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How to Sew an Exposed Ruffle Gather

Exposed Ruffle Gather tutorial

Hack your sewing patterns with this easy exposed ruffle gathered edge!

Thank you to Georgina Warren-Porter for creating this guide for our Below The Kowhai community.

To see more of Georgina’s beautiful sewing visit @sew.exhausted on Instagram.

Use this tutorial to create a sweet exposed ruffle gather on any of your gathered waist dresses like the Bellbird Dress and the Kauri Dress.

For this tutorial we are specifically referring to the Bellbird Dress tutorial steps, but the same principals apply to any gather waist seams!

Exposed Ruffle Gather tutorial

This hack can be completed at Step 40 of the Bellbird Dress tutorial, and then resume the tutorial at steps 52 and 53.

By altering the construction method of the skirt slightly, you lose 3cm (1 1/4″) length from the skirt. So, I would advise adding this amount to the pattern piece before cutting the fabric. Of course, if you’ve already cut into your fabric and you’re half way through the tutorial and just now ready this then carry on!

Part of Bellbird’s beauty is the elegance of the lining. With this exposed ruffle we suggest you hand sew the lining down, OR, join the bodice main and lining together at the lower edge (zig sag or serge) and treat as one piece before completing these steps.

Exposed Ruffle Gather Tutorial

To make your hacked Bellbird Dress, follow the original tutorial until you have completed step 40. Once you have completed the steps below, return to the original tutorial steps 52 and 53 for topstitching and hemming.

Exposed Ruffle Gather tutorial


Finish the top edge of the constructed skirt piece with a zig zag stitch or serger.

Press the top edge of the skirt down 1.5cm (5/8″) towards the wrong side.

Exposed Ruffle Gather tutorial


Gather the top of the skirt with one line of gather stitches (longest stitch length) 1cm (3/8″) from the top fold

RECOMMENDED TIP: On my dress I gathered the top of the skirt using co-ordinating thread so that I could sew over it and not unpick the gathering stitch!

Exposed Ruffle Gather tutorial


Pin the skirt to the right side of the bodice main (or, the bodice + lining if you’ve joined them for a faster sew), with the gathering line approximately 1cm (3/8″) above the lower edge of the bodice.

Exposed Ruffle Gather tutorial


Sew the skirt to the bodice main on top of the gathering stitch line.


Follow the original tutorial steps 45 and 46 for the centre back seam

+ If you are hand sewing the lining:


On the wrong side, press the raw edge of the main bodice up from the stitching line.


Hand sew the lining following step 51 in the original tutorial, enclosing the raw edge of the bodice. (It would be difficult to follow the ‘stitch in the ditch’ method with this hack)

You’re finished! Congratulations!

+ If you joined the main and lining together as one piece:

You’re finished! Congratulations!

Exposed Ruffle Gather tutorial

Thanks for this exposed ruffle gathering tutorial Georgina! We know this will look so lovely on our gathered waist sewing patterns!

Share your hacks in our VIP Community on Facebook or tag us on Instagram!

Love and happy sewing,
Sophie x

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