“Onesie Hacks”: Part 3 — The Ultra-Simple Ruffle Dress

Onesie to dress conversion by Beautiful Entropy

This is the third (and likely final) post in my “Onesie Hacks” series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to also check out Part 1 (“The Punky Little Pixie Dress”) and Part 2 (“The Soft and Sweet Dress”). This is definitely the simplest of the hacks, requiring only a onesie and a strip of fabric, a few seams, and (maybe the best part) no measuring!!

I started with this cute little “Aloha” onesie that I hacked the bottom off to make a raw-edged shirt.


Because of the Hawaiian vibe, I used some coordinating batik fabric with a sort of palm frond look to it. My daughter likes her dresses to hit about half-way between the knee and hip; this way, they can be worn alone without being indecent, or worn over capris or tight-fitting shorts for a cute layered look. I didn’t measure the strip of batik fabric, I just kind of eyeballed it. The strip I cut was about 5 inches wide and somewhat longer than the hem of the shirt. The longer you make the strip, the more gathered and ruffly the skirt will be.

Because I used a woven (rather than knit) fabric for the skirt, I had to hem the lower edge. There are a few ways to do this, but a rolled hem (folded over twice) of about 1/4-1/2″ in width is what I do most commonly. A few times I’ve been really lazy and have simply folded the hem over once and secured it with a zigzag, making sure to catch the raw edge of the fabric completely underneath the zigzag stitching so that it doesn’t fray. This time, I had a new toy I wanted to try out. I recently got a set of rolled hem feet (similar to this one, but in a variety of widths). I got the hem started, worked the fabric through the foot, and the machine did the rest for me. I seriously wanted to videotape it (except I’m not talented enough to sew and video at the same time). Perfect hem with no effort in no time!


The rolled hem foot working its magic.


Isn’t that a gorgeous hem? I love my rolled hem foot.

Next, I ran a line of basting (long stitch length, no back-stitching) about 1/4″ from the unhemmed edge of the batik to gather the skirt.

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 3.20.19 PM

The rolled hem is at the bottom. The basting (with long tails of thread still attached for gathering) is at the top.

I used the technique I discussed here to gather the skirt. When I do this, I like to gather more than necessary and then open the skirt up to the right dimensions as I even out the ruffles.


Once I got the skirt about the same circumference as the hem of the shirt, I made a straight seam up the side. You’ll still have a little play to gather your skirt more or less after you make this seam, but it’s harder, so try to get the circumference nearly correct first.


To attach the skirt to the shirt, I just pinned the raw edges together (after ensuring one last time that my circumferences matched and my gathers looked even), making certain that the seam on the skirt matched up with one of the side seams on the shirt.


Even though the woven fabric of the skirt isn’t stretchy, the gathers allow it to stretch with the jersey of the shirt, so you need to use a stretch stitch here. I used a zigzag. The stitching won’t show, because the skirt will flip down and hide it. Try to stitch right over your basting stitches, which saves you the trouble of having to pick them out. Once the skirt was attached, I used a pinking shears to remove just a bit of the bulk from the side seam. The pinking shears also prevent fraying, which (though it won’t be a cosmetic issue on an inside seam like this) can be a pain.





This time, I made sure to get some pictures of the dress on my favorite little model.


(Not that she had time for modeling).


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