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Handmade Costume Series: Ruffleump Dress

Welcome Sewing Mama RaeAnna with this adorable little circus elephant dress tutorial! What a cute way to dress up a little baby girl. Check out all the other costume tutorials in the series as well!
RaeannaHello Train to Crazy readers!!!  My name is RaeAnna and I blog at!
 I am mommy to 3 year old boy Christian and 9 month old girl Eva
Mae and we live in the Nashville, TN area!    I am so
excited to guest post – I've been following Andrea and several other
sewing blogs over the past year and I've learned so much from such
creative bloggers! I'm excited to hopefully contribute to the
craftiness – especially at costume time!!!

I call this tutorial my "Ruffleump" costume because I was trying to
think of what I wanted to dress my baby girl and her brother for our
fall festivities in October! :)  The circus came to mind and I
thought my boy could be some sort of circus animal trainer or
ringmaster and baby girl could be an animal!  I LOOOOOVE ruffles
so of course I had to include lots!  And then "elephant" and
Winnie the Pooh's "Huffalump" came to mind and I thought that would
be the perfect word to morph with "ruffle"…….and there you have my
etymology of the word – "Ruffleump!"  LOL!

I envisioned a dress with ruffles on the sleeves and a back with
layers of ruffles.  To design I thought kind of an a-line would
work best.  I saw a dress on SewSet
that helped my inspiration!  Below you'll see how I drew my
pattern out on paper.  The piece on the left is the front, the
little triangle type piece up top is the sleeve, the long triangle and
other piece are how I designed the back to have the ruffle layer

I then cut 8 long strips to gather and pin as ruffles on the back

Here you'll see everything cut out (minus the ruffle strips) for the
dress.  You'll see that the front was cut on the fold, the
sleeves were cut on the fold, the center back was cut on the fold and
the other back pieces were cut to make 2.  I also cut the center
back a little shorter – there may be better ways to piece a dress like
this together.  Since I didn't want to button on the shoulder I
needed to have room in the back to put a loop button closure.
 There are probably a million better ways that experienced
seamstresses will do this – I'm a self-taught mama who likes to wing
it! lol!

STEP ONE – take the center back piece and hem the bottom and top edges

STEP TWO – take and gather each ruffle piece and pin it to the center

STEP THREE – sew your ruffles to the center back.

STEP FOUR – hem the inner edges of the back

STEP FIVE – pin and sew your center back panel to each hemmed back piece.

STEP SIX – attach shoulder seams and side seams.  I have a serger
to finish the raw edges but you can finish them any way you like – french seams,
pinking shears, zig zag stitch, etc.

STEP SEVEN – hem the curved edges of the sleeve ruffles -
then gather the straight edges to ruffle.

STEP EIGHT – pin the sleeve ruffles to the armholes right sides
together and sew.


STEP NINE – this is a long process.  You'll need to use bias tape
to finish the armholes and neck hole on the dress.  There are a
TON of tutorials out there how to do it and practice makes perfect!
 For this project I ended up just ironing the creases in my
fabric to make bias tape but I do like using my bias tape maker tool.  I've included several
pictures of what the armholes and neck look like during this


STEP TEN – hem the bottom of your dress and add a button and loop!!!
 You can add all the embellishments you want now – applique,
embroidery, etc!  For my little girl, this cute elephant hat will be the perfect finishing
touch as we attend our costume parties this fall! :)


Thank you for checking out my tutorial and I hope this will
springboard into other cute dresses for your little girls!


I haven't bought the elephant mask yet but here is the outfit on my
sweet girl! :)


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