It’s time for another tutorial in the Lisa and Kimberly Hacks series and today I am going to show you how to add a ruffled hem to your dress. The inspiration behind this hack came from one of my lovely customers, Chrysa, who added a ruffle to her Lisa dress last summer.
This modification is super simple. It may require a little bit of drafting, but once you take all the measurements correctly, it’s only a rectangle piece that you will need to draft. So, let me show you how it’s done 😊
To make my dress, I used a gorgeous fabric from Minerva Crafts, who are very kindly sponsoring this series by offering me the fabrics for all the makes. This one is a cotton poplin that you can find here.
Here’s what you’ll need:
-your Lisa dress pattern
-a big piece of paper
-pencil and scissors
-a ruler and a measuring tape
-your fabric and basic sewing tools
The first thing you will have to determine is how long your ruffle will be, depending of course on how long you want your finished dress to be. The original Lisa hem is designed to hit you below the knee. If you want to keep this length, then you will have to shorten the skirt by the length of the ruffle piece to achieve the same result.
In my case, I knew I didn’t want my dress to be much longer than my other Lisa dresses. So, I shortened the skirt by 10 cm, using the shorten/lengthen lines (tutorial for this HERE).
Then, you will have to measure the hemline of the front pattern piece and of the back pattern piece. For the back piece, you will have to remove the seam allowance on the center back, which is 1,5 cm (5/8”). Write both measurements down.
To create the ruffle piece, you will have to multiply the width of the hemline by either 1,5, 2 or 3 depending on how full you want the ruffle to be. I wanted mine to be somewhat in the middle, so I doubled the measurements of the front and the back that I had written down before. Because the difference of the front and back pieces was minor, I decided not to create two different ruffle pieces but instead round up the number and use the same piece for both.
More specifically, my front measured 93 cm, so double that was 186 cm. The back measured 94 cm, so that would be 188 cm. I rounded them up to 190 cm and that would be my piece’s width.
As for the length, it is pretty much personal choice. Since I shortened my original dress by 10 cm and wanted to keep the same length, the length of my ruffle should be 10 cm plus 1,5 cm seam allowance. The original skirt piece includes the hem allowance, so I didn’t have to account for that.
To sum up, your ruffle piece should measure: the width of the hem line, multiplied by either 1,5 ,2 or 3 and your desired length + 1,5 cm seam allowance
A little tip: to avoid drafting a very wide piece, you can divide the width in half and cut it on the fold like I did
The placement of this piece on your fabric can be a little tricky. That is because this piece is quite wide, and it probably won’t fit in the width of the fabric if placed horizontally. So, you can either place it vertically OR, if your fabric has a directional print, you can cut the piece in half, add seam allowance and join it in the middle. That way, you will have a seam running in the middle of your ruffle (which won’t be very visible anyway) but you will keep the direction of the print as it’s supposed to be.
Now let’s move on to the construction. You will follow all the steps as described in the instructions booklet up until you reach the step for the hemming. Leave the hem unfinished and we will proceed to making the ruffle.
With right sides together, pin and stitch the short sides of the ruffle pieces. Finish the seam allowances on both sides and press. You have now created a loop.
At this stage, I find it much easier to hem the piece before gathering it to create the ruffle. You can of course leave it till the end. To hem the piece, finish the raw edge of one long side using you overlocker or serger, press upwards by 2 cm and stitch in place. Alternatively, you may press the hem up once by 1 cm and then another time by 1 cm and stitch.
On the long side of each ruffle piece, sew two gathering stitches being careful to stay inside the 1,5 cm (5/8”) seam allowance, starting from one side seam to the other. Repeat the same for the other side. That way it is easier to gather the fabric in sections, rather than doing it all at once, as it reduces the risk of ripping your stitches.
With right sides together, pin the ruffle piece along the dress’s hem, matching the side seams and the raw edges. Adjust the gathers as needed, so that the ruffle piece is as long as the dress hem. Make sure the gathers are distributed evenly, pin and stitch in place. Finish the seam allowance and press it upwards.
And that’s it! You have made a fabulous new dress with a ruffled hem 😊
I hope you enjoyed this hack. If you try it yourself, don’t forget to post it on social media and tag me. I’d love to see!
Check out more hacks for the Lisa dress here.