using an old woven tank top from my closet.  My original plan was to cut a straight line from the high point of the shoulder to the underarm of the opposite armhole, but I didn’t like how that line cut across my neck.  I redrew the line with my french curve to gracefully swoop under my collarbone.  I used this pattern for both the front and back of the ruffled tank.

Step 3:  Sew shoulder and sides of the tank

With right sides together, sew the shoulder and side seams of the lining.  Repeat with the floral fabric.

Step 4:  Finish the armhole

With right sides together, pin the armhole and stitch.  Clip the seam allowance, turn the tank inside out and press the seam.  If you don’t have a lining with your skirt, you can finish the armhole with bias binding.

Step 5:  Make the bottom of the skirt into a ruffle

In my haste, I forgot to take a picture of this step, so you’ll have to use your imagination.  I cut off the weird sheer ribbon because I didn’t think it worked with the print.  Then I hemmed the bottom.  Next, I sewed gathering stitches at the top and pulled until it was the same as size as the shoulder opening.

Step 7:  Attach ruffle to the tank

Pin the ruffle to the shoulder opening and sew.

Step 7:  Attach a casing to the top of the tank

I added a bias binding at the shoulder hole to hold the elastic.   The shoulder opening was 34″, so I cut the bias binding 1″  longer.  I cut the bias binding  2.5″ wide to accommodate the width of the elastic.  Fold the bias binding in half lengthwise and pin and sew the binding to the shoulder opening.  By now, the shoulder opening had four layers of fabric.  To reduce the bulk, I graded the seam allowance, which means trimming the seam allowance in graduating layers.

Flip the bias binding to the back and stitch in the ditch from the front, making sure to catch the folded edge of the binding.  Leave a 1″ opening.

Step 8:  Insert elastic in the casing and hem the bottom of the tank

Cut a length of elastic the same size as the shoulder opening.  Attach a safety pin to one end and thread it through the casing.  Sew the ends of the elastic together and sew closed the 1″ gap in the casing.  Hem both layers of the tank top.

This project took a little longer to make because of the lining and all that hemming on the ruffle, but it was worth the time and effort.

Here’s a close up of the ruffle:

Here’s a view from the back.

I’m usually a stickler for symmetry, but I made an exception for this one shoulder ruffle tank.  Sometimes, it’s good to venture outside your comfort zone and try new things in fashion.  What do you think?

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3 of 10 comments
  • Fran Fran on May 04, 2021

    saved it for my daughter who sews for her daughter. thank you for sharing.

    • Grandmasue10 Grandmasue10 on May 07, 2021

      It's nice to hear three generations of sewing. I think sewing died out for a while when manufactured dresses became popular, but even if you buy from a big box store, you can alter it to fit, shorten a hem, add a ruffle etc. If you know how to sew.

  • BELLE BELLE on May 04, 2021