Sewing Ruffles on a Skirt: Everything You Need To Know

Adding ruffles to any garment is equal to giving it a feminine touch. Making ruffles on a piece of clothing is like giving it a personality. Knowing the basic technique of ruffling up a garment can help you create something pretty and spectacular.

How To Sew Ruffles On A Skirt

When it comes to ruffled clothes, ruffled skirts are everyone’s favorite, especially the three-tiered ones. And today we’re going to focus on exactly that; how to sew ruffles on a skirt. Adding ruffles to skirts is pretty easy whether you’re doing it with a sewing machine or doing it by hand.

Materials Needed To Ruffle A Skirt

Suppose we’re making a three-tiered skirt for an adult which is above knee length, following will be the things you will need to make it.

  1. Fabric: There is no specific fabric that is required to sew ruffles on a skirt. Whatever fabric you have chosen, take at least 1 bolt (100 yards- 91 m) and 42 inches in width.
  2. Pins
  3. Sewing needle/Sewing Machine
  4. Threads

Figuring The Measures


Measure your waist size and divide it by 2.5. This will be the length of your connector. To calculate the width of your connector add 1 inch to the width you want for your ruffles.


Measure the width of the areas of the skirt where you want to attach the ruffles. Now cut out twice the width of the fabrics you’re going to use to make ruffles.

Tier = T; Width of Skirt = S; Width of Ruffle = R

T1 = S1 + R1

T2 = S2 + R2

T3 = S3 + R3

So for example, if you have a skirt that widens as it goes lower, then each place where you want to attach the ruffle would be different. So, let’s suppose

S1 = 5; S2 = 10; S3= 15

T1 = 5 + 10 = 15

T2 = 10 + 20 = 30

T3 = 15 + 30 = 45

Another way to calculate the ruffle pieces is to multiply the length of the connector by 2. The width of the ruffle pieces and connectors will be the same i.e. adding 1 inch to the width you want for the ruffles.

Note: If you want to make your ruffles look even more ruffled, make the pieces 2.5 times longer than the connectors.

Subtract ½ inch from the amount or the length of the ruffles you decide to make on your skirt. Cut that amount from the end of your skirt.

Add 1 inch at least to the final measurement for the seam allowance.

What is seam allowance?

The area between the raw fabric and the stitching is called seam allowance. It is usually hidden behind the garment and is an important part of the seam. ⅝” is the standard seam allowance.

How To Sew Ruffles On A Skirt?

Well now let’s get to work. Adding ruffles to skirts is pretty easy whether you’re doing it with a sewing machine or doing it by hand.

Ruffling The Fabric

There are two ways to ruffle; the easy way(short-cut) or the normal and correct way. I will first tell you the correct way to ruffle the fabric first.

1.    Basting The Ruffle Pieces

How To Sew Ruffles On A Skirt

Sew one straight long seam on the hem of the fabric of the ruffle pieces. Do not backstitch at the end. And then sew two straight long seams beneath the upper seam. This is known as basting. The stitch is temporary and removable.

2.    Gathering The Fabric – Ruffling

Gather the two long seams that you just stitched and start gathering the fabric by sliding them together.

Pulling both the two seams gives a more even and clean look.

Ruffling The Easy Way

Everything is the same except the part where you sew three long seams. Now you just sew two. Once near the edge of the fabric and the other below that.

Start pulling the top or the bottom of the threads and start gathering the fabric by sliding it together.

Don’t try to pull both the top and bottom threads. Doing this will lock up and won’t gather correctly. Either gather the top thread by pulling from both sides or gather the bottom thread by gathering from both sides.

If you’re a bit of a perfectionist then use the correct method. It gives off a uniform and clean look. Otherwise, you can use the second method. If uneven ruffles are made then you can adjust them.

Stitching The Ruffles On The Skirt

Now it’s time to attach the ruffles to the skirt. I’ve divided the process into several small steps for your ease

1.    Finding The Centre

Find the center of the skirt. You can do so by folding it in half. Place a pin there to mark the center.

Now find the center of the gathered fabric. You can do this by unruffling it and then folding it and finding the center. Ruffle the fabric again just a little.

2.    Pinning The Fabrics

Place the top edges of the two fabrics together and pin both of their ends equally together. Pin the centers together as well. Pinning both the fabric like this will make even and clan gatherings.

3.    Pulling The Threads

Pull the threads from both ends and tighten the gathers. Make sure the gathered fabric is now as wide as the straight one.

Note: Remember if you made in total 3 long seams then you can pull both the bottom 2 seams but if you have made 2 seams then only pull either the upper one or the lower one. Not both.

Now insert more pins to stabilize the gatherings.

4.    The Final Step – Sewing Them Up

It’s time for the final step. Whether you are doing it by hand or you are using a sewing machine, I would suggest that you put the gathered side up.

This way you can keep a close eye and adjust the gatherings when required. Start sewing either on top of the basting stitches on little on it’s the left side.

Take the pins out as you go. Make sure that you do not sew over them. Repeat the process for all three tiers.

Final Verdict

Flaunt your ruffled skirt to your friends. If you plan on making this for little girls, then it will look great on them.

This will swish around with that ruffled skirt. Sewing a ruffled fabric on a skirt is pretty easy and can be done with ease. In this whole DIY, one important thing that matters is to know when to pull and gather which seams. Other than that you will find the whole ruffle skirt making the process pretty easy.