Tutorial: Party in the Back ruffle dress

3:27 pm

You know how sometimes you have this idea in your head and when you sew it up, well it didn't turn out anything like you thought it would? That happened to me too, but then I got eddie to try her new dress and... it actually looks really good??? A basic little raglan-sleeved dress gets a fun twist with a colourful back panel and some ruffles!


Tutorial: Party in the Back ruffle dress - a super easy way to make a simple dress look a little fancier (use t-shirts for a rad upcycle!) • www.max-california.com

I don't have a fancy name for this dress, we call it the mullet dress (business front, party in the back) but that is totally not attractive at all. Eddie likes to think this dress is also reversible (not really, i mean the neckline isn't reversible but she doesn't mind, haha), she loves having the ruffles on the front an the pocket in her back. I DO have a tutorial though, on how you can easily make a dress like this for your little one!

Tutorial: Party in the Back ruffle dress - a super easy way to make a simple dress look a little fancier (use t-shirts for a rad upcycle!) • www.max-california.com

I used the Safari Raglan by Titchy Threads as a base, but any raglan sleeve shirt/dress pattern will do. I also used a bunch of t-shirts for this dress, so it's great for any upcycling you want to do, or just some fresh new fabric (whatever you like).

Tutorial: Party in the Back ruffle dress - a super easy way to make a simple dress look a little fancier (use t-shirts for a rad upcycle!) • www.max-california.com

You will need:

  • raglan-sleeved shirt or dress pattern (lengthen as desired for dress!)
  • t-shirts you want to upcycle (or regular knit fabric)(check your pattern for fabric yardage and recommendations)
  • tulle. you could use cheap netting but it's sort of scratchy, how much you need depends on the size you're making but i used about a metre for eddie's size 4.
  • thread, scissors etc!
To help give you an idea of what we're doing, we're basically just decorating the entire back of the dress. You'll sew the ruffles and the back panel and then you can continue sewing the back piece to the rest of the dress as usual c: 

Step 1: with the back pattern piece of your shirt/dress, measure down how far you want the back panel to go. With eddie's, she's a size 4, so hers was 22cm long from the nape of her neck. 

Tutorial: Baby Got Back ruffle dress - a super easy way to make a simple dress look a little fancier (use t-shirts for a rad upcycle!) • www.max-california.com


Step 2: I used the scrappiest piece of fabric in my stash (okay that's a lie, I have scrappier) which, even though it was originally a sideseam of a shirt, has a hem along it. That's cool, it means I won't have to hem this piece but if you are just using a regular piece of fabric you can hem it after you've cut out the panel-section you measured in step 1.

You're also going to need a full back piece straight from the pattern!

Tutorial: Baby Got Back ruffle dress - a super easy way to make a simple dress look a little fancier (use t-shirts for a rad upcycle!) • www.max-california.com

Step 3: Time for tulle! Measure across the back of your dress, i measured at the bottom which was the widest part, and then multiplied that by four. That's how long each strip is going to be! The height depends on the size of your child of course, I think mine were 12cm tall (divide the lower section of the pattern piece by however many ruffles you are adding and then add a few more centimetres to overlap!)

Tutorial: Baby Got Back ruffle dress - a super easy way to make a simple dress look a little fancier (use t-shirts for a rad upcycle!) • www.max-california.com

Step 4: Gather each ruffle. This is super easy to do. Adjust your stitch length to the LONGEST setting and the tension to the LOOSEST (on my machine it is the highest number I can go). Now sew along the top of each tulle strip and sometimes it will gather up quite tightly all by itself. Once you've sewn to the end of the strip, don't snip off the threads close to the strip. you're going to want a bit of thread *tail* to move with, so i usually snip the threads about 30cm after the end!

Now spread your ruffled tulle strip along the BOTTOM of the back piece, i pinned the edges to the sides of the dress and then smoothed and spread the ruffled strip across. pin across the top of it and then sew it down! (make sure you still don't have your machine settings from when you gathered!!)

Tutorial: Baby Got Back ruffle dress - a super easy way to make a simple dress look a little fancier (use t-shirts for a rad upcycle!) • www.max-california.com

Step 5: Repeat step 4 for the other layers of tulle. I used three on the back of eddie's dress but i'm actually going to go back and add another two layers between the three I have (once the dress has a moment when it's not being worn or washed). Make sure the next layer overlaps the one beneath it by a few centimetres, this just makes it look good!

Tutorial: Baby Got Back ruffle dress - a super easy way to make a simple dress look a little fancier (use t-shirts for a rad upcycle!) • www.max-california.com

Step 6: this is so simple, isn't it? Lay your back panel across the top, it should overlap the top ruffle you have stitched on pretty well. I stitched along the sideseams a little to anchor it, then just pinned the neckline.

Tutorial: Baby Got Back ruffle dress - a super easy way to make a simple dress look a little fancier (use t-shirts for a rad upcycle!) • www.max-california.com

Step 7: You've got your back piece finished! continue sewing the rest of the shirt as usual and in no time you'll have a really fun ruffle-backed dress!


Tutorial: Party in the Back ruffle dress - a super easy way to make a simple dress look a little fancier (use t-shirts for a rad upcycle!) • www.max-california.com

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