Ruffled Beachy Dress

When Dawn from Designed by Dawn Nicole reached out to me with her upcycled Ruffled Beachy Dress, I was thrilled.  There was something so easy, yet fun about it, it just made me itch for the Summer.  Doesn’t it make you dream about getting to the beach?  Feeling the sand between your toes, the water hitting your knees as you wade in, the sun warming your back…ahhhh, I am definitely in another place right now as I write this.  HA!

Back to the post…

I simply needed to feature this dress, it is such a quick and easy sew, that I know it will have you all dreaming about Summer in no time!

But let me first introduce you to Dawn and her blog aptly named Designed by Dawn Nicole.  This Stay at Home Momma of 2 (with another one due any day now!!!) is seriously talented.  Not only is she learning her way around the sewing machine and sharing with us in the process…


But she is a master in the kitchen.  Her food recipes have be absolutely drooling…


Let’s just say it all together…’3 Ingredient Beer Bread’.  Yummmmmmmmmmmmmm

Now I know we all have an old shirred dress laying around, because really…are they flattering on anyone besides kids? Let’s see how we can make them a bagillion times cuter.

Welcome Dawn, thank you so much for being here!


Hi all!  I’m Dawn and I blog over at Designed by Dawn Nicole.  I’m so excited to be guest posting here at Me Sew Crazy.  Jessica is unbelievably talented and her blog is among the first I started to follow when I got into sewing.  Today, I’m sharing a fun Ruffled Beachy Dress up-cycled from some of my old shirred summer dresses.

What You’ll Need:
  • Shirred Dresses in Women’s Sizes
  • Fabric for the ruffle/straps (this is a great project to use up some scraps)
  • All your sewing goodies
  • Two measurements from your model (1) her chest circumference measurement taken right under the armpit and (2) her length measurement from chest to knee
I came up with the idea from this project when I finally got around to going through boxes of clothes from my pre-baby life.  You know, those ones I’d always hoped would fit again.  I had a huge stack of those strapless shirred tunics/dresses and I finally decided to put them to better use by up-cycling them into summer dresses for my 2 year old.

Here are what these dresses looked like before.  I used a seam ripper to carefully take out the inside labels and remove the front strap, which I was able to re-purpose into straps but I’ll also show you how to make your own as in the peach and polka dot version pictured above.

Start by cutting out two front and back pieces from the dress, keeping the original top edge of the shirred bodice.  My daughter’s chest measurement is 20″ and her length from chest to knee is 13″ so I cut my pieces to be 10″ x 13″.  So, for each of your pieces, make them half of your model’s chest measurement x her length measurement.  I did not add extra for seam allowance since it’s already stretchy around the chest and we’ll be adding a ruffle to the bottom.
Pin your front and back pieces right sides together along the sides and sew with a 1/4″ to 3/8″ seam.  I used a 1/4″ since the fabric I used won’t fray but when I serge I like to use a 3/8″ seam.  

Measure the bottom edge of your dress from one side seam to the other.  Your ruffle fabric strip basically needs to be 4x this measurement x 4″ in width.  My dress measured 15″ across the bottom so my ruffle piece was cut to be 60″x4″.  I also tried a 5″ width ruffle as shown in the black and zebra print version.  Piece strips of fabric together as need to get the desired length of fabric.

Serge one long side of the ruffle piece, then fold over 1/4″, iron, and hem.  If you don’t have a serger simply fold over 1/4″ and iron.  Then fold over another 1/4″, iron, and hem.
P1020319    P1020320
Along the long raw edge of your ruffle piece, sew a basting stitch (set your stitch length to 5.0) leaving a few inches of thread at each end.  No backstitching!  Hold bobbin threads and gently pull fabric until ruffle is the same size as the bottom of your dress.  Pin with right sides together and sew and serge/zig zag the ruffle strips short ends together so that it is now a circle as shown below.  Pin ruffle to skirt bottom with right sides and raw edges together as shown below.  Sew with a 3/8″ seam.  Serge or zig zag.

P1020321   P1020322
Flip ruffle down, iron, and topstitch with a 1/8 inch seam.
P1020324   P1020325
Almost done!  We just need to add straps.  If your dresses had straps you can re-purpose as mine did cut four of them.  I made mine 10″ in length, finishing the short ends by serging.

Pin your straps on.  I pin 1.5″ in from each side for the front straps and the back straps I pin just inside where the front straps are.  Having the straps slightly closer together in the back helps keep the straps from slipping off the shoulders when your little one is wearing it.  Sew them on as desired.  I sew over each strap a few times since these get pulled on a lot.

Then I simply sewed on various embellishments.  Fabric Yo-Yo’s with button centers or Ric Rac Flowers are two of my favorites.  If you glue your flowers on with something like FabricTac, you should hang to dry as drying them in the dryer will probably make your flowers come unglued (or that’s been my experience anyway!)

And you’re all done! 

If you need to make your own straps, here’s a quick tute for how I like to make mine (because I really dislike tube-turning!)

First, cut 4 pieces of fabric 15″x2″. (I make the cotton ones a bit longer since they don’t stretch like knits do).  These example pics are from another dress I made just to show you in detail how to make your own.

Fold each short each of the strap piece over 1/4″ and iron.  Then fold strip in half lengthwise and iron.  Open and fold each side toward the middle and iron again (see pics for a better explanation).  Then fold in half and iron again.  Sew with a 1/8″ seam.  Repeat until all four straps are complete.

P1020747       P1020748
P1020750       P1020751


Attach in the same manner as the other straps I showed you and that’s it!  I actually really loved the look of the straps matching the dress ruffle.
Thanks again for having me today and feel free to contact me if you have any questions at all about making this dress!


I love it Dawn, and will definitely be whipping a few up before those warmer months hit. Good luck on having your new baby, what a blessing. I am always amazed and in awe by the miracle that is birth.

Thank you again so much for being here!

Be sure to hop on over and show Designed by Dawn Nicole some love:
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Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time…

Happy Sewing!