How to Make a Gingham Ruffle Sleeve Top

Photography by Gabi Wells

an easy DIY Swing Top for fall

Outfit Details:

Gingham Top made by me (similar here), Mott and Bow Jeans, c/o, Ankle Boots (on sale!)Madewell Tote, Quay Sunglasses


Gingham is one of my favorite prints that can go from summer to fall so easily. I got this fabric a few months ago and planned to make a summer dress, but now that summer is over I decided to make this pretty ruffle sleeve top instead.

DIY this gingham ruffle sleeve top for fall
black, blue, and brown can work in an outfit
This boxy ruffle tee works for all seasons
gingham is a year round print, and perfect for fall with black jeans
this easy DIY Ruffle Sleeve is perfect for fall
Mott and Bow Black Denim is super flattering
This DIY Swing top will take you an hour to make!

It’s the perfect fall top that you could wear with jeans and ankle boots, or tuck into a pencil skirt with tights and heels.

Today I’m going to show you how to make it! If you’re new to sewing, check out my online sewing course! And don’t forget — I don’t provide printable patterns with my sewing tutorials, but this video shows how to create a custom pattern from your own clothing.


Now time for the tutorial! This one is pretty easy and can be whipped up in an hour or so.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1.5 yards fabric (I used this one)
1 button
matching thread

How to make a ruffle sleeve swing dress |

First cut your pattern pieces. I don’t provide printable patterns, but this video will show you how to make your own patterns. You’ll need a cropped BODICE BACK and FRONT, 2 SWING HEM pieces (these should be about 1 1/2 times the width of your bodice piece, and your desired length), 2 NECKLINE LINING pieces (cut as shown), and two pieces for the ruffle sleeves (roughly 30″ wide and 6″ long).

Step 1. Take the BODICE FRONT and BACK pieces and sew them together at the shoulder seams. Make sure the right sides of the fabric are together when you sew.

Step 2. Take your NECKLINE LINING pieces and do the same.

Step 3. Take your LINING and BODICE and sew them together around the entire neckline. Then flip the lining inside and press in place. Top stitch to keep in place if you want.

Step 4. Take your ruffle sleeve pieces and hem them along one long side. Then do a basting stitch along the other side.

Step 5. Pull the basting stitches to gather the fabric.

Step 6. Open your bodice and lay it on a flat surface with the right side of the fabric facing up. Lay one of your gathered sleeves face side down and pin along the arm opening. Then sew in place. Repeat for the second sleeve.

Step 7. Once both of your sleeves are on, turn the bodice right side in and sew the sides up with a straight stitch.

Step 8. Take your SWING HEM pieces and baste and gather along one edge.

Step 9. Sew the two SWING HEM pieces together on the sides (you could sew them together first and then gather if that’s easier).

Step 10. With right sides together, attach the BODICE and SWING HEM together with a straight stitch.

Step 11. Hem the top to your desired length, and then sew the button onto the back and either add a button hole or a loop for closure.

And you’re done!

how to make a swing top that's perfect for fall

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  1. Paige Cassandra Flamm says:

    This ruffle sleeve top is amazing! I totally want to take a try at this with the new sewing machine I got for my birthday!


  2. Sharon Huxford says:

    Merrick, you always trick me into thinking I can sew lol lol

  3. Where would you say the bodice line hits in comparison to your bustline? Love the look on you!

    • merrickwhite says:

      Just slightly below it. Like, right in line with the base of my bra. I’m very flat chested though, so if you’re bustier you might want to change the location a bit. Hope that helps!

  4. Trisha Nieder says:

    Your blog is so great! I just started sewing (clothing) a few months ago (and took your online class!). I’m sure it’s a ton of work, but I would totally buy and download patterns if you made them! I’ve been using some easier ones from McCalls that you’ve recommended and a few from Lotta Jansdotter, but don’t think I can whip one up from scratch just yet.

  5. Florence Simard says:

    Very simple and easy(and beautiful)! Did it in 3 hours. ☺

  6. Thanks for the information. sounds so great and helpful. Kudos!

  7. […] style. I’m such a huge fan of her refashions! I was convinced that this would be the perfect top to create out of my fabric […]

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