How to Add a Ruffled Panel to an A-Line Dress

A-Line with Ruffled Panel

Pattern Adaptation: A-Line with Ruffled Panel

How adorable is this little A-line heirloom dress? Using fine fabrics (piqué and cotton), lace (rows of wide netting) and silk satin ribbon, designer Ivey Crenshaw adapted a classic A-line silhouette to create this sweet design. It’s picture-perfect for a flower girl dress or any special “dress up” occasion. Ivey originally presented the ruffled panel tutorial on her blog, then worked up this version to feature in our July/August 2011 issue of Sew Beautiful. Follow her tutorial below to recreate the look using any A-line dress pattern. You can use lace ruffles, as shown, or substitute fabric ruffles for a less dressy approach. Be sure to also check out Ivey’s blog for her original post, plus a step-by-step tutorial for how to apply a complete lining in an A-line.


  • Pattern
    • Any A-line dress pattern
  • Fabric
    • Waffle pique (amount as called for in pattern)
    • Cotton lining to match pique (same amount)
  • Lace and Ribbon (for size 4)
    • 3 yards of 3-inch wide lace for ruffles
    • 1-1/2 yards of 1-1/2-inch wide ecru silk satin ribbon
  • Notions
    • One button for back loop closure
  • Supplies
    • Pattern paper
    • Clear adhesive tape
    • Long straight edge (yard stick or quilting rule)
    • Pencil or pen for pattern tracing

Pattern Adjustment:

1. Trace full front of A-line dress pattern onto pattern paper. Draw a new grain line close to the side seam that is parallel to the center front line. Draw a diagonal line approximately half the width of the bottom edge and 1-1/4 inches at neck edge (fig. 1).

A-Line with Ruffled Panel

2. Separate pattern on diagonal line and add 1/2-inch seam allowances to both cut edges (fig. 2).

3. Cut out two side front pieces, one whole back piece and one center piece from waffle piqué. Set aside back and side pieces. Cut out lining from original pattern and set aside.

Center Panel:

1. Gather top edge of lace edging in one long strip.

2. Stretch lace across bottom edge and cut a piece to fit. Pin and stitch gathered lace so that scalloped edge is 1/2 inch above seam line at bottom edge. Stitch each side within seam allowance (fig. 3).

3. Repeat for next ruffle strip aligning scalloped edge of lace over stitching of previous row. Cut to fit  and stitch in place (fig. 4). Continue adding ruffles to fill panel.

A-Line with Ruffled Panel

4. When you reach top neck edge, place a piece of flat (ungathered) lace over lace ruffle. Center scalloped bottom edge and cut to fit. Stitch side edges and along neck seam allowance (fig. 5).

5. Cut ribbon in half and stitch one end to each side of center panel approximately 4 to 5 inches from neck seam line (this will vary for each size, so determine where you would like bow to be on size you are making) (fig. 6).

6. Stitch side front pieces to prepared center panel. TIP: It helps to pin the ruffles so they lie fl at close to the seam edge to prevent catching the ruffled edge in the seams (fig. 7).

A-Line with Ruffled Panel

7. Construct dress as called for in pattern. Visit Ivey’s blog for a lesson on how to apply a full lining without a hem to an A-line dress.

Shop our back issues of Sew Beautiful for more wonderful sewing patterns, ideas and inspiration!

Happy Sewing!


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