View Full Version : Looking for help with...

03-13-2010, 09:42 PM
sewing tulle or fabric to a child's t-shirt to add length and dimension.

I've been presented with the challenge of embellishing various t-shirts and tank tops by a friend. She is looking for fancy as well as just "flouncy" shirts/dresses to add to her daughter's wardrobe. Her daughter loves all things "twirley" so anything I can come up with would be appreciated.

I was hoping to get some narrowed down suggestions instead of using a broad search engine such as Google or Ask.com for some how-to's. My sewing experience is VERY limited as I'm just starting out and have never used my machine to do more than straight lines. I have no idea how to create pleats or how to layer the tulle or fabric on the bottom of the shirt hem to get it to lay correctly.

Any tips, tricks, or suggestions? I'm all ears!:help:TIA!

03-14-2010, 10:52 AM
I have cut off the bottom of many t-shirts and added a ruffle. I have made ruffled jeans and then put a matching ruffle to the bottom of the shirt. I cut off maybe 2 to 3 inches and then add a 3 to 4 inch or more ruffle.
I have shown you a couple of examples of ones I have done.

03-14-2010, 11:07 AM
libbie52- Thank you! That is EXACTLY what I'm referring to! :notworthy:

I just can't get the ruffle to sew to the bottom hem of the shirt without coming unravelled. I have to admit, I've only tried on one shirt and I was ready to throw in the towel after trying the first few inches. I don't want to let this friend down though- she's got more than 2 dozen shirts and pants that she'd like to make "frouffy" and her daughter is an absolute doll so I'd like to help her out.

I've made no sew tutus before with no problem- now it's just getting the fabric or tulle around the bottom hem without twisting, bunching or missing off the seam.

Can you shed any light on that application? Maybe it's just something I'm missing in my attempt....

03-14-2010, 11:54 AM
Well I am not sure what type of shirt fabric you are using, but either serge or zig zag the bottom of the shirt to prevent raveling. Lay the ruffle and shirt right sides together with the ruffle being next to the feed dogs. Don't pull on the shirt, just let it feed thru so as not to stretch it out.
I guess when you say it is turning, you must have the ruffle sewn into a circle. I don't sew the ends of the ruffle together until I have it on shirt. I make one continuous ruffle. I leave about 2 inches unsewn at the beginning, sew all the way around the when I get to the end, I take it off of the machine, measure where my end seam needs to me, sew it and then go back and sew that remaining couple of inches to the shirt.

03-14-2010, 12:24 PM
no, it's not sewn in a circle. I was experimenting with sewing the layers together to ruffle them and then applying the "strip" the way you suggested. It just seemed to be stretching the t-shirt material out as I sewed around and it looked skewed. Maybe it's just my eyes and I need to keep it up and try again :icon_wink: I'll keep trying today and see if I get the hang of it!

03-14-2010, 01:00 PM
You could try putting the shirt next to the feed dogs and the ruffle on top to see if that stretches the shirt less.

03-15-2010, 08:07 AM
You could iron some interfacing onto the bottom of the shirt. It would keep it from stretching while you were sewing and keep all of your stitching from puckering, but then it wouldn't stretch when worn either.

03-15-2010, 10:52 AM
Polley, if you wanted to come over and work on them some weekend we could try out some different ways to put the ruffles on. Sometimes it's easier just to see it done. As far as stretching out the fabric, I use a walking foot, which has feed dogs on the top so that the fabric gets pulled through at the same rate, that should help with the stretching.

03-16-2010, 10:23 PM
Sarah- I just might take you up on the impromptu lesson :notworthy:
I will FULLY ADMIT I am a novice sewing machine user so it could just be that I need a lesson or 2.

I was able to finish my second attempt at getting a shirt completed. I'll upload a pic in the next post. I was happy with how this one turned out and I can't wait to share it with my friend to see what her daughter thinks! I can't exactly say what I did differently other than I took a deep breath and just went for it and resolved to rip the seam out and start over if need be :icon_wink:

I also decided to sew the ruffle on with the seam out- it just seemed easier and I figured I could always cover up the top seam with a ribbon if necessary. With the unfinished edges on the white part of the shirt over the arms I thought the top part sticking up instead of under made more sense. (meaning I didn't flip the seam over and sew right sides together...) I kind of like the extra ruffle at the top that this creates and it's VERY forgiving!

03-16-2010, 10:26 PM