Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial

Here is a tutorial for the ruffle tube top:

Front Front of my new shirt

I worked on some things to make it even better! The first one I made (the green) was good, but I felt it could use some tweaks to help it stay put better. I changed a few things and I believe it will be better for all body types.

A few things first:
-Read before starting. I did this really quick in a tired state, so please let me know if I goofed up, need to explain more, etc.
-Using a needle for stretch knits will make this project a lot easier to accomplish. Always back stitch at beginning and end of sewing, unless otherwise stated.
-Stretchy knit material (IE jersey, etc) is very forgiving. So if you goof up a bit, you might not be even to tell!
-I didn’t finish the edges of mine, but you can.
-All seam allowances are 1/4″, unless otherwise stated

Here we go…..

Basics of what you will need:
-Stretchy material (preferably one that doesn’t fray; it makes it easier)
-Elastic (needs to be at least 1/4 inch which is what I used)

The main shirt is made of four pieces. Then there are two pieces for the ruffle and a piece for the belt. See below diagram of pieces to cut and see next diagram for explanation of where to obtain certain measurements needed to plug in formulas.

*****To see larger, clearer pictures of these, click on it. Then click on top left of pic where it says all sizes with magnifying glass. *****

Fabric Pieces for Ruffle Tube Topmeasurements

1. Cut out your fabric. You can cut your elastic now as well. You need a piece that is exactly the measurement of the top chest measurement and another that is exactly the measurement of below your bust. No need for extra length for sewing it together. You want it to fit, not be too wide and fall down.

2. Take the long front top piece. Make pleats and pin them in place until it is the same size as the back top piece. I just did random ones all over. Then sew across the very top to hold them in place. It would be helpful to pin and sew the bottom as well (I didn’t and I wish I had).

Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial

3. Place the top two pieces on top of each other, right sides facing, and pin together. Sew the sides together and finish the edges.

Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial

What it looks like once turned right side out

4. Take the bottom 2 pieces and pin together. Sew the sides together and finish edges.

Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial

After turned inside out

5. Baste the top of the new whole bottom piece you just sewed together, leaving a long tail at beginning and end. DO NOT BACK STITCH THE BASTE!!!!!! Pull the bottom thread to ruffle the top until it is equal to the width of the top piece.

6. Pin the top piece to the bottom piece. You want it so the right sides are facing, but the top of the top piece will be pointing down (but, if you sewed the top and bottom of the top piece, it won’t matter because the top bottom and top part are the same). Sew together.

Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial

Pinned together

Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial

Right side out after sewed together

7. Take the piece of elastic that equals the width of below your bust and pin one end to a side seam of where the top and bottom pieces are sewed together. Then, pin the middle of the elastic to the other side seam.

Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial

I used a zig zag stitch for this next part. Sew the elastic on a little bit. You will notice the elastic is smaller than the fabric piece. Continue sewing the elastic on, but stretch it out as you sew it on. I did half of it first, then once to the opposite seam, I stretched the second half of the elastic to have it cover the rest of the fabric left.

Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial

It will look like this:
Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial

Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial


8. At the top of the shirt, fold the top fabric 1″ down towards the inside. Pin in place. You are going to make a casing for the next piece of elastic. A half inch down, sew almost all the way around. Leave about a 2 inch opening to be able to thread elastic through. I usually leave the opening on the side. DO NOT put elastic in yet. I did that first, but found it harder to sew on the front ruffle, so continue on….

9.Take the two ruffle pieces. Pin the smaller piece onto the middle of the bigger piece. DO NOT BACK STITCH- Sew them together, leaving long ends at the beginning and end.

Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial

Pull bottom thread to ruffle until it measures the length of the current front top piece.
Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial

Pin it across the front piece, making sure that the middle of the ruffle is lined up to the part where you sewed the casing. Sew the ruffle on. It’s okay if you sew onto the casing, as long as there is room to pull the elastic through.

10. Now thread in the elastic. I usually put a safety pin on the end to do this, but none were to be found in my parent’s house, so I used a paper clip.
Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial
It works, just make sure the pointy ends are facing the opposite of how you are pulling it. Connect the ends of elastic once it’s all through, and sew together. Then sew the casing shut.
Ruffle Tube Top Tutorial

11. Cut a piece for the belt. You can use whatever material you like here. I always used whatever was left of my fabric.

12. Put it on, tie your belt, and off you go!

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  1. says

    That’s adorable! I like that it can be made to fit a larger or smaller bust by adjusting the height of the top piece (it is VERY hard to find cute shirts with enough fabric on top for a larger bust!). I grew up in Jacksonville – woo hoo! Thanks for a well-done tutorial.

  2. Anonymous says

    I just stumbled upon this and love it! I am new to clothes making and have a question… If I wanted to turn this into a dress should the bottom piece stay a rectangle or would it lay better if it was cut as a trapezoid?


  3. says

    “If I wanted to turn this into a dress should the bottom piece stay a rectangle or would it lay better if it was cut as a trapezoid?”

    You could do that, or you could just make the width of the bottom piece the same width of your actually waist (each piece would be waist inches by desired length). So once the two bottom pieces were sewn together, they would be double your waist and then once pulled in with bottom thread to be pinned to the top pieces, it would flow down nicely.

  4. says

    “I love this top, but am wondering whether straps could be added for more support. What do you think?”

    You could definitely add straps. I ended up doing that to the first one I made because the material was heavier. I just cut it the length and width I wanted (didn’t edge it or anything) and sewed them on.

  5. says

    Oh I’m so excited about this post, I have a gorgeous jersey fabric I wanted to make into a dress but I couldn’t decide on what it should look like. This tutorial (plus a couple tweaks) will work perfectly! :-) Thanks for posting it!

  6. says

    I am in the middle of going through your tutorial. I am having an issue with everything being too large.
    Is there a reason for the +4 inches in the pattern that is added to many of the measurements?
    I am working with a thinner knit… perhaps it is just stretching too easily and not holding its shape.

  7. says

    The 4 extra inches is there because it is brought in with the elastic. I didn’t make it to fit exactly, but to be a little bigger so it would be brought in. You most definitely could do it without the extra inches so it just fits without the elastic if you prefer that way :)

  8. Anonymous says

    Super Adorable! Thank you for sharing! The illustrations are wonderful. I am usually nervous if I don’t have a pattern in hand, but the illustrations of how to re-create your pattern make me anxious to make this instead of nervous. Thank you!

  9. Anonymous says

    I used your pattern to make a cute modest swimsuit top and it turned out great!! Thanks for sharing!

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