bubble ruffle shorts tutorial

This post is from the girls at Frances Suzanne! Ashley and Emily are the girls behind the blog which is full of adorable kid clothes! They are currently running a year long series called “Flip this Pattern“!

Hi, See Kate Sew readers!! We are tickled to be here with you today….sharing some ‘ruffling goodness’ of our own!! Truth be told: We aren’t particularly known for our ruffling abilities in creations sewn for our nieces, but we took Kate’s challenge and are glad we did! 
“The Bubble Ruffle Shorts”
{using a soon-to-be released pattern, Bubble Shorts by do guincho, as a starting point}
*Please note, however, you may choose to use this technique with any basic shorts pattern, sewn as your lining. Then, by adding desired width and height to the same pattern pieces, you can create outer shorts with a similar effect.
We began with the following pieces:
How did we modify do guincho‘s original, 3T pattern pieces?
** Please note: modifications will vary depending on size **
bubble ruffle shorts tutorial
1. Decrease lining piece length by 3/8″ at leg openings.

2. Decrease main shorts pieces length by 1 1/8″ at leg openings.

3. Split the main shorts pattern pieces into upper and lower sections – both for the front and back pieces – by cutting 3 1/8″ from the top of the upper pattern pieces {this accounts for 3/8″ seam allowances}.

4. Add 3/8″ back to the lower pattern pieces – to account for the seam allowance where they will be reattached.

5. Eliminate 2 inches {width} per upper shorts pattern pieces {all the upper back and front pieces}. Yes…we eliminated 8 inches from the original pattern – just in the upper section of the main shorts. The lower section pieces width remained the same.
What preliminary sewing steps were done prior to ruffle placement?
1. Sew the shorts lining, per instructions.

2. Sew a narrow hem on the two ruffle edges, using a hemmer foot. {*we forgot to shoot a picture of this step, so here is a photo of the narrow hem after attachment}
3. Run gathering stitches through each ruffle.

What were the steps to creating the final, ‘ruffled’ outcome??
1. Sew upper sections into a loop.

2. Sew lower sections into a loop {with crotch sewn – i.e. one piece}.

3. Gather the lower ruffle to the lower edge of FLAT upper section. Stitch together.

4. Gather the lower section {shorts} to fit the ruffled edge of upper section {shorts}, right sides together. Note: the lower ruffle will be sandwiched between the upper and lower sections.
5. Attach lining to the main shorts around leg openings, per instructions.
6. Attach lining to main shorts around waist area (not with the waistband yet), per instructions.
7. Attach the upper ruffle to the lower edge of flat waistband.
8. Attach waistband, per instructions. Again, this meant the upper ruffle was sandwiched between the waistband and shorts.
As for the verdict? WE LOVE THEM!
They appear {at times} to be a bubbled, ruffled skirt….. 
They are extremely ‘modest’ for an active almost three year old.
And, they will wear well into winter with a pair of leggings underneath.

As for the coordinating top, we used the Oliver + S popover sundress pattern – a free, downloadable PDF pattern. We shortened it by 4 inches, and hemmed per instructions. *And, since today is all about ruffles, we added a tiny ruffle along the yoke area of the front and back.

Thanks again for having us, Kate! We enjoyed being a part of Ruffles 2013…

If you enjoyed this post, we’d love for you to come join us over at FrancesSuzanne and follow along on our many sewing adventures! 


  1. says

    What an adorable outfit! I love the navy with a bright splash of yellow:) very, very cute:)

  2. says

    These are sooooooooooo cute! I am going to have to make a pair. It has the practicality of shorts combined with the cuteness of a skirt. My daughter has recently been loving a ‘skort’ I bought her, and this is a much more attractive version!

  3. says

    Super cute! And I love the idea of pairing them with leggings so she can wear them all winter- that’s just pure brilliance. Love the shorts, and I especially love the colors. Did you find the train before or after you made the outfit? What a perfect place for a photo shoot!

  4. says

    Followed the link from Frances Suzanne & I’m so glad I did, those shorts are so adorable! I foresee making at least one pair for a granddaughter in the future. xoxo Grandma

  5. says

    oh my goodness that is so cute!! I will have to try to make this for my cute little cousin!! so cute

  6. says

    It´s adorable! The ruffles are the best choice for the small kids, I think. And the color combination is really gorgeous, as well.

  7. Joy Wood says

    Love these!!!…a local kids clothes company sells these in their line and I LOVED then. I searched every pattern known to man and caved and bought them when they had their end of the season so I could figure out how to make them for next summer. Thanks for doing all the figuring for me…. You are dead on!! I am thrilled….thank you so much!!