Sewing for Beginners: Make a Ruffle Sleeve Top

4 Materials
4 Hours

I like to make tutorials that are appropriate for beginners as well! So, today, I am making an easy ruffle sleeve top. This pattern is really simple to follow. I love how my shirt turned out and am excited to share it with you!

Tools and materials:

  • Simplicity pattern
  • Scissors
  • Elastic
  • Two yards stretch knit fabric
Ruffle long sleeve top

Cut out your pattern 

Following your measurements and the measurements on the pattern, use some scissors to cut out the size that fits best for you. I wanted to make a tunic, so I slightly extended the waist and hip area. When tracing out your pattern, make sure to transfer all the details from the pattern onto the fabric - including any marks. 

Women’s ruffle sleeve top

Secure the neckline 

Starting with the bodice pieces, stay stitch about a quarter of an inch away from the edge of the neckline. Start from the outside and sew towards the center. Next, align the top and bottom pieces and sew them together across the shoulders. Don’t worry if the corners aren’t perfectly aligned, after sewing the pieces together with the allotted seam allowance, the fabric will line up. 

DIY ruffle sleeve top

Add elastic to the shoulder 

Take a piece of elastic that is the same length as the shoulder and place it right over the seam we just sewed. Flip the shirt over (so the elastic is on the bottom) and sew along the seam of the shirt to attach the elastic. This should stabilize the shoulder and keep it from stretching. Repeat on the other side. 

Sew a ruffle sleeve top

Attach the neckpiece 

Take the neck lining, fold it in half and stitch the edges together. Once you have your neck, pin about ⅜ of an inch over - wrong sides together - and iron it down. You are going to fold over the edge that is opposite the blue markings you drew on earlier. Next, match the blue markings with the shoulder seams and clip the neckpiece in place. Once secure, sew all around. Finally, take the folded piece of the neck and fold it over again to hide the raw edge of the shirt. Pin it in place and sew right along the existing seam. 

Easy ruffle sleeve top

Make the ruffles 

Using your sewing machine, gather the shorter edge of the ruffle. Use scraps to play around with the settings until you find a ruffle you like. You should have two stitch lines, with the second being about a quarter inch away from the first. 

Basic ruffle sleeve top

Attach the ruffles 

Open up the bodice pieces and lay them flat. With the right sides together, attach the ruffles to the shirt - keep notice of the markings and seams. Make sure the width of the ruffles is the same as the armholes - if need be, pull at the bottom thread to give yourself more room. Sew the ruffles in place. 

Make a ruffle sleeve top

Finish the sleeves 

With the right sides together complete the sleeves. Make sure the marks and edges of your fabrics align - for all three layers. Pin to secure and then sew into place. Next, cut small lines into the seam between the ruffle and the sleeve to ensure the sleeve falls right. Iron down if needed. 

How to sew a ruffle sleeve top

Adjust to size 

If like me, your shirt was too big, go back in to fix up those small details. Start by folding your shirt in half and making sure everything lays flat. Next, use the pattern to find your new size and trace out your measurements. I left the neckline as is and only adjusted the sleeves and bodice. 

How to make a ruffle sleeve top

Sew the shirt 

Starting with the underarm, I sewed downwards to connect the sleeves. Then, I returned to the underarm point and sewed down the side seam of the bodice. Next, I cut small grooves into the seams - similar to the cuts in the ruffle seams - to help the fabric lay flat. 

Finish the shirt

Finish the shirt 

I wasn’t interested in gathering the waist or wrists, so I decided just to hem the raw edges. Finally, to finish the shirt, take the seam between the sleeve and shirt and fold it towards the shoulder. Hand sew the seam towards the shirt. 

Finished ruffle sleeve top

Side view of ruffle sleeved top

There you have it! A tutorial on how to sew a ruffle sleeve top. I’m really happy with how this turned out. I think it fits really well and the pattern was fairly easy to follow. This shirt is a great challenge for beginners. Let me know if you decide to give it a try! 

Suggested materials:
  • Pattern
  • Scissors
  • Elastic
See all materials

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