How to Sew Flounces on Sleeves (Circle Ruffles)

blush and floral flounce top with floral tree background
Ruffles! I love ruffles because they add a lovely feminine touch to garments. Usually when I sew ruffles, I make them by gathering a strip of fabric like in this tutorial. I decided to do something different and make flounces, or circle ruffles, instead. I love the look of flounces because they flow so elegantly and they're essentially mini circle skirts.

blush top with floral flounces and velvet circle skirt

I started off with this darling blush top with a small shoulder ruffle. For the flounces, I used a gorgeous double brush poly from Sincerely Rylee Fabrics. By creating mini circle skirts for your sleeves, you achieve this gorgeous flounce. I paired my new top with a circle skirt for ultimate twirl and drape. :) 


I used this Circle Skirt Calculator to create these flounces.
You can also use it to create your own full size circle skirt. There are various circle skirt calculators, but I like this one because you can control the length, so you can use it to create flounces, aka circular ruffles.

1. Measure your sleeve opening, where the blue dots are shown.
Take this measurement and double it. 

Example: My sleeve opening was 5 1/2" and I doubled it, so it was 11".

sleeve opening measured with tape measure

This is a screenshot of my measurements using the Circle Skirt Calculator

Type I wanted a full circular ruffle, so I put the full circle skirt option.
Waist: This is the measurement of the sleeve opening, from Step 1.
Skirt Length: This is the desired length of your ruffles. I chose 5" flounces.

Waist Radius and Fabric Length are calculated based on the answers you give.

2. Using the screenshot from above, the first number I used was the Fabric Length number.
This is how much you're going to fold your fabric, once to the right and once up.
To make cutting and measuring easier, I rounded up to 7 1/2", since my number was 7.413.

3. To cut out your flounces, you will use the Waist Radius number.

The blue line shows where you will use the Waist Radius number. Measure and mark on both sides, and form a curve, as shown by the purple dots.

After marking your radius, you will use the Skirt Length number (aka the length of your flounces). From the radius, measure evenly until you have a curve.
Example: My desired flounce length was 5", so I measured 5" from the waist radius to form an even curve.

This is how your new flounce piece will look when cut out. 
(It is still folded in this photo)

flounce circle ruffle piece cut out

Phew! We got through the hardest part, hooray! 

Honestly, we are just making tiny circle skirts, there is just a lot of numbers and measuring involved. You can relax now though, we got through it. :)

4. If you are going to hem your flounces, now is the time to do so. 
You can also leave them with a raw edge, if your fabric doesn't fray, like knits.
To hem a circular piece, check out this tutorial here. I promise it's quick and easy!

flounce circle ruffle serged and pinned

New flounce is hemmed and ready to be sewn on!

flounce circle ruffle piece hem

5. With right sides together, pin and sew the flounce to your top.
(The pink dots)

pink shirt with flounce pinned on

All ready and pretty!

refashioned shirt with flounces circle ruffles sewn on

blush flounce top with floral tree background

blush top with flounces and velvet skirt with floral tree background

floral flounce circle ruffle close up

blush and floral flounce circle ruffle top close up

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