Ruffle Swing Top for Kids – Free Pattern & Tutorial

I can’t get enough of ruffles! In my previous post, I made a Ruffle Swing Top for myself and just had to draft a smaller version for my little princess. It was so darn cute, that I’ve made 4 of them in the past 2 weeks! I love the open back look on kiddos so I made hers with a low V back.

For this project, I used this organic bamboo jersey from The Sewing Retreat. Madeline, like me, has eczema so I enjoy using cool and breathable fabrics made from natural fibers for her. Plus it’ll be perfect for the upcoming hot and sticky Southern summer.

Here’s a 5% off code you can use at The Sewing Retreat: HAPPYSEWING. Treat yourself and your little ones to some ecofriendly fabrics and sew along with me!


Now, let’s get started. 

Things You Will Need:

  • Knit or woven fabric – 1/2 yard (3/4 yard if cutting binding from self fabric)
  • Polyester thread
  • Stay tape or fusible knit interfacing – optional for lightweight knits
  • Rotary cutter & self-healing cutting board – optional
  • Print pattern here – A4 or Letter (Do Not Scale). This pattern is FREE with a subscription. Please check both your inbox & junk folder. Download from a laptop or desktop computer.

*This pattern does NOT include any seam allowance. **I sized it 3T but the garment’s chest measurement is 26” so it may fit up to a 5 year old. Check your child’s chest measurement first for a good fit.

Prewash your fabric and press if necessary according to the fabric’s care instructions.

Print, assemble, and add desired seam allowance to the pattern. Knit won’t fray so you can leave the ruffles and hem edges raw. To be honest, I’m a bit stingy when it comes to seam allowances so I usually do 1/4” for neckline and armsyce, 3/8” for the rest, and 1/2” or 3/4” for the hem for woven.

Add stay tape to your seams if you’re worried about any droopiness. I like to make my own stay tape out of fusible knit interfacing – it may sound like tedious work but I love being able to make it in the various sizes that I need. If you have a rotary cutter and a self-healing cutting board, it can be an easy and quick process.

Let’s sew! Put the front and back pieces right sides together and sew the shoulder seams.

Pin each end of the circles right sides together and sew. Since knits don’t fray, I usually just leave the edges unfinished – I’ll press the seam open and move on. When I make this pattern in woven, I’ll do a French seam on the ruffles.


If the center seam on the ruffles bother you, you can use a lace ribbon, crochet lace ribbon, or a grosgrain one like I did here to cover it. 
I used washable kids glue to keep the ribbon in place and then sewed it to the ruffle with matching thread.

This organic elastic lace is also from The Sewing Retreat. I have another project lined up for this beautiful trim so I didn’t use it here. But isn’t it just gorgeous?!


Once the ruffle is ready, baste it along the neckline within the seam allowance. 


Here is my favorite way to attach binding – cut a 23.5”x1.25” (23 1/2” x 1 1/4”) strip on the bias, diagonally from the selvage, from the self fabric. *Confession! I cheated a bit on this project – usually I’ll cut my binding on the bias but sometimes if the fabric is lightweight and stretchy, I cut the binding cross grain. So I got away with it for this bamboo jersey but if I was using a heavier knit or woven, the binding would definitely be cut on the bias so that it will conform to the curve of the neckline or armsyce.
Ok, back to the binding. Sew the band into a loop with a 1/4” seam allowance and press open.


Fold the binding in half and pin it on the right side of the garment. Sew, trim off excess fabric, fold the binding towards the wrong side of the garment and edge stitch. I like to roll the right side of the garment in by about 1/16” towards the wrong side so that the binding is not visible from the outside. 


After the binding is attached, the V will looked rounded so to get it looking like a V again turn the garment inside out and fold the back bodice in half. You will notice how the binding sticks out so sew straight up from the center back. Turn it right side out and press. 


Moving onto the side seams – I left the bamboo jersey’s side seams unfinished but did a French seam on the blue rayon challis one. You can use a serger or do a double stitch, a second stitching of a straight or zig zag stitches, to finish the raw edges.


Now let’s work on the armhole binding which is the same as the neckline. Cut 2 strips of self fabric that are 13 1/4”x 1 1/4”. Sew each strip into a loop with a 1/4” seam allowance and press open. Fold the binding in half and pin it to the right side of the garment. Trim off excess fabric to avoid bulkiness after sewing. Then fold the binding over to the wrong side of the garment and topstitch.


For knits, you can leave the hem raw. Here are 2 hem finishing methods if you made it in woven. Serge the raw edges, turn the hem up and sew with a wide straight stitch. The second option is fold the hem up twice and topstitch along the folded edge. 


And that’s it! If you tried any of the steps above differently, please share them below. Please post your finished project on the Zune’s Sewing Therapy Facebook. I’d love to see them!

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