I love belly dance costumes made by Russian designers.
I can easily spend half an hour scrolling through Pinterest, just getting design ideas and inspiration from gorgeous creations made by them.
They are so good at creating a dramatic look. 😀
I noticed they do that by using a lot of ruffles.
But not the light and soft type.
They use ruffles with body. Their ruffles stick out, and they are there to create drama!
I used a type of these ruffles in a mermaid skirt I made recently, and I LOVE the effect they create. They give more volume to the flared part of the skirt, which now looks 10x more gorgeous and expensive than it used to look, and it’s great for summer outdoor performances because audience from far away can see the beautiful silhouette.
Starting from this post, in the next 3 weeks I’m going to do a series called the Summer Costume Series where you get costuming DIY’s that are perfect for beautiful summer costumes. And I thought the Perky Ruffles would be the perfect one to kick off the series!
If you want a bit more drama to your costume, have a look at this video 😉
To make these Perky Ruffles, you need:
Stretch fabric – You can use non-stretch fabric, but I’m using stretch lace here so I don’t have to worry about fraying edges. I’ll show you how to determine how much fabric you need below.
Fishing line – If you’ve seen my Curly Lettuce Hem tutorial, it’s the same fishing line I used there. I’m using Red Wolf 40lb fishing line.
Matching colour thread
Regular sewing tools (see Resources page for my recommended tools)
Perky Ruffles DIY – Flounce ruffles with fishing line
First, let’s determine how much fabric you need. This design is made out of a flounce, which is a strip of fabric cut in a curve to create ruffles. This one is a circle, which creates even ruffles throughout.
To decide the size of the circle, you need to know how much of a ruffle strip you need. For example, I wanted each strip to be 21.5in (55cm) long for my skirt. This means that the inside circumference of the circle should be 21.5in long.
Here’s a quick math: your desired length of ruffles divided by 6.28. 6.28 stands for 2 x pi. Then you get half the diameter of this circle.
Now decide how wide your ruffle is. I wanted it to be 6in (15cm) wide. So we add 6in to the half diameter.
So half the diameter of this entire circle is 9.5in (24cm), which makes the diameter of this circle 19in (48cm), and so 19in by 19in (48cm x 48cm) is how much fabric you need per 21.5in ruffle strip.
Now if you are unsure about the math, I’ve created a chart with measurements and calculations all done for you. You can download it for free from here.
So cut your fabric in the size of circle you just determined. And cut the circle open.
Now you should be able to already see how this forms ruffles.
Take the longer edge, and we sew the fishing line along the edge. The fishing line is what gives these ruffles body and accentuates the curls. You can see how to do this in detail in my Curly Lettuce Hem video, but basically place the fishing line 1/8in (2mm) from the edge of the fabric on the wrong side, wrap it with fabric, and do a zigzag stitch. I set the stitch length to about 1.2 and stitch width at 5. Make sure the needle goes on both sides of the fishing line, and continue to wrap it with about 1/8in (2mm) of fabric from the edge. The stitches create casing for the fishing line and keep it in place.
Tie the ends by hand, fold over and hand stitch or do a zigzag stitch to secure the end. Again, see the Curly Lettuce Hem video for more details.
And your Perky Ruffles are complete!
If you want to insert them into your skirt, simply place it at a seam. For example, for my mermaid skirt, I sandwiched the ruffle strip between a panel and a godet and stitched all 3 layers together. Simple as that! I also hemmed the godets with fishing line for extra volume and to create a romantic look.
If you want to make this mermaid skirt, you can see how to make this exact skirt in my Belly Dance Costume Workshop.
You’ll see how much volume and drama these ruffles create once you add a whole bunch of strips to your skirt, and they make it look more professionally made, and perfect for summer outdoor performances.
Oh, and if you are curious how to make this belt I’m wearing with the skirt, you can learn how to make it here 🙂
Enjoy your Perky Ruffles! If you liked this tutorial, please share it with your troupemates.
And click the link below to download the measurement chart for making Perky Ruffles so you don’t have to guess how much fabric you need.
Thanks for reading, and keep sparkling!
P.S. Pin this for your next project!
Want to make more costuming bits yourself?