Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ruffle Bum Onesie Tutorial

An easy way to dress up a bodysuit is to add a ruffled bum!  This is such a cute project and can be completed with ease.

(Throughout the tutorial, click on the photos to enlarge.)

Before getting started you will need to gather your supplies.  You will need:
  • infant bodysuit
  • fabric - Scraps are okay, but you can make several out of a fat quarter.
  • ruler
  • fabric marking pin or chalk
  • pins
  • rotary cutter  

Let's get started!  Lay your bodysuit flat with the back facing up. Make sure that it is lying flat.  Measure from the top of the leg casing (see brown dots in photo) on each side of the bodysuit.  I am using a 6-12 month bodysuit and my measurement is 8.5".  Now use your fabric marker to draw a line from each casing top. This is the placement line for your first ruffle, which is your center ruffle. 

My ruffle bum is going to have three ruffles made out of the same fabric.  Sometimes I add four ruffles if I'm using two coordinating fabrics or three ruffles with three different fabrics. It's your bodysuit so you choose! 
You now want to mark your additional placement lines.  Measure 1" above and 1" below your center line and draw the placement lines for your top and bottom ruffle. Now that you have three placement lines, put your bodysuit aside.  We're going to make the ruffles!

(BEFORE you cut the ruffles, think about how you are finishing them (if you are).  If you are planning to sew a hem on the ruffles, add .5" or so to my measurements. If you are doing a rolled hem like me or going to keep them "raggy," then follow my measurements.    

I usually cut my ruffles so they are 1.5-2" tall.  I'm going to use 1.5" for this tutorial (this is without a hem allowance).  For the center ruffle and the top ruffle, you will double the measurement taken in the first step.  (Remember mine was 8.5" long.)  This will give you the length of the ruffle.  Cut two ruffles the same size (1.5x17").  The last ruffle will be shorter.  Measure the bottom line that you marked and then double that to get the length of your last ruffle.  Mine is 7" so I will cut the last ruffle to 1.5x14" long.  

My ruffles are cut and ready to have their hems rolled.
 I rolled my ruffler on the serger and now will gather the ruffles.  Start by taking each ruffle and sew a long stitch down the center of each piece of fabric.  If you want you can mark the center, but I just eyeball it.  (Just make sure that you don't back stitch because you need to gather it.)

Here are my ruffles waiting to be gathered.  If you don't know how to gather, there is a video here that shows you how as I'm not going into that step.  Be sure to have the shorter ruffle separated or marked.

Bring back the bodysuit.  You will start by adding the first long ruffle (once it is gathered).  That ruffle is going to be placed on the center line directly above the leg casing.  (My marker was running out of ink, so forgive me for the bad representation of the lines!)

Starting at one end of the bodysuit, pin the ruffle onto the bodysuit so that the gathering stitch is directly on the placement line.  I like to pin the ruffle at least every one inch.  It is far easier to just pin it rather than deal with the ruffle moving around when you are trying to stitch it.  Take care NOT to pin all the way through to the front of the bodysuit.  And if you do, make sure that you notice it before you sew the ruffle down.  Trust me...I know from experience that it makes it a pain!

Now that the ruffle is pinned in place SLOWLY sew the ruffle onto the bodysuit using the gathering stitch as your guide.  (I usually sew a 3-3.5 stitch length for this.) At the end of the line, stop your machine with your needle down and turn the bodysuit.  If you want to remove the gathering stitch (which I do about 50% of the time), it is easiest to do it now.  Carefully clip the gathering stitch and pull it out being careful not to cut the tack down stitch.  Once it is removed, go ahead and repeat the stitch you just finished ending where you began.

Your first ruffle is finished!

Next you will pin the last two ruffle in place.  As you do this, the ruffles might overlap slightly.  Just make sure that you don't pin the first ruffle down with the top or bottom ruffle.  Make sense?

The center ruffle is tacked down and the top ruffle is shown pinned.  Pin the shortest ruffle on the other side of the center ruffle.

Repeat the previous steps for sewing the last two ruffles in place. After that, just trim your loose threads and you're finished!  now you just need a little cutie to model it!

I hope that everything is clear.  If not, please leave me a comment and I'll try to answer your questions!

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  1. Great Tutorial and thank you so much for taking the extra time to complete this for us...Linda Ransom

    1. You're welcome, Linda! I'm glad I could be helpful. :)

  2. This was SO HELPFUL and very clear. It gave me confidence to do it! Thank you so much!!!1

  3. Thanks so much! I used this tutorial this afternoon for the first time. It was very easy to follow, and I'm thrilled with the results. (Pictures posted at Applique Forum).

    1. You're welcome! I'm headed there now to see your work!

  4. I just found your page and love your tutorials. I have been wanting a serger and now this gives me a reason. I am thinking about opening a FB business page and would love to make these and offer for sale. How much would it cost me to be able to use your patterns? Thanks.

    1. Hi Kathy! Please feel free to use both of these patterns to create products. There is no fee for them, but I'd appreciate it (although not required) if you'd give me credit for creating the pattern (i.e. pattern from Banana Bear Boutique). Good luck with your business page! Please let me know when it's ready and I'll "like" it!

  5. What do you do if you don't have a serger? Do you zig zag the ends? I do applique work on my embroidery machine, I have an amazing sewing machine but I'm a newbie sewer. Also my machine auto locks the stitches so I'm wondering how to handle that with the ruffles as well...

    1. I would either put a small hem on them for a finished look or leave them raw for a raggy look. You definitely don't need a serger to make it work. :)

  6. I just made one of these for my aunt who is expecting a little one. Thanks for the great tutorial! It worked like a charm. :)