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Really Ruched Bubble Dress

Hello! It’s Sumo from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff! I was here not too long ago, sharing my Pretty Panels Peasant Dress, and I’m thrilled to be back again to share another dress with you. I went with panels again this time, but decide to ruche it up and make it a ruched bubble dress. Obviously girly, but do you expect anything less from me?

Really Ruched Bubble Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
My girls are ALL in love with the dress. It is long and poofy – much like a princess dress. As you can imagine, princesses are huge at our house, so I knew this was going to be a hit.

Here’s what you need to get started:
– fabric – I went with the Déco Flower line from The Ribbon Retreat
– sewing machine/accessories

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
The measurements I share today will be for a size 4T.
I started out by cutting the straps and the bodice. It was easy to measure the bodice; I just measured from Remi’s chest to where I wanted the skirt part of the dress to start. Then I made the width of the bodice about 1.5 times how wide she is from side to side. For 4T, I cut two bodice pieces to 5.5” x 17”.
For the straps, I made them 1.5-2 times longer than I wanted them to actually be (which you can figure out by measuring) and then the width is entirely up to you. I knew I was going to be shirring half of the strap to give it a ruffle, flutter sleeve feel. I originally cut the straps to be 12” x 8”, but then ended up cutting the width down to 5.5” later on as I was sewing.

So to summarize:
two bodice pieces at 5.5” x 17”
two straps at 12” x 5.5”

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Next up is cutting the panels. Since they are going to be ruched, you can take your length measurement and double it. Or if you want shorter, you can only do 1.5 times. I went with double. I had four different fabrics, and cut two panels of each fabric. The width of the panels depends on how gathered you want the skirt part of the dress to be. For a size 4T, I cut the panels to w.o.f. for the length x 9.5” wide.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
We are making a bubble dress, so we’re going to need an under layer to create the bubble. Make this 4-6” shorter than the length the panels will be after ruching them, and the same width as the panels will be once put together. My 4T under layer pieces were 18” x 36”.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Time to ruche! Start running gathering stitches along each long side of each panel. One side looks like this.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Two sides looks like this.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Then you need to make sure that the length of the panel is the length you are going for. Mine was 22”.
Adjust your gathers accordingly.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
I’m going to let you in on a little gathering secret. If you set your machine to the longest stitch length, you can gather as you sew by holding on to the thread up top before it threads into the machine. Just make sure you have long tails in case you need to let some of the gather out. In my experience, it’s easier to gather it too much and let some gather out.
So much faster!

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress - best gathering trick ever! Gather while you sew!
Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress - best gathering trick ever! Gather while you sew!
Do this for each of your panels – however you want to gather.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Figure out the order of your panels, and start sewing them together, with right sides together.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress

Soon you’ll have the beginnings of a lovely skirt. You’ll end up with a front panel and a back panel. I found it easier to work with them this way, even though they will eventually all be attached together.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Take one large panel, and sew one under layer piece to it, right sides facing in.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
This is what it will look like all laid out.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Along the top edge of each panel and the bottom edge of each panel (which is the under layer) run a gathering stitch. Set the two large panels aside.

Take the two bodice pieces, and finish each long edge.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Then attach the two bodice pieces together, right sides facing in.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Turn the top edge under and hem it up.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Then sew the other sides of the bodice together, right sides facing in.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Take your two large panels, and sew them together, right sides facing in. Be careful not to sew over your thread tails for gathering. I stopped by gathering stitches about an inch in on each side to allow room for sewing the panels together.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Pull up the bottom edge of the under layer, and line it up with the top edge of the skirt. The wrong side of the under layer will be facing in towards the wrong side of the panels. (Sorry for the blurry picture!)

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Turn your bodice right side out, and mark the middle of both the front and the back with a pin.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Place the bodice inside the skirt, with right sides facing together. Line up the side seams and pin together. Also pin the middle marks of the bodice with the middles of the skirt pieces. Pull the threads on both the skirt and the under layer until it is gathered evenly on each side. (Note: You could sew up the panels together before doing any gathering stitch, and just run one big long gathering stitch on each part. I prefer to break it up because I think it is easier to gather, and easier to make it even).

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Sew the bodice and skirt together, being careful to catch all three layers. Finish your edge.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Turn the dress right side out, and this is what you should have. It’s coming along!

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Now it’s time to shir up that bodice. This part is easy, but tedious.
Hand wind the elastic thread around bobbin. Not too tight!

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Start sewing around the bodice. I made my rows about 1/4” apart from each other.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
And finished!

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Set the dress aside, and grab the strap pieces. Finish all four edges, then hem up all four edges.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Start shirring rows along the long edge. I did eight rows. This would give me a tighter strap across the shoulder, but still allow for a fluttery, ruffle sleeve.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
If you can, try the dress on your little gal, and mark where the straps will go with pins or a fabric marker.
Pin the straps in place.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Really Ruched Bubble Dress
Sew the straps on to the dress, being careful to sew over the top of an already existing sewn seam.

Really Ruched Bubble Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Whew, you did it! Now you have this adorable creation that your little lady is going to love!

Really Ruched Bubble Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
My three year old is notorious for not wanting to have her picture taken, but even she was excited to try this on and pose for me!

Really Ruched Bubble Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
I love how the straps are tighter towards the middle, but flare out.

Really Ruched Bubble Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Seriously darling, right?

Really Ruched Bubble Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
She was loving trying on this poofy, full dress.

Really Ruched Bubble Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
I mean, come on, the smile says it all!

Really Ruched Bubble Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Thanks so much for letting me visit again today. I can’t wait to come back again to share more girly goodness from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff with you!

Oh my goodness…isn’t that a beeeeautiful dress! Sumo is one talented and amazing lady! I am so happy that she continues to share her talent for sewing with us, and her love for creating beautiful things. Thank you Sumo for sharing your incredible talent with us! Your little princess model is adorable in her new gorgeous dress!!

Want to see more of Sumo’s FABulous talent? Visit her at Sumo’s Sweet Stuff. She would love to see you there.

Happy Sewing & Creating!
Signature - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

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3 Comments

  1. Michelle
    Posted July 22, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    This is super cute. What does w.o.f. mean?

  2. Posted August 7, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    @Michelle- width of fabric?

    Love the gathered skirt. 🙂

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted August 8, 2013 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi Emily! Thank you for your comment and your question. The width of the Deco Flower fabric is 43″-44″ wide from selvage to selvage. Thank you again Emily and have a wonderful rest of your day! Michelle 🙂

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