How to Sew a Ruffle Front Blouse with Bell Sleeves

blue striped ruffle blouse summer outfit

Time does fly fast doesn't it? I made this ruffle front blouse for my birthday this year and I promised I would upload a tutorial after the birthday craziness. Since June is always packed with a bunch of summer fun, I'm finally getting around to posting this tutorial. :) I'm a huge fan of ruffles, so when I was trying to figure out what to make with this unicorn fabric, I knew I had to incorporate some ruffles into the design.

unicorn print ruffle blouse close up

This is an easy hack you can use to add a ruffle to the front of any top and some bell sleeves. I made these tops using the top of the Sweetheart Dress, but you can use any top pattern you have available. (I used the top of the Sweetheart Dress because I ran out of tracing paper and couldn't trace my other top patterns, hehe). You can even refashion any top you have using this tutorial, you would just need to open up the side seams.

For the bell sleeves, you can make either ruffle bell sleeves (like the blue striped blouse) or flounce bell sleeves (like the unicorn top). 

blue striped ruffle blouse close up side


1. Cut out your top as shown below. You can cut yours with a curve like mine, or just straight through. Mine has a curve, because I was using the colorblock option on the Sweetheart Dress. How high or low you cut it, depends on your personal preference. 
If you are refashioning an already made blouse, seam rip or cut the sides apart.

And measure across, as shown below.

I cut mine about 2" below the armpit.

front bodice cut across

2. This is how you will cut out your front ruffle. Depending on how "ruffly" you want your front ruffle, choose a cut chart below. For a more "ruffly" effect, use the first chart and for a less "ruffly" look, use the second chart. (Haha, I know "ruffly" isn't a word, but you understood what I was saying right? hehe!)  

For the unicorn print blouse, I used the first measurement and my ruffle was 4 1/2" and for the blue striped top, I used the second measurement and my ruffle was 5".

illustration showing how to cut out the front ruffle

3. Next, hem your ruffle and sew a gathering stitch across the top.

ruffle gathered to fit bodice

4. Place your ruffle on the bottom part of your bodice, as shown below.

ruffle on top of bottom bodice

5. Turn the top part of the bodice facing down, pin, and sew. 
Now that you have the front bodice done, you can continue sewing your shirt as the pattern instructions say to. 
If you are refashioning an already made blouse, sew the sides back together.
I attached the back bodice to a shoulder seam, added some neck binding, and sewed the remaining shoulder seams.

front ruffle pinned to bodice

6. For the sleeves on the unicorn blouse, I made flounce bell sleeves, half circle and 7 1/2" long.

For the sleeves on the blue striped blouse, I made ruffle bell sleeves, 5" long. I sewed the sleeves on after completing the bodice and then I attached the ruffled bell sleeves.

To get the waist radius measurement to put into the circle skirt calculator, I measured the sleeve open flat, as shown below.

unicorn print sleeve being measured

7. For the unicorn blouse: After I cut my flounce bell sleeve piece, I opened it up...

half circle flounce bell sleeve

...pinned and sewed, right sides facing together. 
After that, I sewed the sleeve on the bodice, sewed it closed together, and hemmed the bottom of the flounce bell sleeve.

flounce bell sleeve sewn to sleeve

All done!

blue striped ruffle blouse with sunglasses and hat

blue striped ruffle blouse with sunglasses and hat head tilt pose

blue striped ruffle blouse with bell sleeves close up

striped ruffle blouse with bell sleeves side close up

ruffle blouse close up side view

summer ruffle blouse modest outfit

summer ruffle blouse with bell sleeves

with sew much love, mary blog signature

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