Between ruffles, lace, and floral prints, there’s nothing more romantic and sweet than ruffles. They can be tough to work with, though, and a lot of people really do ruffles wrong. This how-to for a ruffled shower curtain is nothing but ‘right’!
- 7 ½ yards of lightweight cotton fabric in the various shades that you want for the ruffles (enough for 10 ruffles)
- 4 ½ yards for the main shower curtain piece (the backing)
- ¼ yard of lightweight interfacing
- A ruffle foot for your sewing machine
- Thread to match each color of your ruffles
Step 1: Prewash and dry all fabric beforehand. That way you can throw it in the wash when it gets dirty and not have to worry about it shrinking. Cut your fabric for each piece of the curtain. Once everything is cut, label each piece; the main shower curtain body pieces as well as each ruffle in order.
- Main body of the curtain: 1 large piece that measures 70 1/2″ Long x 72 1/2″ Wide (you may have to piece your fabric together to get it this large). You will also need fabric for the top of your shower curtain that measures 72 1/2″ Long x 4 1/2″ Wide
- Ruffles: You will need 10 ruffles total. 9 rows need to measure 9 1/2″ Long x 144″ Wide (this is double the width of the shower curtain to give you a nice full ruffle). The top row of ruffles needs to measure 7 1/2″ Long x 144″ Wide. You will probably have to piece fabrics together here. Some of your ruffles may have 3 different pieces, but the seams are barely visible once everything is ruffled. You can group your ruffle colors any way you would like. You can space them out evenly and have 2 ruffles of each color.
Step 2: Surge / zigzag stitch around every edge of every piece of fabric: the main curtain, each ruffle, everything. You can take or leave this step, and it is very tedious, but you won’t have to worry about your fabric ever fraying. Plus it looks nice and professional, so you’ll be glad you did when you are finished. After putting that much work into a project, you want to make sure it will last you a long time.
Step 3: Fold down and press the edges of your ruffles, and sides of your main shower curtain body 1/4″ (don’t worry about the top thin piece to the main body). Sew 1/4″ away from edge. You don’t have to fold under and sew the top of any of your ruffles. These won’t be seen – just the sides and the bottom.
Step 4: Ruffle your 1st row of ruffles and sew it to the very top of your large main shower curtain body (make sure it is the 7″ ruffle and not the 9″ ruffle). You can use your ruffle foot or stitch a long basting stitch and pull the end thread to create your ruffle manually. Make sure it is the same width as your main curtain (72″).
Step 5: Mark with tailors chalk or a highlighter where each row of ruffles will be placed. Your main curtain length is 70″ long, you have 10 ruffles, so you will want 7″ of each ruffle showing. Having the first row of ruffles helps give you an idea of where to start. Mark where your second row of ruffles will be sewn 2″ underneath your 1st row (those 2″ will be hidden).Then, measure 7″ down from that mark for the third row, 7″ more for the 4th row etc.
Step 6: Ruffle the remaining 9 strips of fabric. Make sure each row is 72″ wide after being ruffled. Remember to keep each row of ruffles labeled so you know in what order to place them.
Step 7: Pin your ruffles to your main curtain along the lines that you have previously marked, and sew in place. Start by pinning about two rows at a time, sewing them, then pinning on two more rows. The more pins you use, the less chance your ruffles will shift as you are moving your fabric around. The more ruffles that are attached, the heavier the fabric gets and the harder it is to control. So go slowly.
Step 9: Iron the top piece of your shower curtain in half width-wise, open it up and place the interfacing in the middle. There should be about 1/4″ fabric that is not covered by the interfacing. Fold back in half and press long enough to make the interfacing bind to the fabric. The interfacing is to make the fabric more stable since you will be sewing button holes along the top for your shower curtain rings.
Step 10: Finish off the edges of the top of your shower curtain by folding in half wrong sides together, stitching 1/4″ away from the edge, flipping right-side out and pressing.
Step 11: Pin the top section of your shower curtain to the main body of the curtain. Right sides together, with the bottom/raw edges pointing up (see picture). Stitch in place 1/4″ away from the edge
Step 12: Fold the top of the shower curtain with the right side facing you, and press (make sure the salvage edges in the back point down).
Step 13: Sew buttonholes large enough to fit your curtain rings through. Practice on some scraps before you start so that you know exactly where to mark your fabric. Sew 12 buttonholes total. The 2 outside holes should be 2″ away from each end, and then the rest of the buttonholes should all be 6″ apart. Cut open each buttonhole with your seam ripper.