Ruffled Kids T-Shirt DIY

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Ruffled Kids T-Shirt DIY

What’s not to love about ruffly little girl t-shirts!  It can take a plain t-shirt and dress it up!  After raising 3 boys, I finally have some adorable grand daughters to create and sew for:) After making the Ruffled Sleeve t-shirt recently I came across an old white t-shirt of mine just waiting to be remade into something.  So that’s how this Ruffled T-Shirt DIY came to be.  Come on, I’ll show you how easy it is!


I’m not sure if everyone loves a bargain like I do, but I’ve always liked to make something from nothing.  Sometimes I’ll pick up a t-shirt on clearance with great intentions to wear but it ends up in the bottom of a drawer.   I made two little shirts, one size 3 out of an little worn t-shirt of mine and the other was a size 6  I bought it at a thrift store for a dollar.  By shortening the sleeves I cut them in strips, ruffled them and sewed them back on.  Seriously, it was really fast and they both turned out cute.  I had two little goofy models wearing them the next day.  (The tutorial for the Paper Bag skirt will be coming soon!)

Beginner Skills

If you are even just starting out learning to sew, both of these can be made.  I’ll walk you through the steps.  What’s nice about t-shirt fabric is that is doesn’t require finishing the edges if you prefer not to as they won’t fray.  Let’s get started!  I’ll give you a free printable for the size 2.5 shirt (my grandkids are tall) and there’s a free printable for the size 5/6 in my resource library as well.  


I’m going to write separate directions for each shirt. The first will be the ruffled shirt made from the adult t-shirt (making it from scratch).  The second will be for the super fast ruffled shirt made from cutting the sleeves off.


Directions for Ruffled T-Shirt from Adult Shirt:

  1.  Print off the free pattern for either the 2/3 or 5/6 t-shirt and cut the pattern for the body and sleeves (there are two sleeve types (flutter and regular)  I made the flutter sleeve
  2. Fold the t-shirt in half and place the body pattern piece on the fold. 
    **NOTE** Position your pattern so you can use the bottom hem of the t-shirt.  You’ll need to lengthen the pattern.  Determine the length you want by measurements or another t-shirt that fits.  You can also make it longer to wear with leggings
  3. Cut the body out.  You will need to cut the front neckline lower than the back.  I have a line as a guide on the pattern
  4. Cut the sleeves you want out of the fabric making sure you use the fold.   With the remaining fabric, cut strips to use as the ruffled pieces.  I used two pieces for the neck and six additional pieces for the vertical ruffles, sewing the strips together to make 4 long pieces


  5. Set your sewing machine for straight stitch with the stitch length on 6.  Sew each piece, leaving about 6″ of thread on each end.


  6. Starting with the three long pieces for the vertical ruffles, pull the threads to gather the fabric.  You’ll see in the pictures that I started with the neck piece.  Don’t.  If you do the vertical ruffles first, when you do the neck ruffle it will easily hide the top of those ruffles.  
  7. Place each ruffle, starting with the center one, down the front of your shirt, pinning and adjusting the ruffle as you go.  Tuck the end under the hem of the shirt. Do the same with the other two.  Using your straight stitch, sew each ruffle onto the t-shirt (change to 2.5 or 3 setting)

  8. Sew your shoulder seams of the shirt
  9. Using your 4th ruffle strip, sew the ends together to make a circle but make sure you can still pull  a thread to adjust your ruffle. You don’t have to finish the neckband as it will be covered. Pin the ruffle in place and sew with a zig zag stitch.  This will allow a little give in the neck to get it over a child’s head.
  10. If using a flutter sleeve, sew a gathering stitch along one side.  Pull to ruffle the fabric and fit it to your sleeve hole.  I didn’t have mine go all the way around.  Pin and sew in place
  11. With your shirt inside out, pin the sides and sew together
  12. Turn right side out and smile!  It looks so cute and really, it simple to transform something plain into something adorable.

Directions for the Super Fast Ruffled Shirt

  1. Lay your t-shirt on your cutting board (or table top)
  2. Cut the long sleeves off at an angle with a rotary cutter and ruler or sewing scissors
  3. Using a rotary cutter or scissors, cut the sleeves into strips (you’ll get 2 or three from each sleeve)

  4. Sew the strips together making two long strips.
  5. Adjust your stitch length and sew a gathering strip along each strip. Gather the fabric


  6. Position the ruffle on the front of the shirt and pin, adjusting the ruffle as you go. Tuck the end under the hem.
  7. Sew with a straight stitch using 2.5 or 3 length


  8. Turn each sleeve under and hem using a straight stitch
  9. You’re done.  My granddaughter first chose to ruffle the neck and add a few flowers but when she saw her sister’s she wanted her’s the same.  You can make your ruffles go anywhere you want on the shirt!




Want to remember this?  Post Ruffled T-Shirt DIY to your favorite Pinterest board!

Kids Ruffled t-shirt 

Ruffled T-shirt


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I love to do anything creative and enjoy learning new things. Once I know how, I also love to teach it to others. Homemade by Cheryl, teaching homemade one project at a time! Have fun learning!

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