Tutorial ~ Ruffle Cuff Pant Legs

by Destri on September 9, 2011

Ruffle Cuff Pants Tutorial

Would a 32 year-old look crazy wearing ruffled leg pants?  Don’t answer that, cause I love these little britches and I might just make me some anyways!  I love how the ruffles look like they are bursting out of the seams, like they just grew out the bottom.  I saw this idea on Pinterest from Martha, Sweet Jeans, and loved the cute simplicity of it; just sew a ruffle inside the pant leg to lengthen the pants your girls have outgrown.  Well, I wanted to add a double ruffle to a new pair of jeans I had bought for Leni, so you get a tutorial.  Wahoo!  Catch me after the jump and I will show you how to do it…

Tutorial For Ruffle Leg Pants

How To Sew The Cutest Ruffles Inside Pant Legs

If you are new to sewing and a have a question on any of these terms I have a Sewing Tips Directory that might help, or just leave a question in the comments and I would be happy to help you out.


  • Pants
  • fabric
  • thread to match jeans
  • all your sewing stuff

Fabric Cuts:

First let me say that it would be easier to have four strips the same length, with the two bottom layers being about 2 inches wider.  You could skip a few steps. But I was using jelly roll fabric (same width) and I like the fuller look you get when sewing two independent ruffles.  I will let you know throughout the tutorial where you can skip a step if you decide to go with the easier option, it will be in bold.  You want each strip long enough to give plenty of gather.  I used two jelly roll strips measuring 2½ by 44 inches, cut in half, to give me four 22 inch strips.  That worked great for size 3t pants.  Add a little more the bigger you get :).

You will want two strips at 4 inches x 44 inches for the easier method. Or four at 4 inches x 22 inches.

Keep in mind you can go BIGGER, BOLDER! Add three ruffles, or maybe five and have them stretch halfway up the pant leg…take the concept and run with it!  Just make the adjustments where necessary.


Cutting pant legs for hemming

**If you are using too short pants skip this step!***

My little ones pants were too long to begin with, so I tried them on her and decided how long they needed to be to allow the ruffles to come out without dragging the ground (that drives me batty!).  Mark with a pen.  Then fold in half with the fronts together and find your mark and cut 3/4 of an inch below that to allow for the hem.

Now when you open them, they will have the nice angle the legs need.

Make a cut at the outside seam, about 3/4 of an inch in and up about 2½ inches up.  Adjust if you are making longer ruffles.

Now iron over the edges like shown.  I only did this once and then sewed…I know, it will fray, but oh well. I just don’t want the bulk.

Now sew along the edge, and add some reinforcing stitches right along the top.  I used brown thread to contrast and match the fabric.

Now we’ll just hem them up.  Turn them wrong side out and fold the bottom over a 1/4 inch and press.  Then fold over 1/2 an inch and press.  Repeat on second pant leg.

Turn right side out and sew with a 5/8 seam allowance.  I use a slightly longer stitch length, it looks nicer with denim.

Now we’ll move onto the ruffles.  I had pinked edges so I just folded over a smidgen and pressed, like shown.  You could do a double fold if you need to.  Repeat on all four strips.

Using the same contrasting thread, sew up the bottom of the ruffle on all four strips.  If you have a serger, I think a rolled hem would look great here.

Next we’ll gather.  You can do this the traditional method, sew with a basting stitch and then hand gather.  Or like I did, turn your tension up (the higher you go, the more the gather), and lengthen your stitch length to the basting stitch.  Then just sew and it will gather for you!  Some machines are finicky with tension, so stick with the traditional method if you are unsure.

Now we have four ruffle strips, and my machine did all the work, wahoo!

If you are using the easier method, adjust the gathers to match pant leg, sew them together at the top, then finish the seam with your sewing machine, or a serger.  Then sew up the sides, giving you two cuffs.  Skip the next couple few steps and go straight to sewing them to the inside of the pant leg.

Now cut a piece of fabric 2½ inches wide x and then the width of the pant leg where the ruffles will be sewn, plus an inch.  Just make sure you have wiggle room, so you don’t end up with a too small ruffle cuff than pant leg.  If it’s a little bigger, that’s okay!  I used the selvedge to make up one side, so I didn’t have to worry about fray on that edge. If you don’t have that option, just make sure to finish one long side of each strip with a serger or zigzag stitch.

If you are making longer ruffles, make the strip wider to compensate.

Adjust the gathers on your ruffles to match the length of the strip.

Sew the bottom ruffle on first, to the bottom of the strip that has the selvedge or finished edge.

Then sew on the second ruffle so that it overlaps the bottom ruffle bout a half inch like shown.  I had a little extra fabric from the strip, so I just cut that off…

Then finish the seam with a zigzag stitch, or with your serger.

Now with the right sides together, sew up the sides with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Make sure to line the ends of the ruffles up!  Now you have a ruffle cuff…go ahead and make the other one :).

At this point wind your bobbin with thread that matches the jeans, and use the same thread on top.

Almost finished!  Turn the pants wrong side out as well as the ruffle cuff.  Slip the ruffle cuff over the pant leg and line the top edge of the ruffle with the top of the cut opening.  Then make sure it is the same all around the leg.  Take the sleeve off your machine and slide the leg over.  Start sewing at the outside seam, that way if your ruffle cuff is a little bigger than the pant leg, it will gather there in the end.  You’re finished!

So cute!  No more boring jeans, they look like they walked out of a fancy boutique :).  If you have any questions leave them in the comments.

Looking for some more ways to add a little boutique quality to your kids jeans?  Here’s a few ideas I have done in the past:

Add Argyle Applique To Pants

Applique Doilies and Add Crochet Trim

Guitar Applique (cute for boys!)

Thanks so much for stopping in, and Happy Friday!


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