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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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris September 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm

These are adorable. I’ve been thinking of doing something for my daughter’s jeans in a similar strain. Last year, her pants were too long, so I hemmed them without any cutting. However, there is now a wear line about 3 inches up…so some kind of disguising is in order. :)


kate September 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Holy cow Destri, how on earth did you ever manage to teach yourself all this AND website design?????????????I am so in awe of you that i am going to go and have a glass of wine to celebrate on your behalf!!!!!


Gaile September 10, 2011 at 4:51 am

These are so cute, I saw some jeans last year, with the same ruffles up the outside seam, only they started higher up the leg seam and were maybe five different ruffles. I just loved them for my GD, but could not afford the $55 dollars they wanted for them, and of course I said I can do that. LOL I had forgotten about them till now. Thanks for another great tutorial, I am a visuale person, so love all the picutres.


Destri September 10, 2011 at 5:51 am

I loved these so much, I went and bought another pair to take the ruffles up higher on the leg! I was thinking of using smaller strips that were sewn to a piece of fabric the size of the opening, and then making a three ruffle cuff for the bottom. Does that make sense? Did you have a plan? I would love to hear it if you do.
And you’re welcome, I too am a visual, I would rather skim over pictures than read text :)
Thanks so much, let me know how it goes, take some pictures for me!


Julie @ Practically Spent September 10, 2011 at 7:08 am

Destri ~ you’re the cutest! Heck, I’m 41, and I’m thinkin’ I might have to do this for myself….a little lace with some cowboy boots never hurt anyone. What do you think??


Destri September 10, 2011 at 10:58 am

Yes! I was thinking even black with a dark wash, but yes, lace! I was just thinking of you a while back when I ran across a comment of yours, so good to hear from you :)
So, I will if you will!


Gaile September 10, 2011 at 8:54 am

I really did not have a plan, I too plan on going higher up the leg, wish I could remember where I saw these jeans, all my remember is my DIL saying Mom you are not buying those , are you?? I did not, they were so pricey. I like your idea of applying the ruffles to abacking fabric, was wondering how to get the smaller ruffles on the top. Hopefully I can find some time next week to work on this, right now the garden is calling my name.


Jenny in CG September 10, 2011 at 10:54 am

I convert jean into skirts every now and then. I like the way it looks and, besides, I don’t wear pants but when they are given to me I feel I should make use of them.

Anyway, I am going to remember this tutorial and figure out a way to make it work with a skirt… thanks.


Suzanne September 11, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I wish I was your kids to have the cutest clothes my mom made! Really this is adorable, what a great way to dress up jeans.


Destri September 12, 2011 at 6:40 pm

You know, we could always make you some :)


TaRa September 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

sweet jeans! We´ve seen many pants with ruffles but this version is cuter


Destri September 12, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Thanks so much, there is something about having them under the hem that is cuter I think. I just made another pair with the ruffles stretching further up, it may be overkill :)


Vivian September 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I loved these so much I used the idea on a too short, shrunk in the wash pair of yoga pants that otherwise fit. My kids are too old to want anything so “adorable”. I used floral cottons in black, creme and red. Love them!!!!! They flow and cascade and make me feel dressed up in a comfortable way. Thank you for sharing.


Destri September 12, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Vivian I have to see pictures! I never thought to use this with knit! Do you have a link?


Vivian September 14, 2011 at 10:08 am

Destri, I will take some photos of the fabric and the outcome as soon as I can. My photographic ability and computer skills are that of a fifty year old but I am learning. Thank you for asking. I am honored. I so admire your blog, talents and motivation I must share my humble project with you.


Vivian September 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Well, I have yet another reason to thank you related to this terrific, ruffled idea. Per your request I photographed and explained my yoga pant ruffle transformation. I have posted it to my feeble, neglected blog so I can share them with you. Upon doing so, I taught myself to link, thanks to you! Yes, I have now learned to do one more technical task to make me feel like I know what I am doing. WOW. These little sips of learning something new are really rather grand. Thank you. http://www.siistheday4.blogspot.com. This link will need to be typed in, not clicked on. That I need yet to learn.


Zanzia November 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I love those! Great job (and thanks for posting — I’m going to try for myself now)!

Bonnie September 15, 2011 at 10:37 am

I absolutely love this tutorial! My daughter is growing out of her 3T jeans in length but size 4 doesn’t stay up! Thank you for saving me from having to figure out how to keep her pants up! :)


June Scott September 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I’m with you, Destri, I want a pair of these for ME!!!! They are super sweet and look best in bare feet, don’t you think ;)


Destri September 21, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Yes, best with bare feet :). Even if there is a little dirt involved ;) Thanks June!


Camille September 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm

These are absolutely darling! Question: when sewing the ruffle cuffs to the pant legs, are you following the hem of the pants? And if so, is it a problem that the ruffle above that isn’t really attached to anything other than at the outside side seam? (Hope that makes sense.) I’m for sure going to have to make some of these for my daughter!


Destri September 23, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Hi Camille,
Actually, you follow the the top edge of the top cuff, so the stitch is actually on the pant leg, not on the hem. That is why you need to use thread that matches. You can’t even see the stitch, I was worried about it, but it looks great! I hope that makes sense :) If you look at the photos you can see where I have the cuff up over the leg, the edge of the cuff is just above the little notch I put in. Let me know if you need any help!


Madison September 28, 2011 at 11:03 am

What an awesome idea! And it’s so much simpler than it looks! I love this so much I’m sharing it with my readers over on my blog. You can view it here and grab a button if you’d like:



Destri September 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Thank you Madison!


Dionne October 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Where did you get the fabric for the ruffles? Thanks for a great tutorial!


Destri October 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Dionne, I think the fabric is from Moda a couple years ago, I love it! I am not home right now, but when I get there I will check for you :)


Zanzia November 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Love this! I’m going to try it for my pants as well as my daughters’ (if they are willing to go for “cute and froufrou”).


Corey November 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Wow! my daughter has about ten pairs of good pants she only wore a few times but are now too short.

This is an awesome tutorial. I’m a very crafty person but have never used a sewing machine. I’ve made stuffed animals, pillows etc. all by hand. My hubby just bought me a brother xl2600i and I swear you’d think it was a one eyed green and black monster the way I get that deer in the head light look! LOL. I’m so confused about stitch length, tension knobs etc that I’m having nightmares!

Can you guys recommend a sewing for dummies DVD? Reading is one thing but actually watching it is awesome. thanks so much


Mandy January 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Hi Corey,
You tube is actually pretty great for beginners. Whatever you are trying to do I’m sure someone has posted it. I too am a newbie to sewing and find that you tube (as well as lots of sewing blogs) have everything you need to have your questions answered.


Destri January 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Hi Corey,
Sorry for the late reply! As Mandy said, youtube is a great place to start. Actually if you just search for the terms you are confused with there is always a video for it. Sew Mama Sew has a great beginners series as well. Oh and Google!

The single best thing for me was to take a sewing class at a local fabric shop. It was to make a purse, and I learned most everything to get me started there.

Just keep with it, I was the same way at first, but once you get a few projects under your belt you’re off and running!


Amy January 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I was just thinking I need to do this to a few pair of pants for my daughter. She has several hand me downs from her older brother and although the pants still fit in the waist, they are too short. Thanks for the tutorial.


Kim March 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm

This is great for growing girls who pants are becoming “floods”!

I am 40 and am turning a pair of jeans that are fraying and a pair of khaki’s into capri’s with ruffles!! Winter pants turn into summer pants. Thanks for sharing it!


Destri March 10, 2012 at 9:15 am

You’re welcome! I would love to see pics of those capris :)


wendy May 19, 2012 at 6:27 am

These are fantastic! I’m going ot make some for myself, I’m quite short so standard jeans are too long for me, but the petit versions are too short, they’d work perfectly!


Bernadette November 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm

This was a great idea! I have very young granddaughters who are very tall and outgrow the length very quickly…
I made them pretty much just like you did but added the jumbo ric rac around the hems…and did machine embroidery on the side leg of tall gangly flowers…
Turned out real cute, but wouldn’t have without your ‘seed’ of idea :)


Kay in NJ December 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm

I’ve just discovered you and your fantastic ideas. My little granddaughter is going to look so cute in these. BTW your little model is a gorgeous little thing.


Destri December 6, 2012 at 11:11 am

Awe Thank you Kay, made my day! I have another version of ruffle cuffs coming up today – so keep an eye out!


Tali December 12, 2012 at 4:56 am

That’s a great idea, thank you for showing it! I’ll need to find a way to do this with boys’ pants… ruffles may not be the way to go. ;) Any ideas?


Destri January 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm

I think just a band of fabric that folds up would look great!


Murielle December 12, 2012 at 8:50 am

Destri, I just discovered your site. I love these pants so much, I’ll do that for my daughter as soon as I have a free half hour (that might be after Christmas, though…). I also have a pair of ivory jeans I love that I unfortunately torn on some random nail. I saved them, so far, not know what to do with them. Now I know. I’ll patch the tear with a pieced butterfly or flower or something, and add ruffles with the same fabrics.
Thanks for your nice nice site ! I’ll dig into it for more ideas.


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