hi everyone!  coming up for air again briefly with a big treat for you…you all remember how i mentioned my friend teri graciously agreeing to co-run an art fair booth with me and all the beautiful work she’s been doing for that purpose?  well, she’s really stepping it up this evening, generously assisting in keeping this neglected little blog afloat with an awesome tutorial.  we are happy to report things are going very well as we enter the home stretch of mass production….hopefully i can make it back later this week with another inventory update!  until then, i will turn it over to teri so you can hear a bit more about her and her background, and then, like me, mooch all of her creativity and knowledge born from meticulous methodology.


teri does not yet have her own blog, so when she started posting photos of some of her amazing geranium modifications (see above), a bit of a clamor understandably ensued for a tutorial.  the ikat one.  I KNOW.  since i do happen to have a platform with which to share, yet again, i find myself in a position where i will benefit from all her hard work.  so, allow me to formally introduce you all to the lovely and talented teri, who today will teach you (and me!!) how to make these cool ruffled bodices!  take it away, teri!



Well hello there Ashley’s blogland community <— said in a coy and smoky sexy voice which I do not really posses. I’m Mrs. Higgs friend and art fair partner Teri, or as I’m more commonly known, Willow’s mom.  Hmm hmm, about me…sewing(!), I did a bit as a teen during summers at my granny’s but didn’t really become passionate about it until transplanted from Seattle to Davis a couple of years back.  Davis is tiny and I had more free time alone than I was used to, so TaDa, I started an etsy shop with an uncomfortably phallic name: twigg+berry .  Yeah…who knew twigg and berries were so risqué? Yadda, yadda, my sewing and design skills have improved since the advent of my little shop so it will be undergoing some changes after the New Year, priority one being the name. I do plan to keep at the hats to pay homage to the cycling community I’m a part of, but will work in some kid’s clothes and accessories. Anyway, I can really yammer on all day on paper, Ashley and I share that gift. The gist of the tutorial:  I’ve had a couple requests for a how to via Rae’s flickr stream so BAM, here it is.

A note of caution (eek!) : I’m a self-taught seamstress and a novice so the following tutorial is by no means precise or necessarily the most proper way to go about it. However, I’ve achieved stellar results and, well now, you asked for it so here we go! Have fun and thanks for the flattering requests!


Part 1:  Modifying the Pattern

Step 1) Trace out your front bodice piece via the pattern in the size you’ll be sewing (I will be referring to a size 4T throughout). Using a French curve, ruler, or just eyeballing it, start drawing your new seam line roughly 4” in towards the center starting from the underarm edge. If using a smaller or larger size than a 4T, scale this number up or down, precision is really not necessary and you can adjust any of this to your personal preferences as you go. I drew a straight vertical line extending up from this new point for roughly 2.5” and then started my curve back towards the arm opening edge ending at approximately 5” from the bottom of the bodice keeping the shoulder seam lines unaltered, this being what gives the contrasting piece it’s unique shape.

Step 2) Now you should have you bodice divided into two pieces, trace these out and, sticking with the convention of the pattern, add a 3/8” seam allowance to your drawn curves.

Step 3) Trace out your flutter sleeve pattern, extending the outer line of it approximately 2.5” from the original ending line, measuring around the curve. This doesn’t have to be precise at all for you will just end up gathering your ruffle more or less as a result.


Part 2:  Sewing it Up

Step 4) Cut out all your dress/tunic pieces, retaining the dot marks on the back bodice pieces as where you’ll end your ruffle. Cut your main front bodice piece on the fold, sticking to the original pattern. Cut the two new sidepieces not on a fold. I staystitch all my curves to prevent stretching due to the bias grain and recommend doing so to your new curved edges.


Step 5) Sew your main front bodice piece to your back pieces at the shoulders. Gather your ruffle pieces and pin then baste into place, starting at the very bottom edge of the front bodice and ending at their normal point. (I found that using the portion of the ruffle we extended up front results in the wider flutters lying close to the shoulder seams.)



Step 6) Pin and stitch your new sidepieces along the front bodice edges, curving as you go (as you might when setting-in a sleeve) and ending at the upper edge of the curve.


Step 7) This is a very important step: clip in towards the seam allowance just below the top intersection of your sidepieces and the front bodice panel. We do this for two reasons: 1) it allows us to press the bottom portion of the seams towards the front bodice panel causing the front ruffles to lay towards the outer edges 2) it allows us to press the upper part of the seam allowances towards the outer edges, retaining the original pattern’s seamline.



Step 8) Now clip the curves and press your seam allowances as stated in step 7.


Step 9) Construct your bodice lining pieces per the pattern and continue with the bodice per the instructions with the exception of one more important step: Pin the lining to the outer bodice so that you can sew it together with the outer bodice side-up. This ensures that we can see the 2 important clippings we made in step 7, ensuring we sew the lining to the bodice with the seam allowances sewn down facing the correct way.

IMG_1705 copy

Step 10) Clip your curves, turn bodice out, and give it all a good pressing. When it comes time to attach your skirt of choice, make sure the seam allowances created from the additional pieces of your bodice are pressed and facing in towards the new front panel. This further guarantees that your awesome new ruffles face out towards the sides.




thank you teri for these great instructions–i told you she was quite clever.  maybe next time she can teach us how to line the geranium, which she has also perfected.  if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and i will make sure to pass them on to her!

5 Comments on guest post: geranium ruffled bodice!

    • while teri has tons of useful information to share, let’s keep in mind that if she starts her own blog, she will be less likely to share here…and we don’t want that, do we?! 😉

  1. This is awesome! Thank you Teri, I loved the versions you posted on Flickr. And sorry, Ashley, but I’m voting for “start a blog!” Jump in, Teri, the water’s warm!

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