Embellishment: Ruffles

Do ruffles count as an embellishment? In my book, they do!

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the pie crust blouse is back in fashion at the moment. Well, the joke’s on me, after cutting that one up that time. Anyway, here’s how the reverse transformation can be done. I’ve seen a few of these tutorials online but here is my version of it.

Take one vintage blouse that looks as though someone maybe wore it to escape from the circus…


Fun fact – I actually bought this on the same day I bought the pie crust blouse that I cut up, so it’s been in stash for a while. It’s from the Swedish Red Cross (Röda Korset) shop in Jörn, on my trip to Northern Sweden. I paid SEK30:- (about £2.50).



The blouse is 100% viscose so it’s a lightweight flowing shirt, made in Denmark.

It had humongous foam shoulder pads, which were the first thing to go.


Look at the buttons!


They are alternating pink and blue, plastic, and around the same size and colour as the dots on the fabric. I think this adds to the clownish effect but I do love them.


To make my ruffle, I cut a decent strip off the hem of the blouse all the way around, about 10cm.


I cut the strip in half lengthways – or almost in half. The unhemmed half is a bit longer to allow for a hem. I sewed the strips together to make one very long dotty ribbon.


To make a space for the ruffles to be sewn to, I unpicked the shoulder seam a bit, and continued the line down in a curve towards the centre front. I drew a similar curve on the back.


Here’s how it looked after cutting.


Next, I hemmed the unhemmed ruffles with a very narrow hem, and then I gathered the other edge very tightly.


It was a bit of a pain to manage as it was very long and kept getting twisted up.


I wrestled it into shape and pinned it to the top portion of the blouse.


Basting it to the one layer before sewing the seam was a necessity as it was just so hard to manage.


Still, the ruffles were looking suitably ruffly!


Of course, the next thing to do was to sew the bottom part of the shirt back on. I used a tiny 5mm seam allowance so as not to remove more length from the blouse than was absolutely necessary, as it was already quite short. The finished ruffles are about 3cm deep.

Note that I kept the centre front/placket parts at the centre front, and I kept the plackets unruffled so I could button up my blouse nicely. Unfortunately, one button had to be lost as it was in the portion that was cut off the bottom – don’t worry, I’m saving it for a suitable project.


The final effect was more than a little “80s kids TV presenter” so I headed to Shoreditch in an attempt to blend in. Here I am at outdoor eating sensation Dinerama enjoying a couple of glasses of bubbly in the springtime sunshine (clowning around?). Somehow, the sleeves are a little short, but as I tend to wear them rolled up anyway, it’s not much of an issue.

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