I don't know if you have noticed lately, but I have become simply OBSESSED with ruffles. I want to add ruffles to everything! They are so feminine and add a lot of sass and personality into whatever item they happen to adorn.
So when I saw this random photo pop up on my feed, I was immediately inspired to create a new version of the Amelie with ruffles, ruffles, and more ruffles!
It took me some time to figure out what fabric to use for this project. The Amelie definitely takes A LOT of material, and adding ruffles only makes that material usage increase.
Luckily, Harmony from Harmony Art Organic Design reached out to me last year and offered to send some fabric my way as a gift to try out and chat about a bit. I had been eyeing some of her designs over on Organic Cotton Plus over the years but hadn't purchased anything because I just didn't have a project in mind for them. However, when I saw this dainty white cotton sateen with trees and little rabbits hopping around, I was 100% sold! This would be perfect for my Amelie hack!
So, Harmony's fabrics are really large. They are basically double the width of conventional fabrics, coming in at 110" wide, which means that you don't actually need loads of it to create a really beautiful garment. Can you guess how much was used to create this Amelie?
One Yard of Fabric.
That's crazy, right? Only one yard was needed to create this entire dress? AND that's including the fact that the print is directional, so pattern placement was really important!
Granted, I did hack the pattern a bit beyond simply adding ruffles. I took away the patch pockets and replaced them with inset pockets (you can check out my tutorial on how to add inseam pockets HERE- and this works on all kinds of patterns!), omitted the button placket up the back skirt, and opted for a rectangular gathered skirt instead of the very large circle skirt of the original Amelie.
I wanted to share with you all how I hacked the top pf my dress with the added ruffles, especially the back side! I failed to take progress shots, so instead I have re-created the steps with some computer drawings- I hope that works and shows exactly how to get this look for yourself!
First, you'll want to cut out all of your bodice pieces, lining pieces, and interfacing pieces as you normally would. You'll complete steps 1-6 or 1-13A (depending on whether you want to go sleeveless or with sleeves) as normal. Once you have gotten through those steps, grab a measuring tape, some of your remaining fabric, and scissors. It's time to cut out the ruffles!
For the back opening ruffle, I simply measured the long edge of my pattern. Then, I doubled that measurement to get the length of my ruffle. I like my ruffles to have lots of gathers but not be too bulky, so I have found that a ratio of 1:2 works best as far as length of my original line: length of my ruffle line goes.
For the width, I wanted my ruffle to be 2" (5.1 cm) wide when finished and I knew I wanted my ruffle edge to be seamless, so I double the width of 2" and added an addition 1" (2.5 cm) for my seam allowance.
In the end, my ruffle piece's width was 5" (12.7 cm) total.
For my sleeves, I followed a similar process. I didn't want to have the ruffle edge be seamless as I was running low on fabric and I wanted my ruffle to be quite a bit longer than my open back ruffle. I basically wanted my ruffle to be 4" (10.2 cm) wide when completed with an additional 1" (2.5 cm) for seam allowance & hem allowance.
For the length, I measured the bottom edge of my sleeve opening and again doubled that measurement to give me my ruffle length.
Now that we have all of our ruffles for the bodice cut out, we can get to stitching them up!
For the back opening ruffle, fold your ruffle pieces in half length wise-- or hot dog style as I like to say-- with the wrong sides together and pin the two shorter ends closed. Stitch these together with a 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance.
Trim your corners and turn your ruffle to the right side. Using a point turner, chopstick, or even flat head mini screwdriver, push out the corners of your ruffle. Press the entire ruffle so that the raw edges are flush together.
To gather your ruffle, set your machine's stitch length to it's longest setting and sew two rows of basting/ gathering stitches along the edge of your ruffle: one at 1/4" (0.6 cm) and the next at 1/2" (1.3 cm).
Gently pull on the lower threads to gather your ruffle. Don't worry too much about making the ruffle perfect as we will likely have to adjust once we sew it onto our back pieces!
Once you have your back ruffle pieces nice and gathered, it's time to baste them onto your back bodice opening.
Position your ruffles so that the raw edges are touching the raw edge of your back bodice. You'll want to position the short end of your ruffles 1/2" (1.3 cm) away from the top of your neck edge as well as 1/2" (1.3 cm) away from the bottom edge of your bodice. By doing so, you will leave yourself enough room to sew those portions closed without catching your ruffle in the seams by mistake.
Once your ruffles are nicely positioned and all the gathers seem evenly distributed, go ahead and baste your ruffles onto your back bodice.
Once you have your ruffles basted in place, you can follow steps 14-17 before pausing to attach your sleeve ruffle to the sleeve itself (that is, if you are adding sleeves at all! If not, follow steps 7-12 instead).
If you are adding sleeves to your dress, you will want to attach your ruffle to your sleeve edge before attaching your sleeve to your bodice. It's just a tad easier to attach a somewhat bulky bit to your sleeve when it is still flat rather than a small round tube.
With right sides together, place the gathered edge of your sleeve ruffle along the raw edge of your sleeve hem. Sew the two together and finish your seams. Press your seam towards your sleeve cap.
Now you can go ahead and follow steps 18-24 to attach your full ruffle sleeve to your bodice! When you get to step 25, instead of ironing up the edge of your original sleeve hem, you will follow those steps along the ruffle edge to hem it, folding the bottom of the ruffle up 1/2" (1.3 cm) & another 1/2" (1.3 cm) before sewing it in place.
The last thing you'll have to do is add a loonngggg ruffle to the bottom edge of your skirt. I didn't have enough fabric to cut out either full version of the original Amelie. Instead I just cut out two large rectangles to use as my gathered skirt portion. I used the same method to calculate the sleeve ruffle for the skirt ruffle. I didn't really have enough fabric to make such a large ruffle, so I wound up piecing together every last bit of fabric I had to create the longest strip possible.
I think it wound up working quite well and I love the overall turn out of this particular dress :)