I was so excited to have the opportunity to guest post on the blog of The Ribbon Retreat last week! I applied to be one of their contributing bloggers and was thrilled to be accepted and receieve this amazing fabric in the mail. I was seriously drooling over it online. DROOL, people! This ruffle dress is not a 30 minute craft, as I’m sure you guessed. But it did go more quickly than I anticipated, and I tried to include very detailed, careful instructions for you to follow. The headband, however, is crazy quick to come together and insanely simple. Both tutorials can be found below. And be sure to check out The Ribbon Retreat for a great selection of ribbons and designer fabrics!
When I saw this Grinch fabric by Robert Kaufman I knew that I wouldn’t be able to rest until I had some in my hot little hands. And thus this dress came to life from within my ruffle-obsessed mind. My favorite thing about this project is that it look impressive, and yet it is quite simple since you can use a onsie or a basic t-shirt as the base of the dress. Hip hip hooray for not having to sew sleeves! I hate sewing sleeves.
Below I will list the supplies that you will need in order to make a Grinchy Ruffle Dress. My daughter is seven months old and pretty petite, so if you are making it for an older girl you may need more fabric. I did have some fabric to spare, however. (Do not order less unless you are sewing for a preemie! I looked carefully to see if I could have you order less. The answer was no.) If you have a big girl you may want to consider using a basic top for this project and throwing it over a pair of leggings or skinny jeans as a cute Grinchy Ruffle Tunic instead of a dress.
Supply List for Grinchy Ruffle Dress:
* one basic onsie or top (I suggest using one size up from your child’s usual size.)
* 1/4 yard Red Who’s fabric (NOT A FAT QUARTER! You need the length of an actual quarter yard.)
* 1/2 yard Holiday Grinch fabric
* Solid Grosgrain Ribbon in color 079 Lemongrass, 5/8 inch wide
* Solid Grosgrain Ribbon in color 079 Lemongrass, 1 1/2 inches wide
* red and green thread
Ok, let’s get started! First of all, one mistake that I made which you can learn from is do NOT try to make this dress too fitted. Be generous in your measurements and make it to fit loosely. Let’s just say that I wasn’t considering the fact that ribbon does not stretch like a cotton onesie does, so the dress fits her perfectly, but it is a battle to get her in a out of it. To say the least. If you leave a couple of inches or so of wiggle room then you should avoid that problem.
Gather up your supplies and start by measuring your little lady’s torso. The standard rule is to double that measurement when making ruffles and you will have the length of your strips of fabric. My daughter’s belly was about 22 inches around, so my strips were about 44 inches long.
Now check out your shirt or onesie. Measure the length from the armpits to the last place on the shirt or onesie that you could sew a ruffle. (If you are using a shirt and want to make a long dress for a big girl then you could simply sew some extra fabric to the bottom of the shirt to make it longer. It will be hidden underneath the ruffles anyway. Divide that measurement roughly by three. This will be the length of your ruffles. My onesie’s measurement was about 15 inches, so divided by three that made each strip 5 inches wide.
So my strips were 44 inches long by 5 inches wide. Cut your strips. (Cutting is my least favorite thing about sewing. Seriously.)
Now it’s time to tackle the hems. You have two options here, as shown above. The first option is surge the edge and then fold back and iron 1/2 inch all along the bottom of your ruffle. I you don’t have a surger, the other option is to fold and iron 1/4 inch all along the bottom of your ruffle and then fold and iron 1/4 inch all along the bottom of your ruffle again. (Your unfinished edge will now be “trapped” and unable to unravel once it has been sewn.)
Sew the hem of your ruffle. Repeat on the other two ruffles.
Time to ruffle! My heart swells at the thought of ruffles. Oh, how I love them! Ready? They are easy! You are going to baste along the top of your ruffle, meaning to use a very long stitch. Set your machine to have a long length of stitch and quickly run the ruffle through. BE SURE TO LEAVE LONG THREADS AT EACH END AND DO NOT BACKSTITCH!
Gently tug at the end threads and push your fabric toward the center and watch it ruffle. It takes some adjusting to make it even.
Lay your fabric on top of your onesie or top and adjust the tightness of the ruffle until it is close to the correct width around. (Remember: err on the side of a little bit loose!) Fold it so that the right sides of the fabric are together, hold it shut and sew the ends together. Do not cut off the long strings from your basting yet! That will unravel your ruffle. Trust me. You can salvage it by pinning it in “ruffles” around the body, but that is a HUGE pain and not as consistent.
I suggest marking off the three lines where you will be pinning your ruffles at this point. It will ensure that you have straight ruffles.
You are now going to prepare to sew on your ruffles. Are you surprised at how relatively quickly this is going? I was! This is important: Start with the bottom ruffle and work your way up. You should only work with one ruffle at a time! Pin your ruffle along the line that you drew. I am a pin junkie, so I pinned generously to ensure that the ruffle would be evenly distributed and straight.
Sew your ruffle on! Remove the pins. Hooray! You have a ruffle! Trim your strings. Now pin and sew your other ruffles, one at a time working from the bottom up, of course.
Time for the ribbon! This hides the top of your ruffle and gives your Grinchy Ruffle Dress a “finished” and more professional look. Carefully lay the 5/8 inch wide ribbon on top of the ruffled edge. Pin generously to ensure that the ribbon stays exactly in the place that it needs to be. Remember: err on the side of the top being a little bit loose. Get it covered, but don’t worry about it being super fitted, because ribbon does not stretch. To finish mine off I folded a tiny bit of the ribbon under, as shown in the picture.
Slowly and carefully stitch along the top and bottom edges of your ribbon.
Wow! Look at what you have done! Isn’t it darling?! Now you can add the bow if you want to be extra over-the-top like I always am. Decide how long you want your bow and cut that length of the 1 1/2 inches wide ribbon. My ribbon was 32 inches long. Fold just off center to allow for the bow tying process and sew the center onto your top or onesie. I used a zig zag stitch, but you could use any stitch you would like. Now tie the bow.
Voila! You did it! Read on if you would like to know how to make the ridiculous matching headband. If not, then congratulations and farewell. Enjoy your little lady’s unique new Christmas dress!
Supply List for the Grinchy Feathered Headband:
* Green Fold-Over Elastic, 5/8 inch wide
* Curly Ostrich Puff, color: Lypple
* 2″ Red Pom Posy
* Solid Grosgrain Ribbon in color 079 Lemongrass, 5/8 inch wide (use the leftover from your dress—you will have tons)
* Red Chevron Ribbon, 7/8 inch wide
* One Single Prong Clip (barrette)
* A tiny scrap of felt or other fabric
* Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
If there is one thing that I can swear to it is that I never take my little angel face out and about without a fabulous headband. Some are petite and some are…..well, like this one. But all of them are an essential part of each of her outfits, even if my husband is skeptical about that claim. So, naturally, I knew that I needed to make something outrageous to go with her outrageous Grinchy Ruffle Dress. This headband makes a splash even though it was crazy easy to make. So warm up that glue gun and let’s jump right in!
First of all you are going to want to sew your elastic headband. Start by measuring your child’s head. With super soft, stretchy elastic like this I generally subtract two inches from her head measurement and cut off the elastic at that point. (With tougher, less stretchy elastic I may not subtract any length at all.) Cut your elastic, cross the ends over one another a bit, pin, and sew. I always go back and forth with a zig zag stitch on my headbands so that the connection is rock solid. That is the end of your sewing!
On top of your feather puff, experiment with your ribbons to see the length that you like each loop to be. Cut, fold over, and hot glue one piece of the Red Chevron Ribbon. Now cut the next length and do the same, while also glueing this loop to the first one. Repeat until you have four chevron loops. Glue your loops on top of the Ostrich Feather Puff, a bit off center so that most of the puff is in the back of the headband and not tickling your little lady’s nose.
Now use the same process to cut and glue two shorter loops using the Solid Grosgrain Ribbon in the Lemongrass color. These are the “leaves” of your Red Pom Posy. Glue the green loops on top of the red chevron loops. Glue the Red Pom Posy on top of the ribbon loops.
At this point you will attach the entire mass of fabulousness to a clip. You can glue it right to a headband (either hard or soft), but I chose to put it on a clip so that it can be clipped onto a headband now and into her actual hair in years to come down the road. Start by cutting a tiny square of felt that will not show beyond the bottom of your feather puff. (See the blue felt in my picture.) Have that ready. Now hold your clip open, carefully spread the glue, and press your creation onto the clip. Keep your clip OPEN and spread more hot glue over the clip. Press the felt on top of it so the clip is firmly trapped between your feather puff and your felt. This adds longevity and stability to your clip. Now clip it onto your headband and start snapping pictures!
**I bet some of your are wondering about that fabulous quilt that my daughter is sitting on…..well, it is the back of a phenomenal Dr. Seuss quilt that my mother-in-law made for my son with fabric from Robert Kaufman’s Celebrate Seuss line, which The Ribbon Retreat just so happens to carry! It is the Red/White Dots fabric.