Ruffle Dress: How To Style Them

Are you looking for a way to add flair and character to your garment? A ruffle dress might be the solution. You would be surprised to know that some of the earliest references to ruffles in fashion date back to the 15th century. It has been seen in men’s and women’s fashion throughout history. When you use it with a suitable fabric, ruffles provide a high-quality finish involving a lot less work.

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Ruffle dresses are not just pretty to look at but can add value and function to your garment. For example, if you have outgrown your days of sporting crop tops, add a ruffle near the hemline to create length and volume. Manipulating fabric to create ruffles could be a great technique to enhance the look of your dress. 

What is a Ruffle? 

A ruffle is a strip of fabric designed to gather along one edge, creating a frill on the edge of a garment or other sewn item. You can produce ruffles by cutting fabric in circular shapes or gathering a rectangular piece on one side.

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In fashion, you will find ruffles at the hems of skirts and as decoration at the wrists or around the neck. A ruffle may be small or large and even dramatic in size. They might be single or layered, creating a fuller effect.

Preparing a Ruffle

When you add a ruffle to a part of a garment, there are some things you should consider. Firstly check your pattern pieces for a ruffle pattern. If you find no pattern pieces, you will have to make one on your own. 

Firstly decide on the width of the ruffle and then add on your seam allowance. Secondly, the length of the ruffle should be determined. It will depend on how full you want the ruffle to be. 

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Measure the area where you plan to place it. Then add to the length by increasing the measurement by 1.5 or double or even three times the length. The longer your ruffle piece, the fuller the ruffle will look. 

The third thing you should consider in the preparation is to neaten the edge of your ruffle before you attach it to the garment. Try to neaten or trim the ruffle before you attach it to your dress to add some fullness. Here we take a look at different types of ruffles to get your creativity flowing. 

Different Types of Ruffle Dress 

1. Single Edge Ruffle

This is the ruffle’s most common, simple, and essential style. It is designed by gathering a long straight edge piece of fabric placed onto a smaller piece. Gather the cloth by sewing a single or double basting stitch away from the top edge. 

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You can use a pin to secure the loose thread on one end of the fabric. Then gently pull on the thread to form the gathers. Make sure your folds are evenly spread out before you attach the ruffle to your material. For a substantial amount of fullness, you can cut your ruffle at least 3x the length of your fabric. You can easily add this simple ruffle to any dress or t-shirt or use it to add drama to the waistline or hemline of your regular or pencil skirt.

2. Double Edge Ruffle

This style of ruffle is usually made by gathering a long straight, edge piece of fabric onto a smaller piece of fabric. The gathering can create some bulk and lots of volume when it comes to gathered ruffles. Gather the material by sewing a single or double basting stitch at the center. 

The switch at the center will create ruffles on both ends. You might have noticed this style of the ruffle is commonly used as decorative trim or embellishment. You can use a double-edge ruffle to trim a shirt’s neckline or along the sleeve’s edge.

3. Spiral Ruffle

A spiral ruffle is usually cut in a pattern in one continuous strip of fabric. It has an attractive design, one end of the material is larger and gradually gets smaller towards the other. You can sew this type of ruffle by attaching the straight edge to a piece of fabric that is the same size. 

No gathering is necessary. The ruffles will fall loosely, creating an elegant, draped look. Add a spiral ruffle to the sleeves or neckline of your favorite blouse or shirt.

4. Pleated Ruffle

Evenly-spaced pleats can also create this decorative style of the ruffle. You do not require gathering. Cut a straight ruffle at least three times the length of your main fabric. Fold each pleat and pin each pleat until it aligns perfectly with your main fabric. 

Your tailor will create this ruffle dress commonly with box and knife pleats. Pleated ruffles can also make the perfect trim for any garment. They are great for enhancing button plackets, collars, and even necklines.

5. Circular Ruffle

To achieve this ruffled style, you should cut an even circle pattern out of a single strip of fabric. If you straighten the inside of the circle, you should sew it to the straight edge of your main material. It is important to note that the inside circle will match the length of your main fabric. You will not require any gathering. 

This ruffle will allow the ruffle to drape loosely, thus creating more of a wave pattern. For a loose flounce effect, you can circle ruffles as cuffs to your favorite coat or add circular ruffles to a fitted column or sheath dress to add flair.

6. Cascading Ruffle

Though the cascading ruffle is similar to the circular ruffle, it is vertically sewn onto your garment. When sewn in this direction, it causes your ruffles to cascade creating loose-flowing ruffles. You may also know these as waterfall ruffles. You might have seen this style of ruffle worn on long-style dresses and skirts.

Bottom Line

Dresses, skirts, shirts, or blouses with ruffles and frills seem a little too “girly”. But once you wear them on the right body with the right flair, it could be an absolute game-changer.

Ruffles can make a summery addition to any of your wardrobe and add fun and funky layers to your usual, regularly looking dress.

If you want to bring a touch of vintage charm and old-school sweetness to your wardrobe, there is no better way to explore frills. These frills and layers could be the right kind of inspiration.

Stock up on these ruffled dresses this season and increase your style quotient just the right way. You can search for some of your favorite ruffle dresses from our street style picks that feature several gorgeous ruffles. Tailored and tiered, these soft yet structural dresses will power your look this season.

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