Tuesday, November 3, 2009

DIY: Ruffle Embellished Cardigan

Yesterday we tweeted about a cardigan-centric post from You Are my Fave, which featured this photo of an embellished sweater from J Crew . The ruffled beauty is unfortunately sold out, but that shouldn't stop you from re-creating the style with pieces from your existing wardrobe!

This old tank and cardigan have fallen out of  normal rotation - the tank is a little short, but I love the pattern and couldn't bear to part with it in my most recent purge.  The sweater? Just a big bored with it.  Feeling inspired, I decided to combine the two into something new!

I thought this shirt would make a great ruffle for two reasons: 1. it's a cute, neutral color and pattern and 2. the soft jersey knit material will hang well and can live without a hem. First, I split the shirt down it's side seam. Luckily for me, the lace trim was only on the front, leaving a nice open area on the back for me to trace my first ruffle.

The first strip I cut was for my larger, bottom ruffle. I measured the fabric out to remain 5" wide from start to finish. The second ruffle was cut out of the front of the tank, on the bottom half. This second strip  started out at 3 1/2" and tapered off to 2"at its end (about 18" long). I wanted this strip to have a narrower end so that my top ruffle would have more defined layers. 

Thread a needle through the top hem of your ruffle, folding the fabric back and forth (like a paper fan) as you sew. As you pull the thread, the fabric should gather and start to ruffle. I used a regular thread, but I'm assuming this would work even better with an elastic.

With a steam iron, I carefully pressed my pleats to form sharp creases in the fabric. Easier said than done, but the results came out great! Now, lets fold these bad boys into their final ruffly state...

1. Start with the small tapered ruffle, laid out flat
2. Fold the top half of the ruffle down over the bottom half, with the reverse side of the fabric showing
3. Fold the remaining bit down, print side up, to form a wedge shaped piece for your top ruffle

4. Next, lay the larger 5" ruffle out on a flat surface
5. & 6. Fold ruffle back and forth in a zig-zag to create alternating layers of patterned and reversed fabric

7. This is what my completed bottom ruffle looked like when I was done folding.
8. Once you've laid out both ruffles, pinch the folds and discreetly sew each layer to secure.
9. Here are the finished pieces! I decided not to sew them together, in case I wanted to use the top or bottom ruffle separately on another garment.

10. Use a safety pin to secure the bottom ruffle to your cardigan. You can also sew them on, but I wanted the option of removing them before laundering as well as using them as embellishments elsewhere!
DONE! Pin the top ruffle in place and VOILA! A magical creation, all your own.

Only took 2 hours, and it didn't cost $118 from J Crew. Score.


  1. This is the best tutorial ever!!

  2. Thanks! Glad you both enjoyed it!
    Feel free to pass it on =)

  3. this is tremendous! thanks so much for sharing...love it, love it, love it!

  4. oh my goodness! it looks lovely! i'm hoping to try this myself. thank you so much for sharing.

  5. This is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing, I can't wait to experiment with my fabric.

  6. Wow! This is fantastic! Congratulations on being so awesome!!!

  7. Thanks a lot!
    I'll have to add a side-note to this one: if you want super-sharp pleats, it's probably better to use a stiffer fabric. I can see this working well with an old cotton dress shirt.
    Hope you can all give it a try soon!

  8. Love that it's removable-that makes it worth much more than $118! And you made it cheaper. Awesome.

  9. this made me hate myself for not being as awesome as you.
    - diane

  10. bowing in your general direction and taking a minute to let you know that I think I love you for this=) can I put a link to you on my site about this?


  11. This is beyond awesome! Love it! Just stumbled across your blog so I'm off to check it out more :)

  12. I love how yours turned out. I tried it and it looked like a Christmas tree.

  13. WOW this is amazing.... I am heading to check my closet so I can do one !

  14. Wow! Great DIY! I just re-posted it on my blog:
    {mommy chic} Glad I stumbled up yours!

  15. Sweeeet!!! Totally live it! Gonna try with my 2.5" lace! Is beautiful! Tfs!

  16. Wow! This is great!!!
    ~Thank you for sharing this tutorial :-)

  17. Where is the polka dot cardigan from!!? This is seriously the cutest thing i've EVER seen :)

  18. SUCH a cute and thrifty idea! You wrote a great tutorial.
    Elyse @ Shabby Sweet Tea

  19. This is such a great tutorial! I hope you don't mind that I have included it in a blog post as one of my favourite inspirational make-overs, with the link back to yours! Tania ♥

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